Deutsche Kommunikation

A mental switch clicked on the moment I realized I was thinking in German. It happened after I had completed studying for a quiz for the high school German language class. It was a sophomore level elective course that I chose after I had befriended Bruce. His family had recently moved to Nebraska after his father was transfered from Heidelberg, Germany as a result of work related reasons.

Because Bruce had spent most of his childhood in Heidelberg, he grew up multi-lingual. He was fluent in English, French, German, and Polish. His language skills completely fascinated me. He was my inspiration to study German. The decision eventually changed the way I looked at life.

The afternoon I first consciously thought in German was otherwise not unusual. I was simply getting the day’s homework assignments for various classes out of the way. I hadn’t even started the routine share of German homework yet. I had been daydreaming random thoughts. Suddenly I realized that those thoughts were not in English. The main take away was that a milestone had been reached.

The next time I saw Bruce, I asked to borrow any German language magazines or books he might be willing to loan out. He shared a couple of comic books, his father contributed a past issue of “Der Spiegel” that he no longer wanted.

What happened next was a deepening of our friendship. We began conversing in German. Although my comprehension level was that of a toddler, Bruce’s patience enabled my learning ability. He had fun shifting my brain into German mode and observing the corresponding changes in my behavior.

The overall lesson I learned was that using different languages gives different visions of life. The paradigm shift is humbling, yet empowering at the same time. It’s as if a hibernating part of the brain awakens and takes a look around.

Although we parted ways after high school graduation, we did send letters to each other for a few years. I didn’t have many other opportunities to communicate in German with anyone, so that part of my brain went back into hibernation.

I reawaken the “German brain” whenever I stumble across newspapers or articles written in German, because I still enjoy experiencing the mental shift as I read. Listening to spoken German is a skill that I no longer do well due to the lack of conversation. Whenever I choose to listen to German broadcasts or Internet video I can only pick out certain words. My comprehension is way off.

Learning a different language is a skill like learning to drive a car. If a person is willing to work at it, the quality of communication sharpens. It blends into other aspects of life and changes how you think. I believe this is a good way to improve one’s life.

Auf Wiedersehen

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes playwright and short-story writer, Anton Chekhov. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, Friendship, Hometown, Youth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Deutsche Kommunikation

  1. Alien Resort says:

    Kraftwerk would be good to listen to.

  2. Speaking more than one language is a skill I wish for. I studied French for several years in school. Recently in France I remembered things i thought I’d forgotten but speaking French and listening with comprehension was hard. My pronunciation was terrible.

    • swabby429 says:

      I adore listening to native French and French Canadian speakers, even though I don’t understand the language. The language is musical and poetic even when used crudely. Yes, French is very difficult to learn.

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