Learning another language when you are 24 years old is quite a taxing task. I don’t remember how is it that I learned speaking when I was little. Is there a difference between learning your first language to be able to express yourself and learning a language after you are used to expressing yourself in the first? A big difference I’m sure, but one that I couldn’t remember. Unfortunately.
The very first language I learned is Hokkien (a Chinese dialect), then English. Then when I get to primary school at age 7, I learned Mandarin and Malay. How did I learn Mandarin and Malay? I wish I can remember, then it would be easier for me now to retrace the steps and repeat. I wonder how long it took me to be able to speak those languages. I vaguely remember being able to speak and listen quite well by the time I was 9 because I remember arguing (in Mandarin) with the boy sitting beside me almost daily. Maybe that is the secret to language learning.
I am trying to learn German. I want to be able to speak fluently, to be able to listen to what people say. That is the first milestone. Next I would like to be able to use it not just for communicating but to use it to its full potential. To master it. To write, to read, to love it as much as I love English and Mandarin. How long has it been since I started to want to learn German?
For some reason unbeknownst to me till now, I went to my very first German lesson in Penang when I just finished my A’levels examination at 18. That was 6 years ago. Then I put the whole thing out of my mind when I chose to do Engineering. And then at the end of 2012, it came back to me. The idea of learning German. I don’t know why it always has to be German, though. I guess it will come into a full circle when one day I realize why I had to learn German…probably never?
I don’t know if I am a beginner, I can understand a sentence fairly well by guessing and piecing the individual words together. But I cannot speak or write or remember the words. So I dare not say that I am an intermediate user. And I panic when I see large amount of German texts. Anyways, it matters not which level I am. What matters is whether I will be persistent enough to learn the language.
This restarting to learn German (this is the third time already), is from the encouragement of my Professor who thinks that it is possible that I can both master the language and return to Germany. To him it is not only possible, it is the most natural thing in the world that I am able to do it. Although I couldn’t see how it is possible myself, it is motivating to have someone believing in me so much! I am very grateful to have met people along my life who is able to see my dream to be realizable, and to have people to encourage me, and giving me a helping hand and, a boost here and there; every now and then.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
A few links for those who might be interested in learning German online:
http://www.dw.de/deutsch-lernen/deutsch-interaktiv/s-9571 (Lesson by lesson guide)
https://www.youtube.com/user/germanpod101/featured (lots of short films with subtitles)