I’ve been trying to recover my lost German, spending a while each day (that was the theory, the practise is I forget sometimes) using some CDs and a book to get some of my language ability back. I took an O level in German, way back in 1982, when an O level was worth rather more in many ways than the current exam. Of course, 1982 is a long time ago and while I have used it a little since then, I have let it slip away and I thought it was mostly lost, but for a few words and phrases.
It’s so much harder to learn a language once you are an adult and I’m over forty now, so harder still. I used to be able to pick up language very easily; I’d only need to hear a word or phrase once or twice and I would remember it. I was getting to a point recently where I felt near despair because the words were just not sticking at all.
Then last night, after I went to bed, my mind started to chew over things, while I was trying to get to sleep and then it went into overdrive and began spouting German all night. You know how if you are sleeping very lightly you can sometimes have a lot of dialogue going on, almost beyond your consciousness. Well, mine last night was in German. Halting and rather broken German but German nonetheless. I sometimes dream in French but until last night, never in German (except for waking up with the phrase for fizzy water)
I think that’s probably progress. It feels like it’s starting to “catch” again. I’m off in just over ten days so I may be able to complete the course before I go and feel I can at least manage without looking too often like yet another stupid English tourist who can’t or won’t speak the langauge.