Fethiye bay looking back at the city of Fethiye, Turkey.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? The village of Gökçe near Akyaka, Turkey.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Wir sind Kevin und Ruth

We are Kevin and Ruth.. in German!

We have several regular readers here that have German backgrounds. And in fact, Ruth and I both have some German background, but it goes back a couple of generations and unfortunately the language was never passed down.

My paternal grandmother was from northern Czech Republic, but in a predominantly German area, and she spoke German. She moved to Canada and although some of the German language was passed on to my father who was her first born (and in Canada), by the time the other siblings were born she spoke mostly English to the family. 

I remember my father calling me "Dummkopf" (Dumbhead) occasionally!

My father went back to Germany several times as a young man in the 1950's, and I think he probably did okay with the language at the time, but never kept it up and by the time my sisters and I were born in the 1960's, none of it was passed on to us.

Ruth's great grandfather was originally from Germany, but he moved to England in the late 1800's. In fact, had it not been for the first world war, and a later adoption, her last name would have been Duchscherer when I met her!

It's a little odd that despite this background neither one of us has ever been to Germany. We don't count the airport connection we had in Munich back in December of 2016!

And so, most of our knowledge of the German language comes from the old television show Hogan's Heroes! Until a couple of weeks ago, I think we knew maybe five words.

We have been spending ten minutes a day doing our lessons online using the free Duolingo app. It starts with the basics, and works you up from there. And, it's only ten minutes a day

And we don't have unrealistic expectations. We know from learning Spanish that it's a very difficult process for older people to learn a new language. After all, our brains are already full!

But we are getting better. Our intention is to have at least the basic words and phrases and numbers available to us when we plan to arrive in Berlin next month. We feel that it's only common courtesy to at least make the effort to speak the language of the locals, even though in Germany apparently 50% of the people can speak English.

I've been in touch with my uncle who gave me the information about some distant relatives of my grandmother who live in Germany. The daughter of my grandmother's sister lives in Hannover, but she is in her mid 80's now and apparently a bit frail. Apparently I met her once, but I was a child and don't remember. And the other distant cousin is in Munich. Her grandfather is my great grandfather and yet she is a couple of years younger than I am! Apparently she and her American born husband are very welcoming to extended family, so we will have to look them up when we make it to Munich, likely not until next year.

So, we continue to prepare for the experience.

In the meantime, we have nine and a half year old grandson Cameron with us for a couple of days! He's at a fun age now, and no longer a little kid. 


Helping Grandpa cut the grass.

It'll be another year or two before he has enough muscle to do it himself! But he's fun to have around for a couple of days. Next time we'll bring granddaughter Sadie up here on her own. 

This morning, we're taking him over to the remote control airplane flying club. It's a sunny calm morning, so there should be a few people out playing with their expensive toys. He'll get a kick out of that!

Auf Wiedersehen! (Goodbye!)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bathroom Rug and Mat Sets. Clip the 5% off coupon showing on the product page, then enter code 5029OUM4 at checkout for another 50% off.

And in Canada...



23 comments:

  1. Guten Tag, you will have a wonderful time and yes many Germans speak English but it sure is nice when tourists make a bit of an effort with a few sentences.
    I can't wait to see your travel through my homeland.
    Do you have Any emergency contacts in Germany?
    Let me know and I am more than happy to hook you up with my family
    Jutta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Danke, Jutta! Yes, I am sure we will have a wonderful time in Germany but we don't expect to really be spending very much time there next month maybe just a few weeks. We will spend more time there next spring when we pick up our motorhome. We know of a distance relative that Kevin spoke of in this post and we have met a few people through our travels that we may look up when we are over there but that is about it. We would enjoy meeting locals though if they are along our route, so we won't say no to hooking up members of your family providing they wouldn't mind. Danke! :-)

      Delete
  2. I have a friend in town who is fluent in German. He often replies to my FB posts in German. My daughter studied German in HS and we have an elderly German friend who frequently breaks into German. It is quite similar to English. I'm finding it one of the easier languages to understand. Never could master French despite many tries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed there are definitely quite a few words that are very similar to English, at least that we have come across so far as we learn German with Duolingo. Hopefully we will pick up enough that we will have the basics. It is fun learning German with Duolingo. :-)

      Delete
  3. Do you take an English-German dictionary with you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, we won't be because Kevin has the Goggle Translation app on his phone which is the same thing as having an English-German/German-English dictionary without having to carry around the book with us.

      Delete
  4. Ahhh... growing up with all the Aunts and Uncles speaking German used to make me wonder what was being said... it wasn't long and I picked up the German language apparently pretty well. My mother's side was Swedish. So after spending a few weeks with my father's side, I returned to the Swedish side and it wasn't long when my great-grandmother sat me on the table and had a discussion with me about "proper" words to use. Seems I picked up all the "bad" German words rather quickly, and unbeknown to me, my great-grandmother who spoke fluent Swedish, and very broken English, understood German too. It took a few weeks before I learned I really didn't like that homemade soap great-grandma made. To this day, I can speak German, understand it well, but Swedish, NOT ONE WORD! Have fun in Germany.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, why is it that people always seem to pick up the "bad" words quickly! ;-)

      It is strange that you managed to learn German but not Swedish. I think Swedish might be a harder language to learn though. The best way of learning any language though is by spending time with the locals where no English is used, then you have no choice but to learn.

      Delete
  5. I’m Norwegian and brushing up with the language on Duolingo. My daughter is learning as well. Great app have fun

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We like Duolingo, they make it feel like it isn't work and things get repeated quite a bit which really helps with remembering. We used it as well with our Spanish but of course nothing works as well as being in an area where there is no English then you have no choice but to learn. Hopefully when we get to Germany we will find some of these little towns and villages where not a lot of English is spoken. :-)

      Delete
  6. Doing what most travelers never do. It makes it so much more exciting and enlightening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We agree! Some of our best travel experiences are when we meet people in little towns or villages where English isn't spoken. :-)

      Delete
  7. I used to work with a gal that moved to Berlin, she speaks no German. She has no problem getting around as most people in Europe are multi-lingual and English is one of the dominant languages the kids are taught from a young age. She has lived in Berlin for a few years now and although her kids speak German and her husband is getting it, she doesn't feel she needs to know so she doesn't bother learning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We know that English is very prominent in Germany but that isn't the way we like to travel. We really like to try and learn at least some of the basics of the language of the country we are visiting. To us it is just common courtesy to do this. We also love to go to little out of the way places and we have found when we do this there is definitely a lot less English spoken so again it is nice to have the basics and we never know when it might make a huge difference in our travel experience.

      Delete
  8. The thing I like about German is the consistency and logical language form. I learned it when working for Bayer (German company) in the US. Beware of false friends like bekommen, which doesn't mean "to become," but rather "to teceive." Also kennen-lernen (to be acquainted) vs. wissen (to know a fact, or to know a person in a personal, intimate way.) Or at least that's my rusty recollection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure we will do fine with what German we learn before going and what we will pick up while we are there and of course we always have our English to fall back on. We are looking forward to putting some of this basic German we are learning to the test. :-)

      Delete
  9. I think this house is lovely. When I google Galetta it comes up as 'part of Ottawa' but it looks rural...? When do you anticipate putting it on the market? I am quite sure that area is way above my budget , but with retirement on the horizon , living now on Manitoulin but family in the laurentians, but not really wanting to move to
    Quebec..I know you've said it's too big for one, and I am single,and I know Ottawa weather is the pitts lol... I guess Im just musing and rambling ...Bernice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Galetta is "part" of the City of Ottawa but it is most definitely rural. It takes about a half an hour's drive just to get to the outskirts of the city itself. We expect that it should be on the market sometime next spring or early summer but that is not certain. Houses are certainly cheaper out here in the country than they are in the city itself. Not knowing what you budget would be, it would be difficult to say if it is out of your price range or not. It is definitely a big house for just one person, at least in our mind it is!

      Delete
  10. Guten Tag liebe Ruth und lieber Kevin, wie schoen, dass ihr nun bald in Deutschland seid und ein neues aufregendes Abenteuer beginnen wird. Ich bin schon sehr gespannt auf Eure Berichte. Grossartig, dass Ihr nun auch die deutsche Sprache lernt. Schritt fuer Schritt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Danke, Renate! We were able to pick out certain words but needed Google Translate to put it all together for us. We look forward to our lessons each day and hopefully by the time we get to Germany we will be able to speak and hopefully understand some of the basics. :-)

      Delete
  11. I taught 7th grade English for two years at the Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, West Germany, from 1985-1987. The school catered to families of diplomats, businessmen, etc., from 42 different countries. All classes were taught in English, but if a kid needed a leg-up with his/her English, there were ESL classes. All kids also were taught German from grade 1 and could elect to take French starting in 6th grade. If a child stayed in the school for the whole 12/13 years, they could be fluent in 4 languages--the three above, plus their native language such as Japanese or Swedish.

    I had had three years of German in HS and two in college, but I hadn't had any need for it since 1972. Luckily, I had retained some of the basics, and there were classes for us teachers who wanted to brush up or start from scratch. I do think it is harder to learn a new language the older we get, which is why it is wonderful that FIS required German from 1st grade and French was available from 6th grade on. I don't recall of other languages were available at the HS level. Luckily, most of the Germans I encountered spoke either excellent English or had enough that we could understand one another.

    I loved my two years there, and it was an exciting time to be in Germany. I traveled every chance I got. The Berlin Wall had yet to come down, so it was always scary to venture into East Berlin which I only did once. I had just visited the Reichstag and my bag contained some educational material. At the checkpoint, they check our bags, and then they ushered us into a private room where we wanted alone for some time. Eventually, they came in to say I had Western propaganda in my bag that they were confiscating. It was the Reichstag brochure!! A very scary experience.

    Sorry to go on for so long--your post this time sparked memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that kids in Europe have a lot more opportunity to learn different languages because they have a lot more opportunities for traveling when you have all these different countries so close to where they live. We think that it is great that when they come out of school that they can generally speak several languages. It makes me mad that I didn't work harder on my French when I went to school. It is most definitely harder learning another language when you are older but it is fun and hopefully we will retain some of what we are learning now and be able to use a little of it in Germany, even if many people can speak English.

      Sounds like it would have been a very interesting time to have been living in Germany back then. We are glad that you enjoyed your time there and we are certainly looking forward to our visit there next month. :-)

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...