David Talbot

Telling stories

Tue 22 November 2011 / grammarstories

My (German) wife came back yesterday after ten days away travelling with work.  Naturally we spent a fair bit of time catching up with what had been happening in each other's lives.  When it came to my turn to talk about the week I'd had I thought I'd mention that I'd been reading Rumpelstilzchen in German .  She asked me to recount how the story went - it had been a while since she'd heard it.  So I tried to explain - this is when it all got very interesting.


I realised that there are still a lot of basic grammatical phrases that I still can't use fluidly in such situations, an example being "so he asked her what she had been doing" .  I was really struggling to find my way a lot of the time.  In the end, though, I think I got my point across but it was a bit of a wake-up call.  With a bit more fluency in these kind of connecting phrases I feel that my spoken German would be a lot better.

The outcome of this situation: I've learnt that telling stories is a great way for me to judge my current language ability.  Fairy tales, my day at work, general chitchat.  I'd also like to dig out the digital dictaphone I have hanging around and record these situations - will be a good way to work out where I'm finding problems.  It will be equally good to find out the places where things are going well.