David Talbot

My definition of working knowledge of a language

Fri 30 December 2011 / goals

A couple of days ago I was sat in a restaurant in Berlin in the midst of an enjoyable German conversation, able to understand enough of what was being said to make me realise that I'd reached a very important goal - my German had reached a level where I was enjoying it. Up until this point, after spending a few days in Germany I would generally retreat to my bed by 9pm or so, mentally exhausted.  This didn't happen this time - I could quite happily have sat at that table until 2am, loving the fact that I'd suddenly discovered all of these new insights into other people's realities.  I was following it all sharply, intently.

This level of competence seems to me to be a good goal to aspire to when I begin my next language.  I would like to be able to sit comfortably in conversation with people, with enough competence to be able to hold onto the thread of the conversation without becoming mentally overloaded by the effort.  I've not wanted to give up on learning German too early so far because I think the language deserved a good amount of my focus - some respect.  Before I finish entirely with devoting all my time to German I'm going to get a video of myself up on YouTube speaking the language just to "seal the deal" as it were - see how native German speakers find my attempts - keep your eyes peeled.  Although I'm not going to (and don't want to) give up on German after this I've crossed a line now which I think allows me to start thinking about new adventures...