I’m trying to brush up my German ready for a short holiday I will be taking later in the year, and it has brought back many memories of my school language lessons. In retrospect, languages were my best subjects, and I really should have carried on with them to A-level. I enjoyed learning French, and I had a fantastic teacher, Madame Davies (born French but married a Welshman) who has since sadly passed away. We didn’t think she was that wonderful at first, mind you, as she bullied us into using French constantly when we were in her classroom to the exclusion of all other languages! Whatever we wanted to say, we had to tell her and she would translate it to French for us to copy. I don’t know why, but the sentence “Je voudrais un cahier neuf, s’il vous plait” (I need a new exercise book please) is the one I remember her teaching us the most! She must have had to tell us that sentence most lessons for the first couple of years! However, her methods worked, and I got my A* at GCSE. To this day I think that if I was dropped in the middle of the ‘Frenchest’ part of France I’d still be able to make myself understood.

German lessons were very different. The teacher was much more laid back, and we all loved him for it. He went through phases of making us speak German all the time, but I don’t remember him ever being so strict as our French teacher. I know I was never so confident with my German as I was with my French. However, I got my A at GCSE, and left it behind. And now, I’m surprised at how little I remember. Before I picked up my refresher course I think I could just about remember enough to tell you that my name is Jennie and I live in Wales! I’m hoping that it will come flooding back to me as I progress through the course.

I’m also thinking about taking some sort of evening class in a language next academic year. But which one do I choose? French would probably be the easiest, as I have the firmest foundation in that, and yet given the choice I’m much more likely to go to Italy or Spain for holidays so maybe they’d be a better idea? Or maybe I should take German and try to bring it up to the same level as my French was? Well, I have three months to decide if I’ll take any courses at all.


One Response

  1. This post made me think of when I first learned French. We were told by our teacher that, after his initial introduction in English, all lessons would be conducted in French. It would be as though we WERE in France. We were given French names and, if we couldn’t think of what we needed to say in French then we had to gesticulate, mime, draw, whatever to make ourselves understood. He wanted us to THINK in French. Hard to start with but brilliant!

    As for German …. another good teacher.

    I started Latin a couple of terms ago as I squandered my time during Latin classes at school. I LOVE it!

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