Teaching German – our first meeting

Our first “official“ meeting took place on 23.09.14 in my apartment. Already in the beginning there was some misunderstanding about the location, though, which resulted in Sunyoung and Hyejin coming there half an hour later than what we originally had planned. Luckily, neither of us was in any big hurry, so we drank tea and talked about pronunciation in German language for about an hour.

Although I have studied pedagogy and have taught musics as well as various instruments, I have never before had the chance to teach German. So this is something quite new and – although interesting – quite challenging for me.
I realized that pronunciation is quite difficult to explain, if one doesn’t know about the language the other one speaks. As I know nothing about Korean, I probably started a little bit too fast with many difficult things. The German ‘r’ and ‘ch’ are the most difficult for Sunyoung and Hyejin. As in Korean there doesn’t seem to be any ‘r’ at all, the English ‘r’ is the only one they know of. And that one is quite far from the German. But the ‘r’ seems to be difficult to almost all German learning people. There is even an 8 minute long video on youtube, trying to explain the pronunciation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5vAJbpVbX8.
But I think in the future, I will ignore these “special” consonants, as they might just come with time and I don’t want the difficulty to be discouraging.
In the progress of explaining different pronunciations, we made an excurse on the German articles “der”, “die” and “das”. It took me a few examples to explain, which gender each one represents, as there is no such thing in the English language. Also the fact, that the gender of almost all nouns in German are quite random, was a little disappointing for Sunyoung and Hyejin… (and this just might be the biggest obstacle people have to overcome when learning German…)
For the other pronunciation specialties (“ie”, “ei”, “eu”, “ß”, “sch”, “st” and “sp”) I tried to think up words, that might be useful and important for basic knowledge. But I realized that I don’t know the exact rules to some pronunciations, as I never learned them this way. For the future I probably will have to do some research, so I will be able to give understandable and truthful explanations about details like these. Also a language teaching book could be really helpful for me to understand, in what order it is the easiest and logical to learn German pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

In the end we watched a short sketch by Loriot (probably the most impressive German comedian ever) which showed nicely one habit and stereotype Germans are famous for: accuracy.
Here the link to the video, if you are interested to watch it as well: “Das Bild hängt schief“.

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