Monday, March 28, 2011

Language Skills

Over the past 12 years since I have been living in Germany I have noticed two different things about my language skills. First of all, my ability to speak German has improved. Although I would not say I can speak German fluently I can speak it well enough to hold conversations with people and to do the things I need to do here without always having to ask someone else to speak for me. That is a really good thing because being able to speak the language of the country that you live in is vital for a missionary.

However, everything we do in the ministry of RHEMA Germany here in Bonn is done in English and in German so I am not required to speak German all of the time; being fluent in German is not as necessary for me as it might be for some other missionaries in Germany. My goal is to improve my German language skills so that I can speak even better German than I do now.

The second thing I have noticed is that my English language skills have diminished a bit. Obviously I am still able to speak English but I notice that sometimes I get stuck with even simple English words and sometimes I think of the German word for something before I think of the English word! That is a strange feeling to have. When I do speak English with people here or I teach in English I always try to find a simple way to say what I want without using too many big words. It seems to me that this may be a part of the reason my English language skills have decreased a little.

I have also noticed that sometimes my sentences follow a German sentence structure instead of English. I must say that I am very happy for the spell check program on my computer and for my family members who proof read my newsletters before they are sent out. Now I don't think I will ever lose the ability to speak English but I have noticed that living in another country has had a definite affect on my language skills. In fact, when I did the spell check on this document I found that I made five simple mistakes so I think that proves the point!

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