Confession: I cheated with my German homework
Homework has been a big problem this week. I'm definitely not going to get anywhere frantically trying to conjugate verbs half an hour before class. I also have a shameful confession to make: I cheated a bit and looked up the verbs online. I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. But I promise to start blocking out some time each week between class to dedicate to doing my homework properly.
Although I'm yet to actually sit down and do this week's homework (I'll get to it on the weekend, I promise), I'm letting myself off the hook because I've downloaded and been using an amazing language app in between class. Recommended to me by none other than my mum – who herself is learning Italian – I've been playing on DuoLingo on the bus all week.
The idea is that you rack up points and lifelines as you progress through the levels. So far I've covered simple sentence structures and phrases. I'm using it to supplement my classroom learning, but I could definitely see someone who's about to go on holiday have a play around on it to pick some basic phrases. Apparently BuzzFeed are using DuoLingo to translate their articles into Spanish and French. I haven't got to that level yet, though.
Tech and language learning is a slippery slope, on the one hand thoughtful and intuitive apps like DuoLingo are a boon for
students. While I might not be so motivated to do my actual homework, at least I'm doing something in between lessons to try and retain what we learned. But on the other hand, it's very hard to resist the temptation of relying on Google translate and online programmes that let you plug in the verb and possessive pronoun and spit out the answer for you.
Speaking of verb conjugation, I had my first taste of just how complicated German grammar is this week. And by complicated, what I mean is that there's so much to learn. Rules and exceptions seem to abound regarding which nouns are feminine or masculine and how they agree.
Despite my lack of commitment to doing my homework, I'm actually looking forward to trying to learn all the quirks of the language. It might sound like backwards logic, but I do so little "hard learning" anymore that I'm looking forward to the structure and discipline of getting gritty with the grammar.
But of course all of this comes back to me actually doing my homework. More self-discipline needed. That's been the big lesson of the week.
Oh, and in a bid to immerse myself in German culture, I've been listening to a lot of 2raumwohnung this week. Purely for pedagogical reasons, of course.
Anna Codrea-Rado is the editor of the language learning series, she is blogging about her experience learning German.