Why German? For me, it was simple: my grandmother on my mom’s side is German and we’ve always gotten along really well. She told me story after story about her culture and what it was like growing up in Germany, and taught me snippets of the German language throughout my childhood. She sparked my interest in the subject.
When I started taking it in school, I realized that I was passionate about it for more reasons than I thought going in. At first, I figured I would just take it to make my Oma happy, but I found myself enjoying the class simply because I enjoyed the language. I took German through high school and ended up declaring it my major in college. I learned, and am still learning, tons about German history, film, and culture. I found enjoyment in learning other languages too, and a whole fascinating world opened up to me, all thanks to my grandma inspiring me to take that first step toward learning a new language.
Now I’m avidly interested in linguistics, and learning as many languages as I can. I want to do more than speak them; I want to understand them the way I understand English. I want to know the history and roots of words so that I really know what I’m talking about, because my ultimate goal is to teach.
So why teach? That’s the tougher question. There are a million reasons one could give for learning any language, all ranging from “it sounded interesting” to “it sounded easy”. I guess my personal reason for wanting to teach is that I think it’s really just one more way to learn, and I want to learn as much as I can. I would argue that it’s one of the best ways to learn, actually, which is why this just had to be the subject of my first blog post.
I would recommend to anyone that when they are learning a new language, they try to teach it to others. The reason for this is simple: if you’re going to teach something, you are forced to know exactly what you’re talking about. There are no excuses when someone asks you a question about grammar. You can’t shove it to the side and tell yourself you’ll study it later if you don’t get it now. When you make the effort to learn so that you can explain something to someone else, you’ll find that it sticks better in your brain.
Nobody wants to look like a fool when they try to teach someone else – so try! The motivation to come across like you know what you’re talking about will result in you actually knowing what you’re talking about, I promise.
Not to mention, it can be fun! If you enjoy German, I urge you to share it with someone else. I guarantee they’ll be impressed, and you both might just learn something!