Die Sprachschule

My introductory German class is at Hughes, fifteen minutes drive away. Twenty students with various degrees of senior citizenhood assembled in a small classroom under the direction of our tutor, who proved himself to be a stickler for punctuality and order, a trait shared by the German folk in general, who might be on an empty street at two in the morning, but will still wait for the green man.

Also a beautifully dry sense of humour and a taste for grammar, both aspects which will, I trust, make this a particularly enjoyable class for me.

We covered the alphabet, pronunciation, a little grammar – mostly the various ways German has of dealing with the definite article – and a song or two.

A drinking song, believe it or not, and though we had nothing stronger than coffee and cake, it was hard not to get swept up in the rhythm and enthusiasm. This, I suspect, is the sort of song that makes drunken German people stand up with a stein of beer when the band plays the first bar or two. So to speak.

An afternoon storm made its presence known. “Donner,” I murmured to myself, and made a mental note to investigate the gender of the noun so as to associate it with its correct article. Der Donner, according to my iPhone German dictionary app.

Der Blitz = the lightning
Die Wolke = the cloud
Das Wetter = the weather

Nouns are capitalised – often a word is both a noun and a verb, and this helps distinguish the two – and take one of three articles according to gender. Every noun has a gender: feminine, masculine, or neuter. Not sure why, but there it is.

But a plural noun takes the feminine form of the article. Der Blitz, but Die Blitzen. Not sure if this makes life easier or more difficult, but again, there it is.

Still drizzling when we broke up, and I was cheered to discover a Little Free Library outside. As a BookCrosser, these things are a magnet. Next week I must bring along a book or two to help keep the turnover up.

Pete

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