09/07/2017 My experience of learning German

 It was a year ago that I started to study German in order to read works of German philosophers in their original language. An instructor told me that I should be able not only to read but also to interpret and translate German when I am writing my doctoral dissertation. Intimidated and inspired by this remark, I began to learn the language. Since then I have read a series of books about basic German grammar. It is composed of three books. You can see the impression I got just after finishing this series in the article below.



In this article, I humbly but somewhat proudly say that the three books have enabled me to read German though my vocabulary has to be enlarged so that I can read German more swiftly and smoothly.

In spite of this pride I felt in myself when I wrote the article above, I often encountered a serious difficulty in reading German texts. Much to my surprise, the difficulty was never surmounted by using a dictionary. It was created by other causes than my limited vocabulary. But I was not sure of them. What could they be? So I began to read another series of German grammar that the same author wrote as the first series. At the beginning, the author says that English is a language you learn to read by habituation but that German is never learned that way. He goes on to say that if you want to master the language you have to memorize what you have to. English you can read without such memorization, but German you cannot read without it. When I first studied German, I had intended to learn it by getting myself accustomed to it. This intention was beside the point. So I recently began to read the new series with a determination to memorize whatever there is to be memorized.

関口存男著作集 (ドイツ語学篇8) POD版

関口存男著作集 (ドイツ語学篇8) POD版


The resolution prevents me from going ahead as fast as I did a year ago. But I have a feeling that I am going the right way. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. However, you have to practice in the right way before you reach perfection.