A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


If you were to take a foreign language which one would you choose? When I was a student in high school, I selected French because my corner is right next door to Quebec and there are a lot of people in my area who speak French. If I were to select a language today that I may communicate with the minority in my area, I suppose it would be Somali.

When Jill told us about Captcha and Duolingo, I signed up for German lessons. Don't ask. No, no, you may ask. Duolingo offered two choices: Spanish
and German.

When I went to college, I tried to sign up for more French classes. Because I had done so well just skated by in high school. There were two languages open on that registration day: Spanish and German. Every time I have been given a choice between Spanish and German, I have selected German.

It's just as well. German is the closet language to English. (Sometimes John, having never taken any language, French, Spanish, Somali or German, comes in and translates my sentence for me making it all look so very easy-peasy. He says it is "logical."  I say he's a show-off. )

Anyway, I had been waiting patiently for my invitation to Duolingo for a while. It arrived last week. I have been studying dabbling ever since.

Yes, I have been learning ever so much.

 I'd just like to say that I have, by now, reached Level 5

 When in a bind, tell the truth. It will confound the green owl.

Either that green owl needs a taste of Lux or this is going to come in handy.

John needs two more of these. Verdammt!


  1. Oh, Vee. We are needing 6" square posts for a project at our house, too. From the looks of John, I think we need to hire a couple of young srong backs for our project. Careful there, John!

  2. Hi Vee!

    Wow, you are very ambitious - German!! I speak a little Spanish, and I mean very little! I worked for an attorney who did lots of immigration work, so I had to learn some Spanish to make appointments and such. Keep up the good work!

    I can't wait to see your finished flower bed, it looks like it will be just gorgeous! It does look like lots of work, so glad you are getting a day off!


  3. I took very little Spanish in H.S. I can count to 10, say Hi, and a very few other things that aren't coming to mind this early in the morning. When we had our French exchange son here last year I was hoping to learn that language. Unfortunately that didn't happen! It is a very hard language to pick up, at least I thought it was. My husband can speak 1 or 2 sentences, which we found out from our "son" were at tad on the ris-kay side (if you know what I mean). Or at least could be interpreted to be. Good for you though taking on that challenge. Also, good for John....those beams are heavy!

  4. My parents grew up speaking German but never taught it to us at home, wanting us to be fully Canadian. I regret that. I took French in high school and fell in love with the language, then moved to South America and learned Spanish, then back to Canada where I picked up French again.

    I'd still like to learn German. Maybe Duolingo is the way to go. It looks interesting. Verdammt indeed! Now I need to go find out what that really means.

    Oh, there's a great site - wordreference.com that has WONDERFUL translation help. I use it constantly. German, French, Spanish, but probably not Somali.

  5. I spoke German at one time...probably better at age 5 than ever since! It's still there...somewhere...but never gets used these days. Though I was not happy that my parents 'forced' me to speak their mother tongue so long ago...I have been most grateful to be bi-lingual as an adult. When it comes to writing German...I'm pathetic. I often use 'babel fish' to translate for me.

    Elmer sends his condolences to John...he knows the weight of those timbers! And he doesn't want getting any ideas for a new raised bed over here! He's wondering if you want to borrow the tractor and loader to fill up your raised bed.

  6. Oh my! That may be my new favorite word, too! I bought the cd s and books to learn Italian. My husband reminded me that most people can't understand my English...southern style! heehee!

  7. Hi Vee, in junior high I studied Italian, which I already had an excellent understanding since it was spoken at home. Then in high school I added French and Spanish. Spanish is good to know living here, but I really don't have a good handle on it. French, certain things I can read and understand, but if you don't use it, I find you lose it! lol xo

  8. OH! How I would LOVE to get re-acquainted with French! I took 3 years of it in school and don't remember very much at all. Since my roots are French-Canadian (Quebec), I would love to learn the language of my ancestors. You may have started something....

    Kudos to you! Maybe you'll be able to write an entire blog post in German!!

  9. I grew up in Southern California so Spanish is very familiar but I do love French. I had dabbled but never mastered any....

    Good for you to continue learning! It's good for our brains!


  10. Wow! Hooray for you! You are keeping your brain young. I'm a bit lazy at learning a new language. My daughter is majoring in Spanish and Portuguese. I've been trying to get her to teach me but she's not cooperating! lol

  11. hilarious! WEll sad but true I'm a language flunky. I had every advantage in life to be bi-lingual but my brain will have none of it. If I was to study again...it would be Russian again.

  12. Ah, hate to have to go back for more supplies in the middle of a project! Good luck with the german- I took two years of Spanish and all I can do it count to one hundred and tell someone I want water. HA!

  13. You are fascinating!!!

    Here in Texas we need to learn Spanish - without a doubt! When I was homeschooling we worked with several curriculums but never became fluent - any of us! STILL - at least I can READ Spanish and I can catch the gist of what is being said in conversation.

    Latin was our favorite. Amber says that is the best thing we did - study Latin. Knowing Greek and Latin root words will unlock just about any word in any language.

    I love to hear English and Scottish and Irish speak....

    AND I love to hear Italian and French! In the restrooms at La Madeleine they have little French lessons playing over the speaker systems.

    Muy Bien post!!

  14. I took French for 4 years and then decided I would probably never use it and that was the end of that. I still remember many sentences, a portion of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the french national anthem. Don't think that would get me too far :).
    Around here it would come in handy to know Spanish.
    I'll have to check out your link for Duolingo.

  15. Hi Vee - I don't know where you get your energy. Your blog is just great and I was pleased to see Lorrie's lovely notecards on one of your previous posts. Looking forward to catching up on everything one of these days. Have a wonderful week!

  16. Even though I took Spanish in high school I know very little of it but would like to learn it and I'd also like to learn American Sign Language. (ASL)

  17. Once upon a time, I could speak fairly good Italian. The Latin I did till I left school helped with that one. And I had to learn Afrikaans, so Dutch and Flemish are easy, but then my sister moved to Switzerland, so I have been trying to learn German. Well, I speak Swiss German but it bears no resemblance to High German! Maybe I will sign up too.

  18. This would be a good idea for anyone, to exercise the brain! Good for you to work so hard on this. I have always thought German was hard --even tho much of English is Germanic, is that how to say it? I prefer a Romance language, and studying Latin for two years helped me then learn English and was a ton of help with medical words. :-) You sure could use your German in our fair city--lots of Germans, and Somalis as well.

  19. Oh, my! I was going to go back and sign up for either French or German. I forgot. Thank you so much for the reminder. John is amazing ~ using logic to read a language. I think he has a knack for languages and they come naturally to him.

    Just viewing the pictures of him carrying those timbers is exhausting me! Please let him know that he looks great without his glasses. I hadn't realized that he would be able to go without them after the surgery. I'll bet he loves it!

  20. Vee,

    You crack me up, thank you for the chuckle. Foreign language? How about a dead language, I studied Latin.

  21. Oh, Vee, I have to thank you for letting me know about Alt Keys! I've been working on something that needs accents and now I can do them again. (I used to have an accent program, but it was lost.) I always wondered what that number keypad on the side was for! ;-)

  22. ... and you should have heard what John said!

    I took Latin in high school. Yeah, it was a really good idea and I've used it a LOT. ~snicker~ If I took a language now, I would take Spanish. Then perhaps I wouldn't be mumbling verdammt and other choice words under my breath whenever I see bilingual signs at the grocery story, government offices, restaurants, banks, etc.

  23. Vee, you are hysterical!! I laughed out loud when I read, Either that green owl needs a taste of Lux or this is going to come in handy because I knew exactly what you meant! Hearing me chortling, Kati had to know what I was reading...and then she joined me. She was helping me tonight as I typed up school records for Bekah's portfolio, and every time we'd think of that little owl, we'd laugh again. He looks so innocent too.

    I'll try to be serious...I admire your dabbling in German. I took three years of French in high school, and I am amazed at how may times over the years that I have encountered a French phrase or word or even a pronunciation. Extreme example...once my oldest daughter bought an Indian bead craft kit and the only instructions inside were in French. Oh boy. That was in the days before internet availability, and I puzzled and sweated over those words until I translated enough to give her some perfunctory directions on how to make a bracelet. (If I had known that owl's word, I would have been tempted to use it.) :D

  24. Okay! I think I should use this system to brush up on my German! How very fun. I really should try another language but if I could just grasp my mother tongue once more...I'd feel quite accomplished.

    Plus..my grands might not say to me...Grammie no deutsch...just English. (big sigh...its' bad when a four year old has better language skills that I do)

  25. Never heard German called the-closest-to-English...

    High School -- ("back at the beginning of time") - Latin and French.

    College -- Spanish - Went to a Catholic college and all I remember is; "Bon dias, Hermana Francisco." Or however you say "Good Morning, Sister Francis."

    I do kinda' well with *reading* French words.

    I am simply in awe of people (mostly Europeans) who have more than one language. Then again, there are the lucky people (in our country), who have an affinity for languages. Our middle son went to HS with a girl, like that.

    Yes, this comment is a day late. I played hookey, yesterday. -grin-

  26. That looks like a fun language program! I took French in 8th grade. It was not a requirement in HS, so I didn't take another.

    On my bucket list is another trip to Italy. I would love to stay there for two months. So, I would love to learn to speak Italian.

  27. It would, no doubt whatsoever, be Spanish that I would want to learn. EVERYone out here in West Texas should know Spanish. Sure would make things easier...
    I thought, to become a LEGAL citizen of the United States, one had to be able to WRITE, SPEAK AND READ our language.....
    not so, I guess.

  28. YEP...just googled it...

    "Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics)."

    Well, anyway, I have completely strayed from your topic here. Hold my hand while I get down off my soap box, if you please.:)

  29. A hearty laugh came from me just now! Living in a bilingual province and country, you'd think I would be able to speak a litte of the other official language. Une petite? Well! Comment ca va?
    Je m'appelle Pamela. How's that?Good for you for studying some German. I think English is the. hardest. language to learn isn't it? Keep up the good work and stump the owl!!

  30. Vee dear,




    P.S. Jeff was a German linguist in the Army. Need help?

  31. I would love to be fluent in Italian for obvious reasons. I studied French and Latin in high school but did not shine in either. I took two years of Italian in college but my husband speaks in dialect Italian, which is almost a language unto its self, so I had no one to converse with and have fogotten most of it.

    I am still on a wedding high from my daughter's wedding on Saturday. My knees are just beginning to recover from all the dancing I did..lol!

  32. I took Spanish in college but Im learning German now. It's hard but it's getting better. I kind of think of it as a hobby. I think it's wonderful to learn a second language. It keeps your mind nice and sharp. Today with the Internet there are so many sites to help you. Best wishes on your new endeavor.

  33. I was so bad at languages when I was a teen that I never tried again. But if I had to choose I would choose spanish because there is so much spanish in our country now, it is like almost our second language. I would have more opportunity to practice using it ...

  34. I took French from the fifth grade through the tenth grade and then again in college. The only benefit I have is that I can order in a French restaurant and sound snobbish at whim.

    I don't even like French cooking all that much either. LOL

    Both of my girls took German in HS and they both minored in it in college. (Mainly because they had such a good HS teacher and had tons of credit.)

    Neither language is as beneficial where we live as Spanish would be.

    If I were to learn a new language it would be Spanish (or Hebrew. Now wouldn't that be cool?)

  35. So you did sign up and dug in! Awesome! My handful of mostly useless German phrases are now out dated...der platenspeiler ist kaput.
    Can you even buy a record player in Germany any more?


If comments disappear, please don't fret. A simple "hi" will do. The platform surely needs some maintenance.