Radolfzell: Week Six and Seven

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. We have begun new material, much of which is a bit new to me. Although I have general knowledge of most German grammar, we are now learning more in depth grammar. It is interesting to see how much my writing has improved when I look back at homework assignments from the first week. I can definitely write longer and more complex sentences, and I have greatly improved my vocabulary. There are always new words to learn, however, but I am always interested in the logical formation of German words. My speaking has gotten quite a bit better as well, but I hope to continue to improve. My accent has improved greatly, and almost everyone can understand me when I speak in German now. I am a little worried about forgetting my German when I come back to the USA, because it is only getting better now by speaking every day.

I have asked about slang words, which I surprisingly have not heard used quite often. For the most part, the slang words I have asked about are well known by both young and old people. Apparently, it has been a recent thing to say things are “cool”, which is an English word but widely recognized by both younger and older people. “Sauer” is also a slang expression; literally, “sauer” means “sour” or “acidic”, but colloquially it is used like the word “angry”. This is an expression used by both older and younger people, and everyone understands what it means. The last slang word I learned and asked about was a little more controversial. Recently in the German language, younger people have used “geil” to express that something is “awesome”. But the tradition meaning of “geil” is “horny”. When I asked younger people about “geil”, they did not seem shocked or upset and explained that it was like “cool”. But for older people, they were shocked, although they explained later they knew the more modern use of the word. For older people, the slang word “geil” was more associated with the sexual meaning, because that is how it was used for most of their lives. Only for the younger generation is the word not automatically associated with a rather crude word. One person explained that in the future, the new meaning of “geil” will completely replace the old one.

This past week, I went with a group of students to Hohentwiel in Singen. It is an old castle on the top of a steep hill. Despite the rigorous walk, it was quite beautiful at the top. Everything was very green and sunny. All of the tops of the buildings were covered with plants and you could actually go up on the roofs of the buildings, because parts of the walls were worn down. We spent the afternoon walking around the castle and it was incredible to see the history of the place.

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