More commonly known as, Good Day! Or Hello! Guten Tag is how you greet people in, well, Germany. Last week began my adventure into this rather intimidating language. There are many cultural centers in Paraguay; Paragauayan – French Cultural Center, American-Paraguayan, and then there is the Instituto Cultural Paraguay-Aleman ICPA (Paraguayan German Cultural Institute ,) located in the center of the city.
As I’ve mentioned in some earlier posts, there is a large population of Germans living on Paraguayan soil, of course many of them have never been to Germany as their ancestors settled here decades ago, but it’s all German to me! Largely the German populations were descendants of renegade Nazi’s looking to form their own colonies on South American soil, but the past is in the past and apparently they bring some good culture and shnitzel (German milanesa) to the region.
Why does a New York Jewish girl know so much about the German Cultural Institute in Paraguay? Because last week I had my first German class! I signed up with the ICPA for private one-on-one lessons, hoping to master the language by the time I leave, in December. Now I’m not so sure “master” is the right word, but I at least want a good understanding of it to say the basics, you know “What’s your name?” “How old are you?” “I like the color purple!” All the important things one would need to know to live in a German-speaking country.
My impressions so far, after class #3, is that I can do this! It’s not to say that the language won’t have its challenges, but the similarities between German and English are hard to miss. The only thing that might prove to be more difficult than originally anticipated, is the fact that I’m learning German in Spanish. When presented with a seemingly simple word, “Haus” it soon becomes “Casa” which I then translate to “House”. My notes are composed of a very elaborate maze of English, Spanish, and German that I sit down at home and decipher at the end of each class, just to be sure there’s no further confusion. But, as I said before, I think I can I think I can I think I can!