Last week I had three hours of my German Literature module as my tutorial finally started. German and German Literature are the core modules in my degree and I have been studying them since I began at the University of Limerick.
Unfortunately, I am finding German Literature quite difficult this semester. Although my comprehension of German has vastly improved compared to this time last year I am struggling more than usual. We have a new lecturer this year, and she is Austrian. I have never really had a proper interaction with an Austrian person auf Deutsch until now, and I must say that it is quite difficult to understand. Does anybody else have any experiences with difficult accents? It doesn’t have to be Austrian!
I was wholly unprepared for the Austrian dialect.
When I worked abroad I was located in Bavaria. There is a completely different dialect of German there than I am used to but I was able to understand it with significant ease. Therefore, I was wholly unprepared for the Austrian dialect. (Below is a map illustrating the many varieties of accents in lower-Germany and Austria so you can see the difficulties I was experiencing.) It is becoming an issue as I have had four classes with this lecturer and I am completely lost as to what is happening. The only way myself and my classmates know what is going on is by reading the lecture slides after class.
However, I refuse to just let this semester of German Literature pass me by. In order to grasp what the lecturer was saying I went online and found a really great website called “Radio Garden“. This website lets anybody access any radio station around the world. I have began to listen to Austrian talk shows when getting ready for bed and while falling asleep. I am really excited to see if this has any effect on my comprehension and understanding of speech over the course of four days.
I really hope that I learn from this as it would open up many new doors for me as I continue studying German as part of my degree. This would be a great way to passively learn about the different dialects and accents of the German language in my free time, and benefit more in class. I will write a progress update after my class tomorrow. Until then I shall just keep listening and learning.