I Read a Book in German For the First Time in a Long Time

Nellie N
3 min readMay 30

I studied German in school, for a total of about five years. Three hours per week of classes, and a little homework. But not much. Doing some rough math, I estimate that to be about 540 hours of German classes. Not a huge amount of time for learning a language, especially when spread out over such a large amount of time. Definitely also enough time to learn a decent amount of stuff.

But either way it was just enough to get me trying to read books in German.

Near the end of the last year I studied German in high school, the teacher brought three copies of a comparatively easy German mystery novel from the school library to class. My high school German class only consisted of three people out of which two showed up to class less than half the time. So to no one’s surprise, I was the only person who actually made an earnest effort to read it.

I honestly didn’t understand nearly as much I would have liked, but I pushed through and made it to the end of the book. Even if my comprehension in parts left a lot to be desired, I learned a lot. A few words. A better comprehension of certain aspects of German grammar. And a better idea of how things actually are used “for real”.

Inspired by this experience, I read another five books in German over the next year and a half.

Then I didn’t use the language at all for the next five years (In all honesty, I’m not sure it has been exactly five years, but I figure an estimate is good enough for this kind of situation).

Until a few weeks ago.

I realized that the local library had a surprisingly good selection of English superhero comics when browsing their website and had gone to borrow a few.

And then I walked past the language shelf.

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

It’s a fairly small library, so the shelf doesn’t have too many books for each language, and the selection of languages offered is not as wide as it could be. German is however a pretty popular language to study and is also offered as a school subject, so of course there was a small section of German books. I thought it seemed about time that I refreshed my German knowledge, and took a random book off the shelf to borrow.

Nellie N

I'm mostly just writing about my language learning progress. I also wrote some short stories.