Tom, how's your German progressing?

Pentatonic   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Tom, it's now been over two years since you made your "How I'm Learning German" post. I often wonder how you are progressing.

At the risk of sounding like a survey, here are some questions I have:

How much do you work at your German currently?
How would you rate your progress?
Have you modified your learning method?
How many sentence items do you have now?
Would you do anything differently?

Thanks. I hope you have time to give us an update.
Tom   Friday, July 09, 2004, 13:28 GMT
I haven't been learning German much recently, simply because I have so few reasons to learn it. These days, all I do is occasionally watch German news on TV.
I may go back to learning German when I have more time.
Clark   Saturday, July 10, 2004, 11:31 GMT
Tom (and Michal), just out of sheer curiosity, do you have German-speaking ancestors? To get more specific; German-speaking ancestors who were natives of Poland? Is it the Gdansk region that has German-speakers (or 'did have' German-speakers)?
Tom   Saturday, July 10, 2004, 15:06 GMT
Nope. Wroclaw (Breslau) was a German city until 1945, but all the Germans who lived here were made to leave. My ancestors come from Lviv and Pinsk areas (today Ukraine and Belarus, respectively).

Gdansk (Danzig) was a "free city" after WWI, but most of its citizens were German (though technically they had Gdansk citizenship). After WWII, practically all of Gdansk citizens were expelled or fled to the Federal Republic of Germany, and, like Wroclaw, the city was resettled with people from eastern parts of Poland, which went to the Soviet Union.

The biggest concentration of people with German ancestors is in Upper Silesia (central South). A lot of people over there speak the Silesian dialect of Polish (which is heavily influenced by German); German is also widely spoken.
Pentatonic   Saturday, July 10, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Tom, thanks for your reply. I can understand your situation as demands of life and priorities change. I was trying to learn Spanish there for a while as well as German and it took too much of my time so I stopped it. I also intend to pick it up again slowly as I find the time.
Clark   Saturday, July 10, 2004, 20:38 GMT
Tom, thanks for the reply. Very interesting.
Boogieman   Sunday, July 11, 2004, 00:03 GMT
My Grandfather was one of those guys kicked out of Gdansk after WW2, then he took off to Australia. I only found this out recently too, I always thought he was from Hamburg!
Boogieman   Sunday, July 11, 2004, 00:05 GMT
Hey Tom I know this doesn't really belong in a Language Forum, but would Gdansk be an interesting city to visit as a tourist? I'll be in Europe next month and have considered visiting it, although there's no way I can found out where exactly my Grandfather lived or anything.
Tom   Sunday, July 11, 2004, 13:27 GMT
I visited Gdansk briefly some 7 years ago and thought it was very pretty (on par with Krakow and Wroclaw).

It's an interesting place if you're interested in history -- the city is steeped in Polish, Teutonic, Prussian and German culture and was the location of several important historical developments related to World War II (it is where the war began) and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe (it was the cradle of the Solidarity movement).

If you're looking to have fun, you will probably find you can have plenty for relatively little money.

You can take the ferry from Gdansk to Sweden, which could be an interesting experience, too.

Check out these sites:
- encyclopedia article about Gdansk with a few pictures
- a number of pictures and virtual panoramas of Gdansk (English version of the official Gdansk website)
Pentatonic   Sunday, July 11, 2004, 14:41 GMT
Ah, it's a small world. My motherinlaw is from Szczecin (then called Stettin). Her father was a high-ranking officer in the military and he knew when the end was near and told them to flee. They got separated but eventually all found each other. Of course they lost everything but still sometimes go and visit the area where they lived.
Tom   Sunday, July 11, 2004, 18:23 GMT
Incidentally, after WWII Szczecin/Stettin was supposed to stay German, and Königsberg (Krolewiec/Kaliningrad) was supposed to go to Poland. However, Stalin realized he needed a warm port for his navy and demanded Königsberg, offering Stettin in return.
Random Chappie   Monday, July 12, 2004, 22:47 GMT
'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe...all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere and are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.'
- Some random Tory leader who was PM after Chamberlain and before Attlee.

Kaliningrad Oblast- I love the sound of that name.