Having lived in Germany for nearly 5 years, has affected my spoken language. What has to be noted before you are reading my blog today is that the languages spoken in my little family. Here’s the thing: I come from Indonesia, who speaks Indonesian, some tribal languages (since Indonesia is full with more than thousands tribal languages) English, and German. I know a little bit of Arabic as well. The main language used between my husband and I is English (I use Indonesian when speaking to our daughter, and my husband uses German.)Some people might go on wondering why I do not use German when conversing with my husband. This probably sounds strange since I am ‘supposed to use’ German as the main language to converse with my German husband. I have known my husband for 12 years, and from the beginning, we have used English, so long that we, especially I feel strange when I have to divert 100% using German when communicating with him. However, I code-mix my language unconsiously. Here are the list of words I often say without my noticing it:
1. Ach so
I often use this expression in my spoken English, even between my spoken Indonesian. Ach so is similar to ‘I see’, ‘Aha’, ‘Ah Okay’, ‘Ah, yeah, right’ and something like that.
For example : ‘Ach so! no wonder the neighbor’s home is always dark. He’s been on a long holiday.’
‘Ach so, I didn’t know that you had a meeting today!’
I can’t get rid of this wonderful ‘Ach so’ when I speak English or Indonesian, it just happens when I say something, then this word appears without my inviting it. Some people whom I am talking to, and who do not speak German might think I speak strangely because I use ‘Ach so’ quite often. They end up asking why and the meaning of the word.
I do not intend to discuss deeply about the German grammar, which I am not good at all, The simple meaning of ‘Doch’ in the case I am writing now, is to contradict a statement. Once again, there are many meanings of ‘Doch’, but in this case, I limit the meaning to only one , that is ‘TO CONTRADICT’ a statement:
For Example :
My husband said : ‘You don’t understand Mathemtics.’ , instead of saying ‘Oh yes, I do’, I will reply ‘ Doch!’ or something like this :
I told my husband :’ I think I haven’t sent the postcard yet, sorry I forgot’, then a few seconds later, I remember sending it already, then I would say ‘Ah, wait! doch doch! I have sent it after shopping today. ‘
‘Genau’ means like ‘You got that right!’, ‘Exactly’.
It means ‘Sorry’. It’s a long word to write down, but it’s faster saying it than writing it down. I sometimes forget to say’sorry’ if you know what I mean.
‘Egal, what you are going to say about my blog! I just blog whatever I want to blog’
‘What kind of movies do you want to see next?’, ‘Egal, as long as Jason Statham is on it’
‘Which color do you like to have for your room?’. ‘Egal, blue or green looks perfect for me.’
‘Egal’ means like ‘It’s up to you’, ‘Whatever the option is’, ‘ I don’t mind either way’, and things like that.
Thank you! it doesn’t take long to get used to saying ‘Danke’ of course. Anyhow, I have a tendency to say ‘danke’ instead of ‘thanks’ or ‘terima kasih’. It just sounds ‘Perfect’!
Bitte in German can have many meanings! Bitte can mean the following;
Bitte! Yes please
Bitte? Excuse me?
Bitte! You’re welcome
Soooo, yes Bitte and Danke are often going together!
There are of course many other words in my code mix. However, these 6 words are very common in my case. I know some other mixed-mariage family, in which German is the main language, will think this is nothing,these words are ‘useless’ and not worthwhile mentioning, because there is no code-mixing in their languages. But, in our case, I code-mix a lot: German, Indonesian, English, Arabic, Javanese. Of course, I code switch my language entirely to German when speaking to local people here , and my husband’s family and friends.
I do sometimes think that I am a person whose brain is ‘forced’ to grasp more than two languages. I sometimes think that the language I speak at home is neither German nor English nor Indonesian, but it’s A LOVE LANGUAGE. I call it a Love language because I do not care why I do not use German while I am actually living here, what more important to me is being able to converse with my husband. Having misunderstanding is of couse something else. I am often ‘scolded’ by people calling me strange because I am not using the opportunity to use German with my German husband ( I would argue that I am not having a language course in a marriage). I am often protested because I should have forgot using English entirely to be able to speak German well, but I think I still can speak German without abandoning the language I have been using to communicate with him at the first place. It’s ‘EGAL’ which language I use when conversing with my husband, so long as we both understand each other. I have been trapped in a situation where I have to code- mix and code-switch a lot, and I think that’s awesome! Genau, the awesomest thing being in a mixed-marriage is speaking more than two languages! Awesome!
I came up with the idea of blogging this language thing, because I think it’s interesting how someone’s brain accepts languages, how he or she code-mixes and code-switches. It’s interesting to observe my own change in language receptance after a few years living in Germany, and that I keep on using English, German, and Indonesian.
Image : Here