A little over a week ago, I went into the university library to pick up the copy of Using German Vocabulary that was waiting for me. As I work at the library as a reference assistant, the lady at the counter knows me. Seeing what book I was checking out, she asked: “Oh, do you speak German?”
Umm. Good question. One which, alas, I’m not really sure how to answer. I paused briefly, and then said, “Well, yeah, some – but.. well.. yeah.”
German is the foreign language I’ve been learning the longest, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been learning it in a from-here-to-there way – quite haphazard. And so when someone asks me, “Oh, do you speak German?”, the best I can say is “Yes, some” – which is truthful, but it certainly sounds rather lackluster, considering how many years I’ve been at it! I have an extremely difficult time gauging where exactly on the spectrum of “knowing German” I’m currently at. How far along do you have to be to be “allowed” to simply answer “Yes!” to “Do you speak [X]?”
Does anyone else have trouble with this, or am I just a peculiar one?