I was told for the third time in the past few weeks that I speak German with little to no accent. This is very exciting!
Of course, my accent varies wildly based on the setting. When I am very nervous and unsure of myself, I am fairly sure I have a strong American English accent. But when I am feeling calm or I know exactly what I want to say, I have time to pay attention to how I am saying it.
This is no accident. I have spent a lot of time listening very carefully. And not just to commonly challenging sounds, like vowels with umlauts. I have paid attention to the pronunciation of the g at the end of words like wenig and the ch at the end of ich. I have worked over and over at pronouncing r sounds in different contexts. (I swear, that’s the hardest letter to consistently get right!)
And I am constantly reminded of the benefits of learning a foreign language in the country where it is spoken. I am surrounded by German in my daily life. Even though I am not fully immersed in it (my husband and I speak English all the time at home), I encounter it every time I step outside. I feel like my language skills are growing by leaps and bounds … and yet, I have so much more to learn!