Of course, one of the main things in Austria was the language. I had earlier spoken Swiss German a bit, and we both had lessons in high German while we were waiting to move. What we hadn’t reckoned with was the local dialect, which caused some re-learning. I found work within a few months and that is the only way to really get a second language.
Even so, over the years as we got more fluent, and I could do courses and teach, my written German was very poor, as I needed it so seldom. But I could get by. I could witter on in dialect, but I knew I made many mistakes, but people who knew me got how I spoke.
It wasn’t until we got here, I suddenly realised I no longer had to check my sentences in my head when it was something complex. I was suddenly aware of this weight lifting, I could speak and understand every word that came my way. I had found Lungau people a little stand offish, but maybe that was me being hesitant, and them with us in case there was a misunderstanding. I did even get annoyed with people who couldn’t understand me when I knew I was saying things correctly.
Maybe it was just the Lungau people, because here shop workers chat and joke with you, they didn’t. We meet people when out with the dog and have some great conversations, we never chatted with anyone beyond the day’s greetings. I love the wicked Welsh sense of humour. I enjoy shamelessly listening in to other people’s conversations in cafes and on buses, without having to get the context first.
Was it me or was it them?