Until we meet (us) again

I’m working my way through »250 Grammatik-Übungen: Deutsch als Fremdsprache« which covers A1-B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp). With the exercises I’ve completed so far, I’ve discovered a few gaps, Wissenslücke, in my grasp of German. One of these, Konjunktiv I, or the special subjunctive, is not something over which I will be losing any sleep. The most common use appears to be to indicate that someone else has said something – indirect speech. With the exception of sein, all of the verbs in Konjunktiv I are regular, so if/when I decide to get to grips with this mood, knowing when to use it will be the only challenging piece.

The second gap involves (I was going to say “includes” but can a gap include something?!) the reflexive verbs. It is not that my vocabulary is devoid of reflexives, however, as many of them have to do with activities of daily living – taking a bath/shower, combing/brushing your hair, getting dressed – and I am a childless adult who can take care of these unassisted, they haven’t seemed vital or wissenwert. It is also true that the majority of the ones I have learned either take the dative case (Ich muss mir das überlegen – “I have to think it over”) or have to do with mental events or social actions (Ich will mich nur umsehen – “i just want to look around/I’m just looking” – in response to Kommen Sie zurecht? – “Are you doing okay?/Can I help you?” in a shop). In one case, sich vorstellen, the reflexive verb combines these two factors in that one must learn the difference between the accusative and the dative forms: ich stelle mich vor and ich stelle mir vor – “I introduce myself” vs. “I imagine.” My use of a reciprocal reflexives is also somewhat spotty. I know now to say Wir treffen uns for “We’ll meet” but I can easily forget to add the reflexive pronoun with unterhalten – “discuss” or “talk.”

Luckily, there are good online resources to help me become better acquainted with both the special subjunctive mood and the reflexive verbs. It will be interesting to see what new gaps emerge as I leave the verbs and move onto nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, particles, sentence forms, etc.

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