For this AMD, I decided to switch my Facebook language to Deutsch and see how many words I could recognize. The first word that caught my attention was the word for ‘homepage’, which is ‘Startseite’. I thought it was interesting to note how literal this translation is. Reading my friends’ posts in Deutsch was a bit more difficult, but I was able to pick up words here and there, such as Wochen and Jahre. The search bar, which said “Suche nach Personen, Orten und Dingen” was easy to translate. ‘Dingen’ is pretty close to things, and Personen is a cognate. The hardest word here was Orten, which I found out means places. I figured out that if I think of “Wo” meaning ‘where’, the o will remind me that Orten means places, which could answer the question, where? I also learned that Facebook in Deutsch does not use a word for the singular “they”. Instead, a post shared by a non-gendered page will show up as, zum Beispiel, “Michigan Cru hat seine/ihre Veranstaltung geteilt”. The seine/ihre literally translates to “his/her”, which I took to mean “their”. I thought this was an interesting distinction from English, because technically in English we should also use his/her instead of the singular they, grammatically speaking. It made me think that maybe Deutsch is a little less fluid than English, in terms of strictly following grammatical structure. English, at least recently, has adapted a lot to popular culture in terms of word meanings, e.g., the singular they or the word ‘literally’. I would be interesting in investigating if Deutsch has any words that have adapted like that in recent years.
Now that we have learned how to conjugate some verbs in class, reading some posts was relatively straightforward. A clickbait article that showed up on my timeline was captioned “Alle seine Schüler lieben seine Klasse, aber sie haben keine Ahnung, was er nach der Schule nach Hause geht…”. I didn’t actually read the article, but I could understand the vast majority of this caption, which was pretty exciting! I also now know another word for der Student, which is der Schüler. From the little bit of searching around that I did, Student means student, while Schüler is more like saying “pupils”.
Overall, Facebook was pretty easy to use in Deutsch! The many cognates were helpful in navigating the pages. It was fun to try and read as many posts as I could in Deutsch and then check them with the English translation to see how well I did. It seems to me like this would be a good way to practice learning new vocabulary and review sentence structure in a casual way.