Two Halfs of One Whole – My Reading Life with Two Languages

English Conquers My Reading World

I started reading novels in English a long time after my high school English teacher told me that I would never be able to speak English properly. My pronunciation was good but the rest, well it wasn’t and it was never going to be good. I have now finished my PhD in American Studies and I wrote it in English. And though I will be far from being at a native speaker level (and I never aimed at being one) I think I managed to make the language my own – familiar, comfortable, home 🙂

Is my German Really Lost – The Rediscovery of My Native Tongue

Because I was so focused on conquering English, I haven’t read German authors for many years

  • because I felt I had to read English to stay connected with the language,
  • because it was easier for me to read English after so many years,
  • because books in German became strangers to me.

All there was English, novels in English, theory texts in English, TV series in English, movies in English, manuals in English – you name it. Once I started reading blogs and watching Booktube I was brave enough to pick my first German book in over a decade. Though reading the first novels felt strange, it became familiar again – it  also became home.

Do I Have to Choose – My World Is Big Enough for Both

So, every time I read a book in German I yearned for English and every time I was deeply invested in an English novel, I looked forward to read a story in German – it was a predicament. I considered myself torn because I couldn’t decide which language I liked more, which was more familiar, which was my home. But finally I discovered, I don’t have to decide. I can love both equally. I can be at home at two different places at the same time.

I was a little mad at my English teacher for telling me English and I would never get along. Today I am thankful for it. Because of what he said I chose English as a subject of my studies, I lived in an English-speaking country, and I am at easy with two languages. I am at home when I hear or read either of them.