You attended a German language course. You spent hours doing homework and consulting the vocabulary. You forced yourself to listen to the radio and watching movies in German until collapsing on the keyboard. You abused Tandempartner/innen to have your daily dose of conversation. Well, it was really hard but it was worth it because now you are proud of your achievements and German is not a big obstacle anymore. You could even claim to “rock” the language without being denied. Some time ago, the English newspaper The Local made a list of the clear signs of being a German language master.
Berlino Magazine wants to make its own Top 16 too.
Shortening. Just like Germans, you use shortcuts such as Kuli for Kugelschreiber (ballpoint pen) or WM for Weltmeisterschaft (world cup). Well, if some German words have more than 35 letters, we have to find a solution anyhow.
Dialect? Kein problem. Dialect – for example Berlinerisch – doesn’t make you feel like a fish out of water anymore.
Jargon and idioms. You go beyond the simple grammar construction and you use Redewendungen (idioms) and Sprichwoerter (proverbs) and Umgangsprache (jergon). So if you want to say “not my business” you use <<Das ist aber dein Bier>>.
Enough Denglish. That dangerous mix of German and English is gradually disappearing and you can easily separate them.
Separable verbs. When you use a separable verb and you can reach the end of the sentence without forgetting which preposition you have to add (and especially, remembering that you HAVE to add a preposition at the end).
The grammar book is no longer useful. The grammar book is not open on your desk anymore but you use it for its original purpose: as a support for the book shelf.
Verbs with prepositions. Now it is easy to use the right preposition and case with verbs like leiden, sehnen, sich einigen. Same with articles, substantives and adjectives in the speech: it is not rocket science anymore.
The Konjunktiv I. When, reading an article you find the Konjunktiv I and you don’t think “look, a typo, so dumb!” because you know it is a reported speech.
You read newspapers. You can read local newspapers about the daily news on Die Welt or Suddeutsche Zeitung without taking ages.
You can read books in less than two months. You can finish a book before the author pass away. But, more importantly, you don’t need to underline the 80% of the words because you don’t know them.
Listening to the news. You’re able to listen and understand the news of Deutsche Welle avoiding the Langsame gesprochene Nachrichten, where the speaker is as powerful as a lullaby.
Netflix in German. You watch TV series in German. Ok, you did it before too with english subtitles. Then you switched to German subtitles. But now you don’t need subtitles anymore. And you don’t cheat watching Goodbye, Lenin! Cool, isn’t it?
No more endless thinking about what you are saying. The grammar rules that you used to hate now are crystal clear and start to be automatic even when you speak. So you feel free to talk and you realise you’re saying it right!
Real time chatting. When you have to respond on Facebook or Whatsapp to a person which you care about and it does not take the whole day to check the grammar correctness.
German dreams. Sometimes it happens that you dream in German. And not a fake German but a real German with correct grammar and perfect structures. You have to get used to that German has taken over your brain, even if you don’t want to admit it.
You enjoy your social life. When you go out with your German friends after a hard working day and it’s not a problem for you to speak the language with them. You can enjoy the conversation because it’s not a huge Hausaufgabe anymore. And you feel like home.