Deutsch als Fremdsprache / by mrm

I had my first Deutschkurs today. There are about fourteen students, and we're from: Romania, Rwanda, Vietnam, Poland, Greece, Brazil, Hungary, Nigeria, Kosovo, Italy, Iraq, Ghana, and the U.S (just me). Our teacher is a Romanian who speaks German, English (and Romanian, of course), and understands Spanish and Italian. I've already realized that I have difficulty understanding the German of some of my fellow students because they have an accent that is (understandably) different than mine or that of the Bavarians I'm accustomed to listening to. I'm below the average age of the class, but the youngest by far is the 19-year-old Italian guy who blushed to the roots of his hair when the teacher talked to him. He claims to understand no German whatsoever, which made me volunteer my terribly faded and tattered Italian in a more or less successful attempt at assistance once or twice. Not everyone speaks English. Currently, we have no lingua franca. We'll see how this develops over the next two and a half months.

While I'm still in immeasurable awe of people who are fluent in more than one language, it has been my sad conclusion of late that, in contrast to an idea I once cherished, such fluency does not confer upon the speaker True Genius. Some people who are bi- or trilingual are capable of perfect idiocy in multiple languages. This is depressing.