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Learn a language and keep family memories alive

Brushing up language skills can help preserve family history for future generations.

Last year Don decided to excavate his schoolboy German in preparation for a trip to Europe.

In Germany the plan was to stay at a winery and in Austria to interview his wife’s elderly aunt about their family history.

Thus he focused on improving listening and asking questions.

Don’s just back from his trip and had a fabulous time wining, dining and cycling.

He also succeeded in both of his goals: he knows much more about making wine and he has audio recordings in German of family stories.

Don’s gone straight to work transcribing and translating the recordings while the conversations are still fresh in his mind.

As he interviewed his wife’s aunt three times for about an hour each time, there’s a fair amount of audio to get through – luckily the aunt doesn’t have a very strong dialect accent.

After listening several times to a segment, Don’s chuffed he understands more than he expected to. And when he’s stumped, I can help him.

With this project, Don’s planting two trees with one seed.

He’s documenting family memories – important to him so his children and grandchildren know where they came from.

He’s also using and developing his German skills, which he’ll need on his next trip to Europe.

A win-win.

Can you think of a personal project that could do the same for you?

And if you need a hand to set up and stick to your DIY language project, I’d love to help.

© Christina Wielgolawski