Learn languages by… being in a play!

Hauptmann von Kopenick German production at Nottingham university.
I am the 5th one along, looking incredibly, incredibly attractive.

The last few weeks have been completely manic, especially because I was in the German play.   The play that we did was “Der Hauptmann von Kopenick”, which centres on the Wilhelm Voigt affair, about a man who impersonates as a military officer and finds that the city now willing to obey his command.  You can read a general summary on Wikipedia here – it’s very interesting, I’d recommend it!

Although it was really tiring I really would recommend trying to get involved in a foreign language drama production, even if you’re not into acting, because:

  1. It will improve your languages a lot –  I now know a lot more vocabulary from a lot of different areas which I would not have accessed before.   This is really important in language learning: not just to stick to the syllabus
  2. Your pronounciation will improve.  A LOT.  I know now it’s “hoffen-tlich” instead of “hof-fent-lich” – a minor difference to you, but a massive difference to someone trying to master a language.
  3. Even if you just get involved backstage, you really feel part of a community, and by constantly being surrounded by rehearsals in a foreign language it would undoubtably help your listening skills
  4. It’s great practise for overcoming fears of speaking, and really builds up your confidence.  I’ve never been a particularly shy or retiring person, but it did improve my eloquance and public speaking skills.
  5. It’s fun!  I got to meet some new people and have a different “uni experience”, and although it’s very long and laborious it’s also an exciting and different atmosphere to learn a language in, than just sitting doing nothing!

If you’re at university or at sixth form, why not find a play in a foreign language and work from that?  Our version of Der Hauptmann von Kopenick was VERY condensed, but it still worked.   It would look great on your university applications, and is something new to bring up in job applications when they say “…so what ELSE did you do at university?”

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