The outbreak of the new coronavirus is a case in point. *Ausbruch, Hamsterkauf, dicht machen. Before last week I hadn’t heard of these terms. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a perfect opportunity to increase my German vocabulary (I’d rather not know the words and the virus not exist), but I do find it interesting to note how different it is to learn vocabulary through exposure to the language around us compared to using books on a language course.
For example, in real life you’re unlikely to wait until you’ve covered the subject in class before making a trip to the dentist or applying for a job. Instead, a situation presents itself and words you’ve never used before will suddenly be required. Language learning in this way is a bit like doing a jig-saw without a strategy. It looks a bit unstructured, but you get there in the end!
A problem with this learning 'on the fly' approach is the quantity of new language you can be faced with. You have to be selective. If you try to remember everything, there’ll be little time for anything else! That said, when you’re stuck at home for days or weeks because of a virus outbreak, you might have more time on your hands than usual...
*In English these are outbreak, panic buying and shut down
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash
words from the text
alongside beside, together with
outbreak something that happens suddenly, usually a virus, disease or war
case in point an example
to note notice
you’ve covered you’ve studied or looked at
presents itself happens, occurs, arises
jig-saw a puzzle, a picture broken into little pieces that you have to put together (see picture)
on the fly without planning
be faced with meet, encounter