Dear English,

we´ve known each other for quite some time. I got officially introduced to you, when I was about twelve years old – much later than nowadays usual. Instantly I fell in love with you. You know, that German is my mother tongue. It is normal for me, a great tool to communicate and often more than just words: I know, that I can transport facts with them as well as interest, knowledge, curiosity and even emotions. Other people´s German I can really admire or enjoy – in Newspapers, in books, by people who are eloquent, funny, quick-witted. I like to deal with words myself, I like how they sound, how special phrases make me laugh or thoughtful.

But another kind of smile crosses my face when it comes to you – the English language. You are my real passion (language-wise). I am not as fluent as in my mother tongue and it´s not as easy going for me to speak or write in English as I wished. But still – I am simply fascinated by you and enjoy your company: I like listening to you, reading books, watching movies – and I am even ready to sacrifice my claim for the contents of a text just for the sake of you. If it wasn´t for you I wouldn´t have „met“ Minette Walters for instance. I don´t especially like crime novels, but with you I read them anyway – and enjoy you along the way, certain wordings I understand and admire but don´t actively use myself.

You broadened my horizon: A whole world of people, books, interviews, thoughts, ideas opened up to me through you. Expressions like ´pugnacious`, ´oblivious` or ´to get carried away`, to name only very few, expand my ability to describe my disposition or my feelings – and often make me smile.

You are generous: Even when I lack the right words (because I never studied you properly and probably never will get the chance to do so) I will always find a way to say what I want. You don´t mind, if it´s sometimes a bit off the mark: With you it´s not about perfectionism, it´s about being together and being honest and trying anyway.

You are patient with me: When Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes speaks as fast as a shot gun, Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson articulates almost beyond recognizability or Gary Lewis as Billy Elliot´s father Jackie pronounces his sentences as only a real Durham mineworker can – I still get it. There will be something left for me what I can understand, some phrases still sound in my brain after the words have long been spoken – and I understand. I don´t need a translation to know, what the story was about.

You are sometimes beyond my grasp – and still my friend: Lionel Shriver´s use of you in „We need to talk about Kevin“ took me to the limits of my skills, but I finished the book and even liked the challenge.

Your are forgiving: My days are filled with German words, different tasks, even some long stretches of silence. You seem to bide your time, wait for the moment of all moments when I grab an English book, write a mail to an English friend or get a phone call – and my enthusiasm is back, you fascinate me and don´t make yourself rare or refuse to be understood.

You remain full of surprises: There always are and always will be new words, unknown expressions and the whole area of complicated grammar, irregularities, the special use of tenses – to name only a few: I often discover something I don´t have a clue about. After a sometimes initial sigh deep in my heart about my hopelessness to master you I start to enjoy even those hardships. They are rather an enrichment than a difficulty to me.

You are more than a language, more than a challenge for my brain: You touch a chord inside of me, my soul enjoys your presence, my mood lifts up, when you are around.

You are like a soul mate to me. There is no reasonable explanation and this is silly, I know, but that´s how I am wired – as it is with any other loving relationship. I was lost, when I met you, my fascination was there from the start as a teenager in school and it has grown over the years. And I am sure it will stick with me until I die or stop being able to use my brain. Although I am far away from being perfect I will go on applying you, listening to you, spending time in your presence and trying to learn more about you. I simply love you! Thanks for being my companion and friend.

Lots of love,

PS: Thanks for reading up to the end in spite of my inadequacy – especially concerning the punctuation!

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