The Horrors of the German language Part III

 “The creator of the German language appears to have given his best to make it as complicated as possible.”

As I have promised last time I discussed the troubles caused by the German language, today I will tackle those infamous long nouns and the solutions Mark Twain proposed to make the language more coherent and easier to learn.

“In German, all nouns are written with a capital letter. This, ultimately, is a good idea and a creditable one, because this language is not rich in terms of good ideas.” Continue reading

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The Horrors of the German language Part II

“The study of German is tiresome and can lead to insanity”

Continuing the discussion I started yesterday on Mark Twain’s reproaches of the German language, I will begin this post by discussing those troublesome verbs.

Even if you don’t speak German, you probably already know the curious habit of placing the verb at the sentence in many situations (most secondary phrases, after most conjunctions, most tenses etc). This effectively means that when you are speaking, you must know precisely what you are going to say and not make it up as you go along, which is what I do most of the time. Continue reading

The Horrors of the German language Part I

When Mark Twain wasn’t writing the most adventure-packed stories of our childhood, he was travelling and writing about these in his characteristics way: humorous and insightful. In one of his travels abroad, chronicled in the book A Tramp Abroad (available completely here) he ended up in Germany, where he stayed for several months. Here he studied some German in order to ease his journey and find out more about the people. While he praised many aspects of German society of the late nineteenth century, the German language was not one of them. Continue reading

How I learned German or how not to learn German

German is a very difficult language with a complicated grammar and many rules that one must follow”. I grew up hearing or, at least, getting exactly this feeling every time I had German classes. And from almost all the people I talked to who have studied German in school as a second foreign language, despite the many hours spent “learning” the language, all try their very best to avoid speaking it even when they are visiting Germany. Why this attitude? Maybe it has something to do with the way a language (maybe except English, although they managed to mess this one up as well) is taught in Romanian schools. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it is, especially when compared to French, Spanish, Italian, quite different from Romanian. Or maybe the lack of contact with the German world limited our access to and understating of the language.

But maybe I should start with the beginning to show how desperate this story is. Continue reading