English for German speakers is in beta now!
Those guys work fast! Damn!
You should now be able to try Duolingo German to English by going to your settings and selecting the language option or by clicking on the flag drop down and selecting "more". Give it a spin and let us know what your think! :)
Congratulations to Myra and Julika! We are looking forward to testing beta! How do we get there?
I don't know, but I'm still excited. I think they'll announce it officially soon.
Super! Jetzt können wir endlich alles vom English ins Deutsch übersetzen! Vielen Dank :)
Wonder what that would be like as I am learning german from english, let's see, no genders-hooray, all the die, das, der is now (the)-horray, all sentences are in word order-horray. Sounds like it would be much easier but maybe not, hard to tell when something is your native language, but sounds like it would be easier.
:) I wouldn't say that English is "easier" than German. For German speakers there are pitfalls such as the extremely complicated tense and aspect system in English, a different word order, many different translations of words like "sollen", etc. All the things you mentioned for German (genders, German word order) are not a problem for native speakers as they know them intuitively.
I think for someone who is a native speaker of a totally unrelated language such as Chinese, English might be easier at the beginning. However, at a certain level any language gets difficult. Once you've mastered the basics, there is the problem of speaking and writing idiomatically, i.e. like a native speaker would.That's where it starts getting really difficult :)
English is easier, because it is a simpler language. But that doesn't mean it is super easy, just as saying the Chinese is difficult, means it is impossible. That is, it is easier for a German to learn English and than an Englishman to learn German. As far as native speakers knowing them intuitively, I think that is a wrong understanding of how infants acquire language. They learn it, and it takes them years to do it. So because native German speakers already know German gender rules, they will have difficulty not applying them to English.
As I said, I don't think that English is easier than German as such. It depends on the level. Also, there are certain areas in English that are more difficult than in German, e.g. the rather arbitrary relationship between English spelling and pronunciation. That many people around the world are able to speak English well (more or less) is not so much connected with English being an "easy" language than with the fact that it's an economic necessity. For many jobs it's not enough to be able to, say, order drinks in a restaurant in English or exchange some pleasantries about the weather. In most subjects at university, you are expected to be able to read scholarly literature in English; in many companies, negotiations are held in English, and so on. People spend years and years in intensive language classes, watch movies in English, read English books, etc.
I think you can't really compare children acquiring their native language with adults learning a foreign language. Children acquire a language by listening to what the people around them say. It's not like it's some burdensome or even conscious process. German children as young as three already use 90 % of the genders correctly (this obviously refers to the words they know at this point). When I said "intuitively", I was referring to adult native speakers.
As for German speakers applying the German gender rules to English - to be honest I don't think that happens very often. I for one never had a problem with it (I'm German). IMO gender is not so much connected with the "thing" itself but with a specific German word. For example, there are several German words for "car" - "das Auto", which is neuter, and "der Wagen", which is masculine. Both words refer to the same object but have different genders. I couldn't tell you the gender of a certain English word in German offhand without saying the German word in my head. So problems with English might occur when people are "thinking" in German while trying to say something in English. But as I said, I've rarely come across this problem.
How do you know that infants acquiring language isn't burdensome? Presumably a child starts learning language from birth and is constantly studying it. Still after 3 years, their vocabulary is small, they are making grammatical errors, and forget spelling.
As far as, mixing genders, it was just an example; but I have heard non native English speakers use masculine and feminine pronouns to refer to things. Learning any language can be difficult, and different challenges are presented depending on the differences between one's native language and the language to learn.