https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Why German?

I am a native German speaker, who likes to browse through the German sentence message section. People struggling to learn German give me an outside perspective of my own language and of all the grammar rules that no native speaker actually has to think about.

This always makes me wonder, what the motivation is to learn German. It is quite hard and foreigners often agree that it sounds harsh. Compared to other languages not so many people in the world speak it.

Maybe your reasons to choose German are: It is an important language for European culture. It is the only Germanic language offered besides English. I am a professional singer about to sing a Mozart opera...? I didn't know what I was getting myself into...?

What is your motivation? Why German?

January 30, 2014

140 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Oldbay

I grew up in a predominately German-American area (Pennsylvania, Maryland) So I've always been surrounded by German-American culture. I think a lot of people don't realize just how German America is/was. I read somewhere recently that Benjamin Franklin wrote letters to John Penn expressing concern that German culture and language was so prevalent it might turn America into a German colony! I also found out that my Great-Grandfather wasn't allowed to speak German in the house because my Great-Grandmother thought it was disgusting... which I can't fathom personally(Although this would be ~1940's in rural America). I MUST have some sort of defiance disorder because when I heard all the crap my Great-Grandfather had to take, I had to learn some German to back him up!

Before focusing on German, I was learning Mandarin Chinese... so although the grammar in German is a BIT more difficult... over-all it's been a much more natural process! I love languages, but didn't have many opportunities until recently to really learn any, so German is (Fingers Crossed!) going to be my first second language, which is pretty exciting!

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MercurialHeart

I am a native Mandarin Chinese speaker, and so glad to see someone said he learned Chinese before. Lol. How is your Chinese now? Do you stick to it? Are you a native English speaker? I am trying to get back into German while I am in America now...

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SaskiaTindra

I'm Swedish and in school we learn languages ​​(I suppose you do that too?), but I chose Spanish which I'm not happy with. Actually I've never been interested in learning any language at all, but after having been to Berlin on a school trip, I fell in love with the city. I therefore decided to learn German:)

P.S. I also think that Germany has a very interesting history and culture:)

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Maybe it would improve your Spanish to take a trip to Buenos Aires and then start the duolingo Spanish course. ;)

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SaskiaTindra

Well, I wouldn't say no to a vacation. Especially not now during the winter:)

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chooyo

Why German? So I can actually understand what the fans (and the Nina Hagen video) are singing at Eisern Union games ;-) Actually, I've got a couple of close friends who live in Germany right now and I'm learning German so that I can understand much more conversation when I visit. The only problem right now is that when I'm over there, people hear my American accent (and not so good German) and almost immediately switch to English so it's a little difficult to practice and get better.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

I know that problem. Some American friends of mine got really frustrated, when they had put some effort into a German sentence, only to be rewarded with an English reply. However, now you can overhear German conversations better, that used to be over your head.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hankog

Yes, I've experienced the same with my accent many times. Trying to speak German and receiving English replies. I'm sure I don't have American accent because English is a second language to me. But to be honest when I insisted to use German only to buy a train ticket, it was valid for a month later than I wanted. :) But the officer was really patient and helpful so we could solve the issue without English, even though he offered to switch to English any time I want. :)

Answer for the original question: German is an important language in Hungary both for historical and economical reasons. It's almost as important as English, for example many job offers require English OR German.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ViceMayor

Like a few other users in this thread, German interested me because it is the closest thing I have to a "heritage" language, and since the desire to learn another language has always been in the back of my mind, German was a natural choice when I finally acted on that desire. I actually took French in high school (and a bit in college) and still retain some knowledge of it, but I never took it that seriously and always regretted pursuing it over German (for the record, I'm now a recent college grad).

The actual impetus that brought me here to Duolingo and into serious study of the language came about 6 months ago when, no joke, my band started playing a cover of the song "99 Red Balloons" (the rock version of it by Goldfinger). Just the fact that I had to learn a German verse for it brought the idea back to me, and it came about at a time when I happened to be unemployed and in between semesters, so I sunk a lot of time into learning when I got started. I've since lapsed in my study here and there, and sometimes my efforts to put that study to use feel very deflating, but the fact that I'm still hanging with it is more than I could have imagined, and everyday I work on it I see the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit clearer.

I have no idea what objective use, if any, I'll be able to put my efforts towards, but I hope an opportunity comes about some day in my career or travels. Either way, I dig the idea of "unlocking" a part of the world by learning a language, and German presents just the kind of challenge and significance that I like. I guess I don't care much for the subjective beauty that other languages are supposed to have either, because I think it sounds great and I love shaping my own ability to speak it.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/gronyteen

I started learning it as my wife is German, she speaks only German to my two sons. As they have grown a little older (7&4) and it's got beyond "Hast du Kaka gemacht?", I now want to understand what they are discussing.

I started off with a very practical reason to learn the language, but I have enjoyed it so much it has become sort of a hobby. I have enjoyed reading in German, watching German TV and listening to music with German lyrics (Gisbert Zu Knyphausen is a particular favourite).

There are times when it makes me want to bang my head against a wall, but generally it has been a very positive experience; it's actually a beautiful language, I love some of the sounds, Rs and CHs in particular.

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/yuioyuio

I just love the way you stated your original reason :)

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mhakyil

to be able to read "Also sprach Zarathustra" in native language :) not only working for an Austrian company, but I am also interested and excited about the great industrial, spiritual, philisophical, artistic european history.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mari681

I started to learn German mainly because it is a part of my heritage (both of my grandparents' families on my mothers' side came from Germany), and I have always wanted to visit Germany. I also think German is a bit more logical than other languages, from the bits and pieces I know (very few, but...) And, also, after the two years of German my high school provided, I felt like I wanted to learn more. It didn't hurt that my great-aunt spoke both German and English, and she was always happy when I was able to visit and speak to her with the little German I knew. As to it being harsh, I can understand why people think that, but to me, I find German... relaxing. It isn't pretty in the the way that French or Italian is, but it has its' charm.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PaoloArman2

I'm studying german because I love philosophy. I've always read german philosophy translated in my own language. Now I want read the originals !!!

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

When you can read a sentence from Kant, you have truely mastered German grammar.

"Wenn, in einer philosophischen Frage, das einstimmige Urteil der Weltweisen ein Wall wäre, über welchen zu schreiten es vor ein gleichsträfliches Verbrechen mit demjenigen, welches Remus beging, müßte gehalten werden, so würde ich mich den Vorwitz wohl vergehen lassen, meinen Einfällen wider das entscheidende Gutachten des ehrwürdigen großen Haufens diejenige Freiheitzu erlauben, die durch nichts weiter als durch die gesunde Vernunft gerechtfertiget ist." - Neuer Lehrbegriff der Bewegung und Ruhe, A 2

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Melaniedf

I think you would be a master of patience of zen. Tell the truth, most Germans wouldn't get this either.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru

I had an exam about Kant once, and I can assure you, after 200 pages of this you are so far from zen as the mars rover from coming home for Christmas.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Sounds like you never read a collection of Zen Koans :)

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

The key to reading Kant is to be aware that he writes in a legalese style. A lot of his word choices are neither taken from ordinary German nor from philosophy (of course, there are many from this field, too :)) but from law speech.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Here is an example, of how to recite a really complicated German text. The awesome Gert Westphal turns Thomas Mann's beginning of "Der Zauberberg" into a smooth understandable stream. No small task, as any German might get lost in the sentence structure, let alone German learner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMK5gHFtN3M

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

@Paolo: I'd recommend starting with the "Kommunistisches Manifest" by Marx/Engels. It is a really well-written text in good German and probably easy to follow. (You don't have to agree with it politically, of course)

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PaoloArman2

Many thanks Wataya. You can bet I'll read it. Yes, I guess I need to begin with a rather modern text. I don't know German but in the Italian language for instance if you read something written in the 19th century you notice it. The language of 19th century is already different from the one spoken today. I'd like for instance to read Meister Eckhart but I hope to find a modern german translation because he wrote in the middle age, and Nietzsche. Then there is Wittgenstein Tractatus, paradoxically very easy because the logic complexity makes almost indifferent the language in which you read it. Anyway reading philosophy in another language is not that difficult because vocabulary is always very limited. Philosophers use the same few words. Fiction instead is always very very difficult. Describing events, landscapes and feelings requires a lot of words ...

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

It's the same in German. I haven't read anything by Meister Eckhart, but I guess it'll be rather hard. I am not surprised that you find Wittgenstein an easy read (language-wise, of course): Short sentences, simple structure and few vocabulary. Kant is especially hard because of his borrowing of so many legal terms and his legalise style (in addition to the old language). Hegel is also a real hard read (and not worth it IMO – lots of words, very few thoughts – your mileage may vary :) ). Schopenhauer has also a very clear style and should be easier to follow. Nietzsche should work well, too.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/VittorFari

I'm Brazilian and i am trying to learn German because Germany is one of the greatest econnomies in the world and i think that this will made german an important language for the bussines in a next future.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SandyBridge

1) German is the "other half" of English, if you consider that the basic roots of English are in Germanic and Latin languages. I studied, shallowly, many Latin languages including Latin itself. As a native English speaker, German gives me an insight into MY language.

2) German is easy (for me). German is VERY close to English (with many false traps to be sure), and if it wasn't for gender markers on the nouns and all their associated articles and adjectives, it would be a piece of cake. Best of all, if I can see a word I can pronounce it, and if I can say it I can probably spell it. German orthography is MUCH less of a mess than English. Once you get going, you're into the fun stuff: puns and idiom and regional slang and such. I'd be scared as heck to try, say, Farsi or Mandarin where I have new sounds and radically new grammars and new writing systems.

2) I never took German in school. So, the fun of it remains untainted by any old memories of grades and deadlines and pointless exercises.

3) Ich mag Deutschland. I've been four times and hope to go more. When there I like to be able to read the signs and maps and ask questions, and thought it seems that EVERYBODY speaks English, that's not true. You simply miss out if you can't converse in the local language. My best moments are talking to, say, a deckhand on a cruise who grew up in the old DDR and spoke German and Russian, or talking on the train with a Gastarbeiter from Poland who spoke no English and about as much German as I do, laughing as we tried to find the words we needed.

4) As a kid I was interested in WWII, and so I was exposed to a lot of German words and abbreviations in my reading, and it still tickles me to know what "Sdkfz" means now. Childhood puzzles UNLOCKED! :)

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo

For those who were curious about Sdkfz after reading SandyBridge's post, you can read more about it here:

Sd.Kfz. 251

BTW, great post, SandyBridge!

April 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sgedwards90

I live in Australia. It's hot. Always. And if you want to visit anywhere other than another part of Australia you have to fly over an ocean for hours. I want to move to Europe where the weather is interesting and where I can experience a range of cultures without having to travel too far.

I also like beer and I am an engineer, so Germany seems like the perfect location for me. From my own experience travelling through Germany, I didn't need to actually know much German at all due to the high English-literacy of most people there, but I think if I want to one day live there, I need to know the language. And the more I learn the more interested in the culture I become.

Edit: Also, even here in Australia I'm often confronted with German documents. It is amazing how many products and how much technology I encounter in heavy industries comes from Germany or Switzerland. I am working on a project now where the original machine was designed in Germany so most of the documentation has German scattered throughout it. So even here in Australia it is an advantage to have some basic German skills in the engineering profession.

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pablojara26

Well, I like languages and I like challenges. German is quite a challenge, it would be easier to try portuguese, Italian (I'm an native Spanish speaker), or improving my english. But I decided to begin with German because I really would like to go to Germany someday (FC Bayern München fan, among other things) and I think I would enjoy the experience better if I understand the language a little bit.

I'm well awared that Duolingo is a tool for begginners (a really good tool) and I will need hard work and some serious lessons to learn a decent German and a lot of work with my pronunciation, but I think I can overcome this challenge eventually.

Have a nice day.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Thanks, then maybe you can laugh about this Mark Twain quote:

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it. - Appendix D of A Tramp Abroad, "That Awful German Language"

Here are some more: http://www.kombu.de/twain-3.htm

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pablojara26

I read that when I started German in Duolingo, and like VorpalBlade it was kind of shocking to know that Mark Twain said that. But I think that probably he had some troubles with German and unfortunately for him, he didn't had tools like Duolingo for learning languages (jajaja).

In the end, Mark had his opinion and I have mine, so I'll try to learn German despite of the fact that I'm still alive and I don't have as much available time as dead people.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Josh2675

For some reason, I find German to be easier to me than French or Italian. To be honest, I'm not satisfied with Spanish. And I know some people who speak German, and I would like to converse with them without using Google Translate, haha. Plus, I think the German language sounds so... gratifying... I'm not sure that's the right word, haha.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pablojara26

Well, now I know I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

I started with French lessons years ago and I had to leave it for money problems. When I met Duo, French was my first choice, and I like it too, but I started German because I've always wanted to learn that language.

At this point I find German more "gratifying" and somehow easier, which is kind of crazy because I'm a Spanish native speaker and French is suposed to be easier for me.

Good day.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/yunier.soad

I'm also a native Spanish speaker and I've always preferred German over French or any other language, except English(because of my job and many other obvious reasons).

I think that we find German easier because we are more motivated and somehow that makes the learning process more gratifying.

Anyway, I'm just beginning my journey learning German; I hope I can make it to the end.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/dannyboy898

I grew up speaking fluent French and English (in Québec) and actually ended up studying in Translation. I went to Germany twice in 2013 and started picking up a few words and attempting to converse (and looking foolish in the process ;) ). I find the language very logical/rigorous, much like the culture in a sense. The country itself I found appealing for many reasons: eco-friendly initiatives everywhere, the people are nice, the beer is amazing, and so on.

I realized the only way to really learn German was to go live there, so my girlfriend and I will be doing just that next August. We plan on staying for two years and see where we go from there :)

My long term goals would be to translate German or teach it as a second language.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Good luck with your plans. Maybe as a translation expert, this article might give you an idea where you are headed. I find the examples interesting, but the linguistic talk is over my head. It might be the other way around for you.

http://www.hf.uio.no/ilos/forskning/prosjekter/sprik/pdf/md/MDohertyReport23.pdf

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Gecast

Well, I'm really having a bad time lately to learn German, in also sometimes I ask myself: "Why I'm keeping so hard to try to learn this language?"

Well, the reason is that I like. My name (according to what I know) comes from Germanic words, I like how it sounds when you sing it (I sang some songs of Wagner, and fandubs of people in German... ot at least, try jaja). Also, I'm studying psychology and from all the things that were studied in the beginning, many were made from German speakers (Freud, Jung, Perls, Wundt).

I don't know... as Latin and Greek, I find German as a "magical language" (even in Spanish sometimes it feels like "harsh, strong, hard" when you hear it. I agree with other people that post here, is difficult to learn all the declinations, order of the words and genres... but I hope that it will pay by itself someday.

And I guess that's all ~ I'm Spanish speaker (from Mexico) Saludos ~

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru

You're right, Gerardo comes from German "Gerhard", which is put together from Germanic "ger" (=spear) and "harti" (=hard, strong), so it means "Strongspear". Not the worst name to have ;)

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rick2047

Sounds like a name ripe for a career in high brow porn production.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Melaniedf

You are soo naughty!

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/drub

I was lucky enough to live in Germany for eight years (80's - 90's). It was a great experience -- the place, and the people. I know enough of the language to get by and keep in touch with old friends. And, I still enjoy the German detective shows on TV. But, what I'd really like is to be able to compose a note in German as good as the one you just wrote in English.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/celiabedilia91

I don't know why, but I've always found German language and culture interesting. So when I found this, I was very excited because I could finally learn it outside of school (I opted to take Russian instead). Also, my boyfriend's mother is German, and I get a lot of brownie points for even the smallest sentences :-)

And really, compared to how many people speak Spanish and take it in school (and with French to a lesser degree), You don't find German speakers too often, unless they're someone's neighbor or mother. It's like when I was learning Russian: people think it's cool when you can speak something they don't hear all the time, something unusual.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/xSyxHyTex

Lots of reasons for me.

My grandparents are German (as is my dad). I took German courses in college, and went there my senior year of high school. I plan on going back this summer once I graduate from University. The Munich area is said to have a pretty good Software Engineering industry and the general economy there seems solid, so I may look for a job there in the future. Besides that, I've been subtly exposed to the language a lot as I was growing up because of my grandparents, and really like it.

So now I follow Bayern München, practice Duolingo daily, and am looking forward to seeing Münich sometime around June! :)

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/superkraker

Hello! First, I must say that I disagree with you when you say that German is a difficult language. I am an American who started learning German a few years ago, and I found it to be very easy because English and German are part of the same language family (Germanic). Second, my motivation was simply because it does sound harsh, and that makes it sound powerful and strong and badass!

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/musiclover23

Ich liebe Deutsch weil es interessant und toll ist!

I used to think German was difficult, especially with changing words into singular/plural form, but I eventually learned that it's logical. Compared to other European languages, German is easier in terms of conjugating verbs and referring to something/someone in the past/present tense! Ich lerne Deutsch unheimlich gern!

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Erikman

I took it in high school. They offered Spanish, French, Italian and German. I didn't want to take Spanish because that's what most people took, so I picked German. Partly because I actually liked the way it sounds and partly because I had a huge crush on the teacher. I never did very well in the class because despite trying really hard to learn it, I could never get the different articles and adjective endings right and I had trouble with remembering the vocabulary. I was able to grasp the grammar that we went over and I actually found it kind of interesting (although sometimes overwhelming). Anyway, a few years ago I just got inspired to try to learn it again for no reason in particular, so I bought some software and books and I looked for on-line resources (eventually finding Duolingo). I can speak it a lot better now than I did in high school and I get a feeling of satisfaction when I learn something new. Now if I could only get myself to study the vocabulary.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/dicemaiden

I chose to learn German because I love the sound of it. I know that many people think it is harsh, but I never have. I was born there (on a military base) and my parents say that I spoke German and English when I was young. When we moved back to the states, I lost it and my parents never spoke German to begin with. I want to go back there someday and see the places that my parents so fondly talk about.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Melaniedf

Funny you should say that. My husband wooed me in German and English, so for me German is the language of loooove! :-D

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

I see already alot of stories here and figured i would attempt to add mine.

Basically i always liked the sound of the language from early doors. Being a scottish man born and bred means that the pronounciation is very similar to our language. We have a lot of "sh" and "ch" noises and so does german, it kinda feels homely (we also love how english i.e north of the border, cannot pronounce the "ch" in loch, but thats besides the point)

I had it as a subject at school, but in our country the schooling provided is poor at best for foreign languages and whilst i had an interrest in german, i made little progress in the subject. I barely passed the subject and then left school to get a job. My interest in the language was quashed at this point because there was no chance to follow it up. After around 10 years of working my employment brought me the chance of working overseas and for one job i was put to the bavarian region of germany for around 2 months. Its amazing how much you can still remember, even when you were taught so long ago, but even still my comprehension and usage was poor and i felt lost, when staying in some of the smaller towns where english was hardly known/spoken. I decided then that i would begin learning german again, so that i could ease the passing of my stay. After around 6 weeks i had picked up enough to be able to get around, understand the basics etc and really felt like i had cemented the building blocks of my newly chosen soon to be skill. After this job i had several postings in and around germany for about 1 year afterwards but never really got any better at the language, which was frustrating.

I knew at this point i would like to continue learning but i could not see how i would go forward and eventually had to let the second language slump for a time. I looked into courses and other ways to learn and none of them really felt right for me. knowing what i did, about how i had picked up the language before, i knew that static aged texts in a book or contrived spoken conversations on a cd were never going to allow me to reach my goal.

This led my search towards the internet, where i eventually came across a corner of the web where the goal of multilanguage is a shared target. Eventually i found duo and with this was a new way to easily rekindle my old interest. Using this website i quickly refreshed my knowledge and began to add further to it on a daily basis. At this point i was not travelling so much and was only learning for my own fun.

Then came my "immersion" phase of the learning. I was posted to the east of france in the alsace region where for the most part only french and german are spoken. This drove me to a new level of understanding because for the most part i needed my second language to get things done,get by etc. Being in france in that region showed me how a langauge can still be very usefull even when you are not in the native country. It also reaffirmed my previous learning experiance, in that, the best/quickest/easiest/most efficient way is only through continuous exposure to the target language, by whichever means.

I like to think of myself now as an intermediate level learner. I find it fascinating to be able to look at the world through a different langauge and i love all the colloquialisms, turns of phrases etc. I am a social creature and i love to connect with people, hear their stories, have fun with them and so on. For now i am absolutely addicted to learning my newest language, looking for every way to immerse myself further still in the language, culture etc be it through the internet,newspapers,tv,songs,books.

I think my surname comes from a germanic heritage "speirs" but i haven't looked into it really. Even if it did this would not become a reason to be learning the language.

Why learn german? Honestly im not completely sure why, but im just so fascinated with it right now. I see it as a usefull tool for the future of my employment, a chance to enhace myself, a reason to make holidays to places i would never normally have been and so on. Generally when i get an urge to learn something new, i find that eventually there was a very good reason to have learned it. For example, i believe that everything happens for a reason, and that even when in the present you cannot see why the new skill that you desire should be required, you press on and do it, only to find it opens a door for you further down the line. Being a learner of german gives me this feeling, and pushes me further to achieve my goal of fluency. Another spur is that, we in the uk are perceived generally as lazy by the rest of the world, when it comes to language skills, and i like to rebel against this notion.

My work is mainly in the industrial automation sector and i use a lot of german equipment (plcs,machines,electronics etc) to do my job. The technical side of the language interests me very much and eventually i aim to study this part of it when the time comes. In english we constantly find difficulty in explaining technical ideas/concepts/functions because we run out of words to describe with. German does not have this problem.

Why learn german? Becasue it seems to "fit" for me and i intend to pursue it with evermore renewed gusto. Plus the beer is fantastic :D (not that anyone ever had to learn german in order to drink the german beer [however being intoxicated with german beer does seem to help with the language barrier :p])

A side note to all english competent german natives. Please do not, when you have recognised by my mistakes/accents, that i am english, switch to using english. Yes your english is much better than my german, but please persist because as you say in germany "ubung macht den meister" and i would like the chance to realise the "ubung" - Danke

Tschüß

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Thanks for your post. You've written about German as being somehow well suited for technical concepts. Someone else here also mentioned German as well suited for science. I have often found the English science textbooks better than the german ones. Also, when you read a "Gebrauchsanweisung" (usage instructions, manual) as a German, you tend to doubt this notion. ;) Technical language probably meets its limits in any language, when it is further removed from everyday expierence. Only in german it is probably easier to invent new word combinations, that may sound impressive, but are just as puzzling to germans. ;-)

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

kein problem. diese Woche, ich habe mit vielen Deutschen gesprochen. ich bin gerade in Frankreich bleiben. Ich bin im osten neben der Schweiz und Deutschland. Wenn man mit der muttersprachler spricht, die sprache kommt weiter. ich muss sagen, wenn man den Anfänger ist, dass es ist mehr einfach mit der halb Deutsch zu sprechen, da sie machen sich keine sorgen über meinen fehlern. Ich finde, sofern ich gehe nach Deutschland, wollen sie mit mir immer Englisch zu sprechen. es gibt eine möglichkeit, dass ich viele fehlern mit meinen Sätzen habe gemacht :p

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

I'm on the other side of the border, in South-Western Germany, close to the French and Swiss borders. If you want to learn from your mistakes, here you go:

[...] Diese Woche habe ich mit vielen Deutschen gesprochen. Ich bin gerade in Frankreich. [...perfection...] Wenn man mit Muttersprachlern spricht, kommt man mit der Sprache weiter. Ich muss sagen, dass es hier, wenn man Anfänger ist, einfacher ist, mit nur unvolllkommenen Deutsch zu sprechen, da sie sich keine Sorgen über meine Fehler machen. Wenn ich nach Deutschland gehe, erlebe ich immer, dass man Englisch mit mir sprechen will. Es ist möglich, dass ich in meinen Sätzen viele Fehler gemacht habe.

(I rewrote it to sound more German. Not to address individual mistakes.)

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

Ok danke. Ja, deine Sätzen scheint besser.

Ahh looking at the first sentence, i know now what i did wrong. verb 2nd duh! Why the bleiben is missing on second? is it because, when i say i am currently in france, you assume that is only for the moment and that it will change? For instance if i said "ich bin jetzt in frankreich" does that sound more like i am now in france (and will be for the foreseeable future?) and if i said "ich bin heute in frankreich" does that sound like, today i am there, but tomorrow i will probably be somewhere else? I know it sounds like im picking, but it is for me the finer connotations that are a problem and so i ask the questions.

For the last sentence, yes i always get the order of the ending verbs/bits of verbs wrong. I think its in the reverse order of when you sent them there for example English - , blah blah, because i have made a telephone call Germanish - blah blah, because i a telephone call made have. Or something like that.

For me it is much easier to read proper german and understand it, than it is for me to compose an authentic looking sentence. If one day i write something and you didn't know i was a non native. Then i will have achieved something tremendous.

One thing i can take away is that my first attempt can't have been too bad, because you were able to understand what i said, even though it wasn't like a native would expect it to sound.

I always frequent german chat forums etc, and try to maximise my exposure to the real language as it is currently being used. Hopefully it will start to rub off soon :D

February 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Why do we not need "bleiben" as much in German as "to stay" in English?

The tenses are not used as precisely in German as in English. You can let the adverb and the context do the job. "Ich fahre morgen nach Hause." " I (will/am going to) go home tomorrow." There also is no present continuous in German. For "I am staying." you need two verbs and maybe "to be" and "to stay" is better than "to be" twice. "I am being...". If you express something similar in German you need only "sein" and you need to find the right adverb "jetzt" (now) is very immediate and maybe to short-term or "jetzt" (now) could imply: last time we spoke I was not but now I am in France. "Im Moment" (at the moment) a little less so. In your case I used "gerade" (at the time), which often comes in handy for translating present contiuous. "Ich bin gerade in Frankreich." This is really all you need. It is not so easy to fit a bleiben in there. You can say "Ich bleibe bei Freunden in Frankreich." (I am staying over at friends of mine in France.), but "Ich bleibe in Frankreich." sounds like "I am here in France to stay." "Heute" does exactly what you thought it would.

German word order is quite free and quite tricky. The most important information is always last. There are lots of "techniques" in German to kick the verb, which is normally important, from its mandatory 2nd place to the very very end.

Technique 1 is to use subordinate sentences. "Ich packe, weil ich morgen nach Hause fahre." (I pack, because I will go home tomorrow.) short main sentence: subject + verb 2nd "Ich packe" komma+konjunktion (, weil) bla bla verb last "fahre". The flectated verb always takes end position, even ich you pile up more verb paticipels as in the last sentence. "Es ist möglich, dass ich viele Fehler gemacht habe." participle "gemacht" flectated "habe". Let's pile up more. "Auch, wenn ich viele Fehler gemacht zu haben scheine." (Even, if I seem to have made many mistakes.)

Technique 2 is to use modal verbs and the infomative (fahren) as verb infinitive in end position. "Ich kann/möchte/muss/will/soll/darf morgen nach Hause fahren."

Technique 3 is to use perfekt tense. Again the informative (fahren) moves to the end as (gefahren), while the mandatory 2nd place is taken over by uninformative forms of "sein" and "haben". "Ich bin gestern nach Hause gefahren."

When Germans talk of the past, they usually use perfect tense and not past tense. It's so much more comfortable to let out the most important information at the very very end.

Mark Twain again:

"Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth." - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

These rules are not easy to master. You have done a great job at writing understandable German. I know foreigners who have stayed in Germany for decades and that communicate very well. However, they will always have someone read over their written German.

February 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sabisteb

"There also is no present continuous in German. " - There definitely is! It is called "Rheinische Verlaufsform" http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinische_Verlaufsform

I'm playing - ich bin am/beim spielen

i'm cooking - ich bin am/beim kochen

ich bin/du bist/er ist/wir sind/ihr seid/sie sind + am/beim + Verb im Infinitiv.

Duden has also more or less accepted it.

http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zwiebelfisch/zwiebelfisch-wie-die-sprache-am-rhein-am-verlaufen-ist-a-350958.html

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sabisteb

"(it's random)" - :-)))))))))))))))))) Sounds like polish grammar O.o Means, you have to learn it with every new verb like the conjugations in Latin. Have fun!

"If there is one thing i have learned about Germans, it is that they are very proud of their language and work ceaselessly to safeguard it."

Really?! That's new for me, I always feel we like to change the language as fast as possible. You can read Jane Austen without problems, even native Speakers have sometimes Problems with Goethe .... We had 2 spelling reforms in 100 years. That's not my idea of safeguarding, same with german words that sound like fake English (I’m too embarrassed to bring examples, most are just too hurtful). The French are safeguarding their language.

Genders are also a fun topic... Binnenmajuskel versus Genderdeppen-Unterstrich.... It's just ridiculous.

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sabisteb

you can record german audio dramas via this Webside and also use it to listen to german radio: http://www.phonostar.de/ The Player is for free in the basic Version and the cloud has 2 hours of recording time in the free version. Further audio dramas can be downloaded here: http://www.br-online.de/podcast/radio/mp3-download-podcast-uebersicht-bayern2.shtml Here a very popular krime audio drama as podcast http://www.ard.de/home/radio/ARD_Radio_Tatort/94130/index.html German Television is available via this website: http://www.onlinetvrecorder.com/v2/ Or here: http://mediathek.daserste.de/ http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek#/hauptnavigation/startseite German and French: http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/plus7

February 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

Thanks for your very detailed and in depth answer. If there is one thing i have learned about germans, it is that they are very proud of their language and work ceaselessly to safeguard it. For the record my speaking at the moment is not as good as my writing, i have much time to think about a message i am composing, but speaking is often frantic,incorrect and the words are all over the place.

You touched on an important point just there which i have come across many times now whilst learning this language. Even when a word has a direct translation available, it almost never means the same thing. Okay for nouns (actual things) it is usually ok but for the most part, verbs,adverbs etc just dont carry the same weight/idea and that for me is the hardest part about learning any language.

For example

The translation of sollen is should, in english the verbal weight of should is e.g "you should work" - means its suggested that you work but is not an obligation. As far as i can gather the weight of the german sollen is far heavier and so its usage as a direct replacement is not advised. But thats only the impressions i have of it thus far.

Thank you for your information on the ways of building the verbs/sentences. I am familiar and quite fond of some of the techniques you decribe for number 1. I mostly so far can only "build" these when composing a written message.

For number 2 i think i have used it before but without knowing if it was correct or not. It is similar to english in that sense of i can/would like to/have to/want/should/have permission to do something. I was not aware of the technical details of this form i.e modal verbs to build it, so i will look this one up because i would like to use it more.

For number 3 this is my favourite construction for speaking and also what i hear spoken most as well. For clarity when you say past tense am i correct in thinking that is the "ich spiele" - present, vs "ich spielte" - simple past. I almost never have heard anyone speaking like that (the simple past that is)

Verb final is actually my most favourite thing about german, and i know you germans love it too, always seeking crafty ways to save the entire meaning of the sentence until the very very end. For the most part i understand it but i just have trouble sometimes getting the right word order in the sentence and suchlike.

One thing i still struggle with daily, is knowing which words need articles and which dont. Okay i know most words have genders but sometimes you can use the word with and sometimes without. I havent seen what the pattern is, but my best guess so far is that you attach a words gender marker, in order to make clear its role in the sentence i.e n,a,g,d and if clarity is not required then sometimes it can be left out, is that close?

1 last closing question, why are some perfekt tense verbs built like "ich habe geverbt" and others like "ich habe geverben"? i know for the common ones i use what the correct forms are but i dont know why other than it is just so.

Sorry for the further questions but i am fully committed to learning this language and i try to take every opportunity to come "weiter".

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

If you like to dive into peculiar German Grammar phenomena I best refer you to the German is Easy blog. There is also something on past participle building with -et vs -en. (it's random)

http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/german-past-tense-2/

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

Okay maybe safeguard wasn't the correct word to use. Can't think of another way to say It at the moment. I read into the German is easy blog all the time. It has brought me on leaps and bounds and compliments my duo activities perfectly. What I'm missing just now is speaking/listening practise but I'm working on that. I'm just back now from my trip to East France and I used every single day to talk to at least one person in German. They were very helpful and slowed down/explained in easier terms etc when I was having difficulty understanding. It was a good experience overall. I've heard of the Rheinische verlaufsform before, but so far I haven't heard it used or used it myself. I know what you mean about the French and I agree they are more so than other languages. I think it is having the opposite effect on the language though and is making it less accessible from the outside if that makes any sense. I don't see the German language like that at all. Maybe it's only because most Germans I meet can speak perfect English, and prefer to converse in this when something needs to get done. I'm not sure.

I'm currently trying to work out new ways to gain the much needed immersion when I am not in the company/countries of the language. I'm thinking of trying to get the radio somehow to listen to here or reading some books or something. Language needs to be kept alive to be valid.

February 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

Thanks for the links sabisteb, i will get through them in due course and see how i fare after that. Trying to figure out how i can get german radio stations to play in my car through the internet just now. Lingot given!

February 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Athenicuber

I'm using German as a stepping stone to the world of language because it's so close to English (I'm a native english speaker), and then french, russian, italian, latin (yes, latin. i said it), romainian, etc.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/I.m.Geniza

I started learning German because a sibling started learning it. Also I knew that before English was the language of science it was German (after both world wars everyone got mad at the Germans). I also find German very unique in its own tongue compared to other languages. That is exactly what makes German so awesome.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/inkybaba

There is a girl in my class I like, and I found out that she speaks German. I wanted to impress her by talking to her in German

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NitinVerma3

I am from india my native language is hindi , but english language is likely to become a native lanuage also , on the point of german ,it may be another one for me , i will be able to speak another so i choose german

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mistertheirin

For me, it's because I enjoyed learning German at the start of High School and when I switched classes, I had to switch languages to French and because I started later with French, I found it really hard and ended up not taking it further. Because I enjoyed learning it, I'm going back to it and learning it properly.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NadiaMallit

I met a German guy traveling around America and he piqued my interest in the German language, culture, people, etc. I also have a friend who raves about Germany after spending a year studying abroad there. I used to dislike the harshness of the language but after hearing the German guy speak, it actually sounded quite beautiful and sexy ;)

Now I really want to visit Germany!! I plan to spend a good few months in Europe this year :D

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/glavkos

I studied German about 20 years ago. I had a good progress after my lessons as I could read some books (like fairy tales, but also some more serious stuff like some scientific books) ....I forgot a lot since then, I studied other languages etc. So today I would love to refresh and why not to improve my knowledge of German.

And why not to speak German on a good level and visit the country.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jenn362790

I'm not completely sure how I came to like the German language and culture so much. A part of it is the perceived 'harshness'. I like it, actually. Another thing is that when I was a teenager I discovered the pop/rock-ish band Tokio Hotel and started learning snippets from their German songs. So when I decided to learn a new language German made sense because I had just a tiny head start in the language compared to French or Spanish.

Of course Germany and it's culture alone are interesting, and someday I do want to visit it and a few other places in Europe. The countries are beautiful(so I've been told) and their histories are rich.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ctesiphon

English is my second language, and I decided that knowing only two, one of them pretty useless outside my country, is too little. I wanted something that is relevant, used close to where I live (Kraków, Poland), has a lot of material available, and would be somewhat similar to the languages I already knew so the learning proces wouldn't be a torture that would make me quit. This narrows the choice down to Russian and German and I intend to learn both. German comes first because I really like the country.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

Dziękuje. Kraków jest bardzo ładny a ja czekam już na kurs polskiego w duolingo.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sabisteb

ja też

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/andres.sil7

In the late 90s I became a big ‘’Rammstein’’ fan. Although I didn’t know the language, the catchy tunes made it easy to follow along. I never thought about learning a new language until three years ago when out of boredom I started translating Rammstein songs online and realized how deep the lyrics were. I figured I should learn some of the language since I’ve been singing it for all these years; in the process I started having fun with it and took it up as a hobby. I must admit since that time I haven’t been as diligent with learning as I should but since I ‘ve been using Duolingo it has made me want to rededicate myself to the task and finally be able to speak it fluently.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pctrollbreath

Why German?

Well I'd been wanting to give learning a language a try for a long time, but never really gotten around to it. Anyway, that was at the back of my mind when I realised just how much time I was wasting on pointless puzzle games, and thought why not see if I can put the time into something constructive. So I had a look at what was there, and Duo-Lingo was getting some great reviews as a gamified way of learning languages. So I thought why not give it a go, as it seemed to be a nice crossover between what I was already doing and what I wanted to do.

But why German?

I'd like to say that it was because I love the sound of German Rock, even when I can't understand it, because I do, or that I love German culture, because I do, or that I have generally got on well with the (too few) Germans that I have met, because I have.

But I can't, and the real reason I chose German is really sad. I picked German because it wasn't French, and was as distant from French as I could find on Duo-Lingo. I had a really terrible experience trying to learn French at school, and I didn't want to start the challenge of learning a new language and at the same time overcome the niggle in my head which would just keep saying "you CANNOT do this" to me.

If anyone who is French reads this, please don't take offence, I love France and the French as well. What I hate is the legacy of the experience I had at school trying to learn the language. I'm hoping that once I have got a reasonable grasp of German, that I'll be able to get over myself, and start learning some French as well.

That said, I am delighted to have dropped on German. I have learned more about the English language whilst trying to learn the German one that I have ever learnt before. And now German is at the front of my mind for at least a part of every day, I've tuned into things German, and I'm loving the culture and the people more and more.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/yuioyuio

Funny you should say that, I had completely different experience. Learning German at school was... not that pleasant, while, when I took French at University I learned a few thing about English, or maybe rather English helped me with French (it was just begginers stuff, I only took the course for a year and a half and it was 2 hours a week). It was so cool to understand some words without having to look them up (like changer or commencer) ;)

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia

I think you'll come around :-) I HATED German when I was forced to learn it in Middle School, so badly that I actually dropped out. (compulsory third language, but I already spoke Polish so I tricked the system.) In college we had to pick a third language (no Polish-tricks available ;-) ) so I picked Spanish. It went really well. Once I "mastered" Spanish (many years later) I wanted to give another try to language learning, so I picked German and now it's fun, I even like it!

February 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Yinyangrunner

I started learning German about three weeks ago because my fiancee is moving to Hamburg for an academic job and I want to be able to join him. I'd like to either be able to start a doctoral program there or teach secondary school at one of the international schools. To do that I really need at least A2 and of course B1 would be far better.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rick2047

I am asking this to myself since days. I am level 6 on german and am able to compose some sentences in it. I had no reason to learn german. I could have chosen french, would have opened a whole lot of movie culture to me, could have learned spanish would have opened a whole lot of Pro Wrestling culture to me. But I really don't know why I started with german. Most of the people here are saying they started since this is their culture, I am Indian, I know my culturally significant language (Hindi) my heritage language (Marvadi) and my adopted culture language (Gujarati). There is no connection what so ever to Europe. I still don't have a good reason to start with german.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KatieWitt

Ever since I was a little kid, I had this instant, powerful connection to the German language. Where other people heard harsh, angry language, I heard beauty. It all made sense to me and came to me very quickly. At the age of about 6, I began making flash cards and reading books about the language instead of playing outside with friends. My dream is to go into the military as a German translator and be stationed in Germany. I eventually want to live in Germany when I am older, because I find the German culture to be much more hospitable than American culture.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/J.DavidCR

I am a native spanish speaker, learning german, I always liked english and became fluent in it, as a personal goal and a professional requirement. German came to my life as a chance to get into further educuation. The more I was looking information about Germany, the more interesting it became, and the public education system that Germany has is an envy for anynone. Those like me understand how tought life can be in developing countries like mine (Colombia), specially when geting into an university it is incrediblely espensive; and the worse is that even doing so, it does not give you garantees to get in a decent job without being part of the disease that plague developing countries called CORRUPTION. I am learning German, firstly, because I like languages (even if only speak two); secondly, I see Germany as the place where I can get a Master's degree of good quality without pays tons of money; thirdly, because I dream about geting a life in Germany that I couldn't get in my home country and finally,German is the language of a country that I admire for many reasons, and unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to born there.

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/skotzlingo

Because I'm an American who lives in Germany and my three daughters are enrolled in German schools - so command of the language is mandatory if I am to be actively involved in their education. We are also posturing to stay here for the foreseeable future - so learning the language is obviously a necessity.

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DeaDellOro

To be completely honest, I was downloading a game on my computer, and it was taking a very long time and I was looking around and I found duolingo and I figured, eh, let's check this out, because I've always wanted to learn a second language because I think being bilingual is really cool and I love hearing things in different languages, and it'll give me something to do while waiting for my game. German was available, and I've always loved how the German language sounds, and how words are pronounced, despite the harsh sound to it. So I started learning and I thought it was going to be something I do for a week and then forget about it but here I am a month in and really for the first time I'm enjoying learning a language! (I had to take a year of Spanish in the 8th grade and took two years of Chinese- neither of which I was all too good at.) This probably.. Doesn't even pertain to the original question at all. Oh well.

February 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

It does. Thanks for your post. You do not need to have a deep rooted reason. So you just stumbled into learning German. What is more interesting is that you have stuck with it simply because you like it.

February 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mikehuij

"Why German?" Why not? :) In all seriousness, though, I love language in general: thinking about them, learning them, practicing. Regarding German in particular ... well, I'm planning travel to Germany in the next year or so, and even though I am told that "everyone knows English" I've found that most people appreciate that you've made some effort to learn THEIR language, rather than relying on the dominance of your own. Finally, in my professional life, I have some interest in the history of science and medicine, and there is a wealth of primary resources that are still available only (or best read in) the original German.

Thought-provoking question, thanks. :)

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SandyBridge

What it really means is that enough people know English that you can get through Germany without major obstacles. That's fine but it really is a very filtered experience. Many people don't speak English or don't speak it well, but you may not meet them. Many signs and media are in German, but you can if course restrict yourself to those in English. Many conversations, announcements, protest signs, ads, etc will be in German but you can skip them. It really is a question of how deep and rich and experience you want to have and es of course always the courtesy of making an effort!

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia

This post is fun!

Considering how many stories there already are, I'll make mine quick.

I live in Europe and I run my own business. Germany could be a great market to extend to. That, for itself, is kind of a good reason.

I also have many private reasons: my boyfriend speaks German quite well and is very interested in the culture; plus he could have some job opportunities in Germany (and since I do "what I want" as my own boss... I could live there too without problems). I had already studied German for 4 years in Middle school/High school, so I figured German would be easier to learn (than, say, Chinese.) And I wanted to learn a new language, because I've always wanted to speak 5 and in the past year I managed to master quite well my fourth language, Spanish. So I figured it was time to start the fifth. And last but not least, I wanted a bit of a challenge, and I definitely think German is a challenge :-)

February 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Comradesev

I actually find German to be a beautiful language, my old relatives come from Prussia so I wanted to learn more about the culture and language, and I love how languages evolve and relatate to each other, since I speak English I find the Germanic language family to be very interesting. I also just love languages in general, and there is something about German that attracts me to learn it.

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wstoutamire

For me, it's a mix of things. I know a number of people that speak German; some are native speakers and some are heritage learners. I'd like to be able to speak with them in both English and German. Plus, my family heritage is German (my last name was originally Staudenmeier, so I'm told), so it feels right to learn the old language.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AlmogL

Actually you are pretty close! I used to sing, well not quite Mozart operas but there was a lot of Mendelssohn involved and quite some Bach too. It made me really fond of German and I've been dreaming about learning it ever since. I've not been singing for many years now, but I never forgot my dream.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

"Bist du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh." This might have been on your list of Bach songs (actually probably not by J. S. Bach himself, but still pretty). You might understand all the words now, because I think they are part of the vocabulary at duolingo. "If you are with me, I gladly go to die and to my sleep."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQtWTnFdFbQ

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AlmogL

I remember "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin", but the meaning is along the same lines. :-)

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Pfiff

When we were 11, all students at my school began learning either French or German. I hated French but luckily I was in the German group. I keep learning it because I love it (harshness and all, though it can sound really smooth as well), it will be useful to me, and I love German musicals. I also think it's more logical than many languages.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CaseyCrayg

I started learning German in school, and ended up with 7 years of having German as a subject. We get taught at a much slower pace than you get taught English, and very few people care at all about learning so I didn't get very good. Then I decided I wanted to learn a language for personal improvement reasons, and German would be the easiest to learn by far because I already knew a bit about how things work.

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Cobthecobbler

Honestly? For starters, being bilingual in general is a good trait to have. What's more is that my mom was born in Germany, so she has some background on the language. Even when they moved out here to New York (She was still a kid), speaking German was just something her parents did around her and to her. She's retained very little now that she's older and hasn't really been immersed in the language for decades.

Following that anecdote I can say the reason I chose to learn German over something cliche like Spanish is because, not only do I find the language and culture interesting, my mother has tried to to teach me basic words and phrases when I was a kid and I enjoy speaking the language.

I also find it interesting that my native language, English is a derivative of German, which to me is just more motivation to learning it.

I do plan on going to Germany at least once in my life, so I know this program won't go to waste.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mattrowl

Jobs that I have previously applied for have required a second language, and as an engineer I feel that German would be a good one to have. Plus I did well in school at it and so felt i had a bit of a head start...The longer that I do it though, the more I think that learning it will only ever be a hobby, as I would need to immerse myself to develop it as a second language!

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/OldSpiceGuy

I think it sounds beautiful myself. I'm an American mutt, but I have a fair bit of German ancestry (5/16, second only to Irish at 3/8) and a German last name. I take my family to a few different local Octoberfests each year, and I want to be able to understand the songs. Some day, I want to go to Germany, and I'd like to be able to speak the language. Also, I started Duo learning Spanish, and figured German was sufficiently different that I wouldn't get mixed up, and that's been pretty much the case.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/xievoueeeer

Well, I chose German because even though I don't live in Germany, it's most of my heritage :p it will be nice to one day go there to see the rest of my family there, and speak it also.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/moodswinger

My first language is Spanish and my second is English. I started learning English in third grade. I think I kind of forgot how difficult it is learning a new language when I decided to pick up a third. I wanted to learn Dutch, but at my university, you had to take German first in order to take Dutch.

I was horrible at German. I only passed with a C, and didn't bother to take it again. I was also not that much better at Dutch.

When I heard about Duolingo, I signed up in the hopes that I could learn Dutch this time around. It's not being offered yet, BUT they did have German. So, I figured, why not? I'm a literature student, and once I learned English, I discovered just how much better it is to read in the original language. I love Kafka, and I hope I can read Die Verwandlung before 2014 ends.

German is also a useful language for any European. I also find it so tricky, that surely any language (Dutch, Swedish, French . . . ) after it will be easier. ;)

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

My mother learnt French, and so when I was younger I would always pester her to teach me French. I'm English, and we don't start compulsory language classes until age 11, and of course I chose French. However, I soon met a friend who had taken German before transferring and told me it was much more fun. A decade or so, I'm still learning French and am currently living in France, but I've made friends were German speakers and am still fascinated by German. I love hearing German's speaking both English and French - I think it's such a beautiful language that gets seriously misrepresented to and by English speakers.

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bachboy90

I am of German descent on my father's side; my grandparents immigrated to Australia during the war. I have never explored much of my German heritage, but as I get older my interest in my heritage has increased. So I would love to travel to Germany and visit the myriad of cousins I have there, however I need to learn the local language first.

Also, I am currently studying in natural health and I hear that Berlin is a bit of an epicentre for this type of study. I am strongly considering studying in Berlin as part of my current degree, or continuing on with further studies there.

I would love to experience living in another country, and why not pick one that has cultural and familial relevance to me?

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HeyWhyNot

Ever since I was born, my family and I (6 members) moved a lot. I am of Spanish-Peruvian background. I was born in Montreal, Canada, where my parents met. They were both immigrants from the same country (coincidence!). We moved when I was ~3, to the USA. 3 years there and then we moved again. By then, the only language I spoke was English. So I struggled to learn Spanish in Peru (which is a country in South America and my parents' native country), but I succeeded after two years. Then, we moved back to where I was born : Montreal, Canada. My parents were strict in general and they sent me to a french school to learn French. I struggled with that too, but luckily I spent the first year in a learning program. We stayed there the longest - 6 years - but then we moved to another province: Nova Scotia, which is in the Atlantic side of Canada. In Nova Scotia, everybody spoke English and French, so it was quite good. But non-Canadian people were rare in this region so people were sort of discriminating. But the fact that I spoke 3 languages always made them back off (haha). So to sum up, I developed a large amount of understanding through the years with languages. It really amazed me. I've always wanted to do many things, like follow a career (pathology, psychiatry or biology), travel, learn musical instruments and learn languages. Other cultures always really interested me. Well, to go back to the question, I first heard about Germany when I was much younger, and the only mental images of Germany that I really had were the ones I saw in movies like Schindler's List. Even though I only really heard about the stereotypes and world war stigmas, I still was really interested in this culture. The language did seem really rough sounding to me, it does when you hear it from a distance, but I thought it was amazing. All those words have meanings, and every language has their way of expressing emotions, and telling their own stories! Germany and its language really does spark my interest. So, besides that, I started looking into it, and the languages I already spoke honestly did help me with all the pronunciation. The grammar is something to go through with but I won't give up for sure. Anyways, the point is that I always seemed to have an increasingly big interest in other parts of the worlds, countries and languages, the main ones being German and Italian. I do speak/understand and write fluently in English, Spanish and French, and it may seem a little overboard to ambition for Italian and German, but they are two excellent cultures and once I speak them, I will feel really accomplished. They are worth! In life, you always have to ask yourself this question: Hey, why not?

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/yubsie

I initially started taking German in my undergrad days because, I kid you not, it was the foreign language that let me eat lunch. I needed a language credit, and my university offered French, German, Spanish and Japanese. I'm Canadian, so they make us take a French proficiency test before we're allowed to enroll in a French course. Since I started immersion in grade one, I knew I was going to test into a second year French literature course, which was more than I really wanted to take on for a distribution credit.

I had varying reasons to be interested in each of the other three options, but what it eventually came down to was that Spanish and Japanese were scheduled at a time that meant between that and my chemistry courses, I was going to be in class or a lab the entire time the dining hall was serving lunch. German was an hour earlier so I took that.

About a year later I started to really learn that a lot of the older chemical literature is only available in German. Angewandte Chemie is actually still one of the top journals, but now there's an international edition in English. When I came across Duolingo, it made sense to continue pursuing German to make it easier to read those old papers.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alfred.metushi

We were visiting München last May and we thought next time we visit Germany we Must speak German.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kg.kiwigamer

I have a german girlfriend and now I'm staying in Germany. I started to learn german before I came here but I think I should of studied more often. I've been here for a month now and I am really enjoying it. I start a language course tommorow, its only two times a week but in march I am starting a more intensive course. I am looking for work however my spoken German is not so good if anyone has any ideas they would be much appreciated. I have some experience in metal work and I'm staying in Lüneburg not far from Hamburg.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chooyo

The only thing I can think of re: at least short term work would be to have your girlfriend translate your CV into German and submit it to as many local Zeitarbeit firms as you can find. If the "kiwi" in your user name indicates that you're not a citizen of the EU, then it's going to be tougher since to get a work visa you're going to need to either be sponsored by a company or show that you have a skill that is in short supply (or non-existent) in the EU work pool.

Taking intensive courses is a great idea - I've done one and it was a great learning experience.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kg.kiwigamer

I hold dual citizenship I am a citizen of New Zealand and also the UK this makes things more simple. That sounds like a good idea I think I'll try that, thanks a lot.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Yinyangrunner

I'm in the same position! My fiancee is moving to Hamburg and I'm not sure what kind of job I can find without at least B1 German...At least you can practice your speaking everyday with your girlfriend.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kg.kiwigamer

I've been practicing every day at the breakfast table but now My girlfriend and I will practice at night as well, so that I can ask for more than food. I'll be studying at VHS. I'm pretty sure VHS is in Hamburg as well. they offer a course that gives you B1 when you finish. Its about half price for Euro citizen too.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Luftballoon

I found Duolingo by chance, and, being fluent in Spanish with no real desire to learn Portuguese or Italian (they were too similar), I decided to start learning German, with my reasoning not extending much beyong 'why not?' It's a fun way to stay thinking. Always gotta be challenging myself.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fuenteshe

Let's see why german, i think the idea to learn a real difficult language attracts me. I already speak 2 languages besides my native spanish. to try a real challenges, if a natural characteristic of being a man, I think also the culture of many german speaker countries have, also is attractive to all of us. I enjoy a lot my personal classes of german and i feel in love with german culture. the reason why? i don't know because it is cool

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/celebrim

Swedish and German have much in common. It feels natural, after decades of learning English, to start connecting with German.

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/m0ckturtle

I too am a native English speaker who studied German in high school. If I recall, my motivation for learning German back then was a love of culture - art, philosophy, and film. I wanted (and still do want to) to travel to Germany.

Now I'm older and my motivations are a little more complex now. I stopped my studies when I went to university because the art school I went to had no language classes. Studying German now, in my twenties, is a personal mission - I feel like I must complete what I started, and this drive pushes me forward. Beside this, the German language is a fun challenge, and I find that studying German helps me understand my native tongue more. (I love languages!)

I don't have German ancestry, but my boyfriend is half German. His father immigrated to Canada in the 50s, and he still has family back in the old country. We're talking about traveling to Germany sometime in the near future, so best to be prepared! :)

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ApfelCider

Two reasons. I want to get more in touch with my family roots. We came from Germany on both sides, Maternal and Paternal (Via Yugoslavia). Secondly .. I have a German friend who I want to get closer to and also to impress.

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaP98

I chose to learn german after having an experience with a german exchange student. That spring break, I learned to love german. German is also really interesting as it shows up in word roots in lots of different languages. German is often made to sound harsh in American Films and TV, probably because americans have a predisposition with history. However, german isn't necessarily as harsh a language as we Americans make it out to be. German, can also sound sweet and gentle. Fenix_vulgaris, how does english sound to you? What are things in english that you find strange. I'd love to know.

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

I started learning English about thirty years ago. Later, I went to Santa Monica as an exchange student for a year like your friend and my exposure to English hasn't stopped since then. It has become difficult for me to look at English from the outside. However, American and English culture is very prominent in Germany. Most of the songs on the radio are in English. Lots of words are borrowed from English. Even some advertisements use English if they want to sound modern, international and cool. Any little kid that hasn't had an English lesson in school, yet, will be familiar with the sound of English. I do remember hearing "Love don't kameesee to me" as a kid. The most impressive sound is probably a heavy Texan "r".

There are interesting differences in structure. I have a book on this by a translation scientist. This book is addressed to a general audience so it was not too difficult. The most striking structural difference is that German places the important information towards the end of the sentence, while English gives it to you much earlier. The very beginning of sentences in both languages is usually reserved for known (old) information that connects to what has been said before. So if "1" stands for the most important information of a sentence, "2" for something less important or already known and "3" for the least important information, the placement in both languages would differ like this:

English: 2 1 3 German: 2 3 1

Adding more elements you would reach something like this.

English: 2 1 3 4 5 German: 2 5 4 3 1

So good translations that account for this oftentimes seem to put a sentence upside down. From this information weight placement for one and, secondly, from the rigid English (Subject Verb Object) word order compared to the more flexible German word oder follow many more differences between these languages.

If you don't have a feel for both languages, yet, you may wonder what I am talking about. ;)

"I want to propose to her in the restaurant tonight."

"Ich will ihr heute abend im Restaurant einen Heiratsantrag machen."

There would be lots of alternative correct translations, that stick more to the original word oder, but this one probably feels more natural.

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

A lingot for the insight into German sentence structure that I've been trying to get to grips with!

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Gamchawizzy

Ever since I was twelve I have been fascinated by German. The accent and the words are very satisfying to speak and hear. I'm Filipino who grew up with English and the two native tongues, so I really loved the idea of learning a new language. My family at first wanted me to learn either Spanish or Italian because it's in our heritage however the idea doesn't really appeal to me because it sounds too much like my own native language. I don't have anything against them, though, just that German sounds really...strange in a good way, and is easy to learn in my opinion due to some words sounding or is equal to their English/Latin counterparts, and the grammar is fairly easy to pick up on. Some words are merely two or three strung together to make one long yet sensible word. And that's about it :)

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Tuya

One half of my family is German. My mother speaks it, but my sister and I are where it has stopped. There are family of ours in Germany that don't speak English. So this was a big motivator for me to learn it.

But I also think it is a culturally rich language. Germany has given us many great scientists (such as Einstein), classic story-tellers now known to people all over the world (such as Hans Christian Anderson (edit: apparently I was wrong, and he is Danish!)) and philosophers (such as Kant). It's more than just the World Wars (although, I must admit the idea of being able to read German material from the war in its original language is an interesting one too). Being able to experience these people's work without having to translate it, whereby some of the meaning is lost, is something I'd like to be able to do.

I also like that German seems to have a word for everything!

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

Hans Christian Anderson was Danish. If you're interested in seeing some of his work in the original language, I have a link to a bilingual copy of 'De Vilde Svaner' ('The Wild Swans). Danish and German are in the same family, so there'll probably be more than a few words you recognise from your study :D

I believe the Brothers Grimm wrote in German, and also a very interesting children's book called Der Struwwelpeter was originally in German, and is well worth a look (it contains gory cautionary tales for kids, you have been warned!) I've taken a class in fairy tales, where we were taught that the Grimms' work is a type of nationalist literature, in that they sought to create a national German identity through uniting the common fairy tales and also (I think) through standardising the language - although I'm not sure if I'm making parts of that up!

Here's the Hans Christian Anderson story: http://scandinavian.wisc.edu/mellor/hca/texts/wildswans.hca.html

Here's the Project Gutenberg eBook for Struwwelpeter: English - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12116/12116-h/12116-h.htm

German - http://www.gasl.org/refbib/Hoffmann__Struwwelpeter.pdf

(The German one might be a bit difficult to read because of the font - both eBooks are scans of an original as it is a picture book and the pictures play a very important role.) Enjoy, and good luck with your German!

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru

The Brothers Grimm were Linguists. They are best known for collecting the folk tales, but their main interest was to study the dialects and the etymology of words and the creation of new words (which German is still famous for ;) ) They assembled a dictionary and wrote several grammar books. I don't know whether they wanted to create some national identity with their work, but they sure did want to study the existing one.

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

They were two brothers. One was more serious about the dictionary and one liked to work on new editions of the fairy tales, sometimes changing details and adding rhymes like "Ruckediku, Blut ist im Schuh!" in Cinderella. He would also turn an evil mother into an evil stepmother here and there to make cruel stories a little less harsh. The original motivation as sakasiru said was to collect old German words which were well preserved in the oral tradition of fairy tales.

Art fairy tales are another matter. "Struwelpeter" was written by Heinrich Hoffman, a psychiatrist. He wrote some more gory stories that seem to be about several mental disorders.

The Grimm dictionary is available online, if you like to trace the etymology of a word.

http://woerterbuchnetz.de/DWB/

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

Ah, I see :) I knew about the evil mother --> stepmother transition, but wasn't sure whereabouts in the history of fairy tales (as a whole) it occurred :)

I was introduced to Struwwelpeter by my sister who studied both art and psychology - I can't remember which discipline got her to read it though.

And thanks for the link! I'm adding it to my bookmarks, hopefully I also remember to make use of it!

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

Ah, okay! I didn't know about the dictionaries and the grammar books, but that's really cool! Thanks :)

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Tuya

Thanks very much for this comment! I thought Hans Christian Anderson was German, but I did know the Grimm brothers were also. I'd love to give them both a read! Thanks for the links.

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EleniaT

No problem :) hope you enjoy!

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Shekychan

I decided it was time for me and the Spanish language to part and go our separate ways. French did not seem appealing coming from Spanish, and thus I ended up flipping a coin on whether to take Russian or German. Und der Rest ist in der Vergangenheit. Ich mag den Ton der Deutsch und es gibt ein Fräulein in meiner Matheklasse, wer lernt Deutsch auch. Damit, Mathematik ist nicht so langweiling jetzt. Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut.

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Schnitzelmeister

Just seeing your german part of the comment made me realise something funny. The first thing almost everybody learns while learning a new language, is how to apologies for not being good at it. I can see mistakes in your sentences but im not going to attempt it today.

viel glück mit deinem sprache lernen

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

thanks for posting. Your German can be understood, no problem. I will give you an uncalled for correction ;)

"Und der Rest ist Geschichte. Ich mag den Klang des Deutschen und es gibt ein Mädchen in meiner Matheklasse, das auch Deutsch lernt. Damit ist Mathematik jetzt nicht mehr so langweilig. Es tut mir leid, dass mein Deutsch nicht so gut ist."

Not so bad at all.

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/igesta

So I decided to go for a post-grad program in Germany (public schools are comparably cheaper there). The school helped me to arrange for a rent in a house nearby for about two semesters. They told me that an old widow lives there alone and that she speaks a little English. I thought, okay, I should be doing fine with no German because she knows English. I was wrong.

Turned out the definition of "little" was very little, like a few words! There was a massive communication barrier between the tenant (me) the landlady. Even knowing that, she was still super duper nice to me. She always invited me over for breakfast every single day and on Sat/Sun, she also invited me for lunch if she's not going out. She lived there alone with two cats and I started to think the reason she accepts students was more because she was lonely and looking for another person to talk to on a daily basis. So I thought maybe one way to pay back her kindness towards me was at the very least trying to learn German so that we can talk to each other more casually.

Everyday, we sit in the kitchen during breakfast while reading together the daily newspaper, Bild Zeitung (das schönste Seite-1-Girl *grin) or listening to some radio music/news. I even played Rummikub with her friend too! I told her stories about my family or what happened in school. She talked more about her family or her past and I learned past tense from these stories too, hehe.. My best friend was "Langenscheidt Schulwörterbuch Englisch", one of the best investment ever made :D

The first two/three months were awful and I didn't know about Duo back then (or may be it didn't even exist yet?) So, she also often corrected my German and taught me some useful words/grammars. Haha, I still remember when I, a 2-week noob German learner, was taught about dative inflection (e.g. die Küche - der Küche) and separable verbs (e.g. auf/zumachen, aus/einschalten). I was like keep asking her why and she just said, "That's the way it is." ;)

And it reminds me, I think I'm gonna send her a nice warm letter, just to keep in touch :)

February 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Rafinchi

I already have a decent English and Portuguese on top of my native Spanish and I want to keep on adding languages to my repertoire. I have some friends in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and friends and even family members married to Germans. Despite all that's said I like how it sounds. It's good for me professionally. I want to end up knowing at least the six mayor Western European (the ones I already mentioned plus French and Italian) languages and I had to pick one. I had already had some exposure to it and knew some words and sentences. Italian was a close second but German just made more sense at this specific point in my life. I may try to move to Germany next year for an internship or something of the like.

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Phillbo

I find the language very logical. There are rules and patterns everywhere and I really like that. I was learning French and German at school, but dropped French. I preferred German partly because of the pronunciation - in French I find it very confusing, whereas in German you tend to pronounce every single letter and it is much simpler. I still learn German at school, and having visited the country a couple of times, I like the culture and hope to become fluent.

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Comradesev

That's something I find easy about the Germanic languages; how you pronounce every word individually. Although, speakers of the Latin languages may find the speech of the Germanic family to be difficult.

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/plusran

I didn't know what I was getting myself into! Haha. I love to learn and have been embarrassed about only speaking one language for ages. Some part of me marveled at the excellence of German engineering, and organization. BMW, for example. I also love Bach, Beethoven, & Mozart. I have some secret hope that learning German will make me think more efficiently, will make my music more profound. It sounds silly to say out loud, but there it is. That's my motivation.

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fenix_vulgaris

hm, languange can have an influence on music in some ways, certainly in songs. Languages with articles result in melodies with more upbeats (German with vs Latin without). Maybe German might help you to keep your mind set on a musical phrase until the very end, because the most important information of long German sentence is always found on the very very end.

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RoryArrowsmith

I chose German because I'm going to live in Germany! That and the fact that my wife is German! It's just not easy to break the habit of speaking English together, especially when my German is so bad. Duolingo has been really helpful so far!

August 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KingshukDebnath

I love Bayern Munich and Germany Football Team

April 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MadeleineGeorge

I am a four year Honors Latin student, but don't take another modern language. My teacher, fluent in German, approached me as I was skimming his German copy of Harry Potter, I had picked it up foreign language looked intriguing to me. He said that he though I wasn't getting enough challenge, and that I should consider learning German, as it is almost a perfect combination of English and Latin grammatically. So far that has been right, and I think because of this background I am finding it much easier to learn than some others. It is also so fun learning another language that people don't really know much about (unlike French, Spanish etc)!

December 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Evido87

I'm fluent in Spanish, English and French. So German always felt like the next logical language to learn. I'm almost 30 and I'm glad I started learning it instead of just keep wondering what it's like.

July 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MrakovicA

I am a native Serbian speaker. So the question is: What is your motivation? For me it is very simple. It is about future jobs.
My first forein language is English and I use it at my work. But when i was looking for the new jobs on the internet, on many places and companies in europe it is necessary knowledge of German language. And I decided to learn German. Now,how more I learn I better like and appreciate German people and their stile. And now I want to visit Germany as soon as the conditions are created.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Icarus02

German culture fascinates me, and it is a dominate language in many academic fields where I find myself hampered by not being able to read in German. In another thought - all languages can be ugly to the ear. Well spoken German is as lovely as any other language.

November 1, 2017
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