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https://www.duolingo.com/AFLDJthefunone

The Beautiful Language

We're all learning Dutch. I think it is very beautiful and pleasing to the ear, which is not how I feel about German. They're very similar, so I was wondering what I didn't like about German that I felt was gone in Dutch. Let's compare some words:

Turtle is Schildpad in Dutch, but Schildkrote in German. "krote" seems to give off more aggresive vibes than "pad".

Strawberry is Aardbei in Dutch, but Erdbeere in German. The "bei" in Dutch sounds very melodic, which I don't think the "beere" does.

Man is Man in Dutch, but Mann in German. The extended n makes an aggressive consonant more aggressive. (Just personal feeling, might not be aggressive to some)

I'm not trying to downplay German, as it is a beautiful language in other ways, but I just wanted to share with you some differences and why you might prefer one over the other. Hope I gave you some information!

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4 months ago
107

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchCamille

These are quite interesting !

IMHO, I think all languages like German, Dutch, and Danish are very hard on the ears. Dutch is a little less guttural than german though.

My polyglot friend (7 languages !) is native Dutch, and talks about how guttural they both are. Dutch is a step up.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax
Hermesianax
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Dutch less guttural than German? Unless you are talking about the accents of the Southern Netherlands and Flanders which use the zachte g, "soft g", I don't think you could consider the Dutch spoken in the Randstad as anything else than guttural.

Flemish is beautiful though, much softer than the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands.

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Reply14 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ofred19
ofred19
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I mean, there's really not any semblance of an argument here. You're making declarations, but not supporting them with any kind of evidence aside from "it just sounds better to me," which is tautological.

To my preference, I find German to be much more pleasing to the ears. [g] being expressed as a velar sound in Dutch is a bit too harsh for me, both for listening and speaking, particularly when the past participial is formed with the prefix ge-, meaning that sound pops up all over the place in the language. Plus, German has this very sing-songy trochaic cadence to it that I enjoy. Also I think case systems are just the neatest, and German has retained far more of the Proto-Germanic case system than Dutch has.

As to the guttural bits, which I assume we're defining as sounds in the back of the throat: Dutch has a voiced glottal fricative (German's is unvoiced, i.e. /h/) and one more velar/uvular fricative than German does. They both have the same number of back-vowels. Dutch is pretty demonstrably a more back-oriented language. Again, particularly considering [g] is expressed as a velar, back-of-throat sounds pop up all over the place in Dutch, as opposed to German where you really only see the back-of-throat fricatives popping up with [r] in some contexts, with [ch], and with [h], and if the uvular r is how we're defining "guttural", then we'd have to call French a guttural language too.

Pick what you want for whatever reason you want. But pretending that your personal aesthetics have any kind of objectivity is rather of silly.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax
Hermesianax
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and if the uvular r is how we're defining "guttural", then we'd have to call French a guttural language too.

Exactly! Whereas most people would consider that a soft and beautiful language more so because they have been accustomed to the idea of French being "the language of love" rather than an actual judgement of the way the language sounds.

I think the idea of German being a harsh language comes more from the image created during WOII: an image of enemy German soldiers, angry and shouting, and of the fierce and shouting speeches of Adolf Hitler. Yet when I read Goethe, that's absolutely not the vibe I get from the German language.

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Reply14 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ofred19
ofred19
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Indeed. I don't really think there are any Western Indo-European languages which I would consider "guttural" in an objective sense: no ejectives, no laryngeals, only a handful of uvular or velar fricatives. It's a far cry from, e.g. the Semitic languages, which exhibit a far more robust inventory of epiglottal, glottal, and uvular sounds.

2
Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AFLDJthefunone

Here's a bit of a more technical reasoning as to why I prefer Dutch (I am not in any way saying that Dutch is better, as I hope I made clear in the OP):

The "pf" sound in German kind of makes me shudder - it's supposed to be a soft sound, (I think) but it comes across as rough to my ears. I know that this isn't what it really is, but I feel like sometimes my ears change the way sounds are supposed to be portrayed. Like the "pf" sound, my view of the "sch" and "g" sounds in Dutch is somewhat twisted.. in Dutch, it seems to me that they flow with the rest of the words and sentences and are slightly relaxing, but somehow they don't do that to me with Dutch. As I said before, it's all a matter of personal taste.

Also, from the videos I've listened to, while there are fewer guttural and back-of-the-mouth sounds, they appear more often in German than they do in Dutch. To add on, I think of French as guttural as it is displeasing to my ear, so I agree with that statement.

@Hermesianax That might be one of the reasons. Due to... history, my family is more against him than most people. But mainly it's just the fact (I think) that my mom planted an image in my head that German sounds harsh and vicious and is horrible, and that might have some influence on my preference.

I, personally, only know like 50 words in German because they're the same as in Dutch, so who am I to say German is rough?

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dutchesse722
Dutchesse722
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Oh please!!! @Bunniment is giving her opinion as to why she finds certain words sound better in Dutch than in German. She clearly states: "I'm not trying to downplay German, as it is a beautiful language in other ways, but I just wanted to share with you some differences and why you might prefer one over the other." By the way, you're doing the exact same thing: "To my preference, I find German to be much more pleasing to the ears. [g] being expressed as a velar sound in Dutch is a bit too harsh for me,..." blah, blah, blah. That's your opinion, not evidence.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax
Hermesianax
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I disagree, ofred offers more precise details on why he thinks German is more pleasing to the ear, while Bunniment is talking is more vague terms. Both are entitled to their opinions, of course.

I don't really understand why you're getting angry with someone who wants to engage in a more profound discussion and provokes the OP to offer more detailed argumentation why they have the opinions they profess. Opinions should be respected, yes, but I see nothing in ofred's answer that could be considered disrepectful. Disagreement does not equal disrespect.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dutchesse722
Dutchesse722
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Exactly, "Both are entitled to their opinions, of course." I was merely pointing out that ofred19's post contains just as much opinion, if not more, than Bunniment's original post, rather than factual evidence. I do see several statements in ofred19's post that indicate disrespect: "I mean, there's really not any semblance of an argument here. You're making declarations, but not supporting them with any kind of evidence aside from "it just sounds better to me," which is tautological." And "But pretending that your personal aesthetics have any kind of objectivity is rather of silly."

Also, this is obviously your opinion: "I don't think you could consider the Dutch spoken in the Randstad as anything else than guttural," but one I take offense with.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax
Hermesianax
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You're quite quick to take offence, Dutchesse. If you want to take it as an insult when someone says a language sounds guttural or harsh, that's your own interpretation. When I make the statement that Arabic and Hebrew are guttural sounding languages, I am not saying they are ugly, right? It's an observation based on the amount of velar/guttural sounds in these languages. One can even like these languages because of these sounds. Yet when someone says Dutch is more guttural than (standard/high) German - a context of the discussion you seem to ignore - that's just simply not true. Not according to my opinion, but demonstrably so.

And yes, both Bunniment and ofred are expressing their opinion, but like I said, ofred was doing so in more precise terms and seemed to want to engage in a discussion on this topic. Admittedly, his initial statement was kind of direct, but Bunniment responded very elegantly with a more detailed and fleshed out reasoning as to why he/she prefers this linguistic aspects over the other. A quite civil discussion, in my view.

The reason why I am reacting so strongly to you is because I think it's not good to brush aside every critical remark as 'disrespectful'. I think users are grown-up and capable enough to respond to critical remarks, there's no need to police around whenever you deem something to be offensive or disrespectful according to your own taste. Even more so because this is the Dutch part of the forum, and everyone who has the intent to visit the Netherlands sometime should be aware of the infamous directness of the Dutch ;-)

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dutchesse722
Dutchesse722
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You're the one who used the word "disrespectful" initially, not me. Besides, why are you responding for ofred19? My initial post was in response to ofred19's post to Bunniment. I have no idea why you felt the need to respond for him/her.

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4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax
Hermesianax
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@Dutchesse I'm responding to the way you reacted rather than answering in name of ofred. I think it's rather ironic that you are now arguing that I shouldn't interfere in an argument between two people when that's more or less what you did in the first place. Besides, I'm also responding to you saying that I somehow made an 'offensive' remark.

And it's true, I initially used the terms 'disrespect/disrespectful' in interpretation of why you started your reaction with the indignant "Oh please!!!". An interpretation you seemed to confirm when you argued in response that several of ofred's statements indicated disrespect.

This has turned into the thing I try to avoid on these forums, namely bickering over what people should and shouldn't say, so I'm sorry for that.

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4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ofred19
ofred19
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Yes, I was offering my opinion, that was precisely my point in doing so: to demonstrate that Bunniment's post didn't represent any kind of definitive or objective assessment of the two languages, but rather their own personal aesthetics. The exact opposite of Bunniment's conclusion can easily and credibly be offered. This is why I emphasize repeatedly in the post that it is my opinion ("to my preference," "to me," "I find," "that I enjoy," etc.) That being said, in his OP the arguments advanced were lacking in specifics: "Schildkrote sounds worse than schildpad because it sounds worse" is an unhelpful and circular argument. They specified in a much more contributing way in a subsequent post, and that was much appreciated.

The opening statement of the OP did stipulate that this was merely an opinion from Bunniment as to why they preferred Dutch to German (despite not really knowing any German...?), but the closing sentence "why you might prefer one [implying Dutch] over the other [implying German]," seems to occupy a position of relative objectivity, and that was primarily the statement I was responding to. The main thrust of my post, ultimately was that you should learn the language you want, but that making an ex post facto justification for why you chose one over the other, and then offering that as reasoning for why others should choose that one of the other seems rather misguided.

The back-half of the post was more objective, but that was directly in response to the statement FrenchCamille made regarding German being more guttural than Dutch. Which, again, based on inventory alone would appear to be false. I could support that with a word/sound frequency analysis, but that's not something I'm particularly interested in doing.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JulesF.

As a native Dutch, I always appreciate it that people like our language. I really understand what you mean. German doesn't sound very soft or nice, almost aggressive (like you said). However, I think it sounds very "derpy" compared to other languages. e.g.: when translating English movie titles to Dutch. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone would literally be: "Harry Potter en de Filosofen steen". Like I said, it sounds a bit derpy. Luckily, they have translated it to "Harry Potter en de steen der wijzen". Which sounds a bit better, because it's not literally translated.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/F1shlegs
F1shlegs
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Thanks for the laugh! I agree that it can sound a bit "derpy" but I find that cute and charming.

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Reply4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChikaraGuy

Interessant. Ik denk dat beiden goede en slechte dingen over hen hebben. Dus ik kan niets zeggen.

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Reply4 months ago