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My first real attempt in written German.

You may say and think ‘what does this have to do with Duo’ [what i am writing below] but if you think about it Duo’s levels provide you with usually just ‘one’ or ‘two’ language sentences, and then asks you to form it into another language and then see if you have got to the correct structure. And in my own ‘way’ i believe i am showing you ‘below’ just the same way of doing it, and how hard it can be, [for me anyway] without a full knowledge of a specific language. Its no more than that, i hope you can see ‘that’ for yourself.

Note: below is my English version, then my attempt in German from memory and the dictionary. Then how the computer translator said it was.


My name is Robert, i live in a small town on the north Norfolk coast in England.

Today is my fifty-third birthday, honestly!!

I live alone. I like Music and Astrology.

I have a German friend who lives in southern Germany, we have known each other for thirty-five years.

Although i have studied German for many years i have not taken it seriously until recently.

So, as i said this is unbelievably my first real attempt to write in German.

Is this a bad attempt? Let me know!!

MY GERMAN VERSION, [and no umlauts on my computer, sorry].

Mein erste versuch in Deutsch schreiben.

Mein Name ist Robert, ich wohne in eines kleines Stadt auf dem Nord Norfolk Kust in England.

Heute ist mein dreiundfunfzigste geburtstag, ehrlich!!

Ich wohne alleine. Ich mag Musik und Astrologie.

Ich habe einen Deutschen Freunden wem wohnte aus Sud Deutschland, wir haben fur funfunddreizig jahren einander kennen.

Obwohl ich habe Deutsch viele jahre studiere, ich habe nicht bis vor kurzem ernst nehmen.

So, wie ich sagte, das ist unglaublich mein erste eigentlich versuch zu schreibt auf Deutsch.

Ist das ein schlecht versuch? Lass mir kenne!!


Mein erster Versuch in geschriebenem Deutsch.

Mein Name ist Robert, ich wohne in einer kleinen Stadt an der Nordküste von Norfolk in England.

Heute ist mein dreiundfünfzigster Geburtstag, ehrlich !!

Ich lebe alleine. Ich mag Musik und Astrologie.

Ich habe einen deutschen Freund, der in Süddeutschland lebt, wir kennen uns seit fünfunddreißig Jahren.

Obwohl ich viele Jahre Deutsch gelernt habe, habe ich es bis vor kurzem nicht ernst genommen.

Also, wie gesagt, das ist unglaublich mein erster wirklicher Versuch, auf Deutsch zu schreiben.

Ist das ein schlechter Versuch? Gib mir Bescheid!!

Note: [on how i felt i did], i see i should’ve used ‘lebe’ and some more past tenses in my writing at the very least; and my word order was bad too.

P.S. Let me know = Gib mir Bescheid!! – who would’ve thought that was the ‘translation’ [not me]!!

But it’s the trying at writing that counts, isn’t it? because it’s a fear that many a learner of languages has, s/he just doesn’t want to attempt it too early, but has to be done at some stage.

June 27, 2018



First, congratulations :)

Second, bear in mind I'm not a native German speaker. Hope I can help with a few corrections :)

I feel the German would prefer "Ich heiße Robert" ("Mein Name ist" is in no way incorrect, simply less idiomatic).
"Ich wohne in einer kleinen Stadt" : "Stadt" feminine, and since you use a locative, it has to be dative, so the indefinite article take the significant "-er" ending, and the adjective the standard "-en".
Personal preference here, I would put a "ich lebe" rather than "ich wohne", since the town is small, and you probably not only have your lodging there.
"die Küste" is also feminine, so the dative will be "der Küste", and I sense your translator program should be right in compounding it with "Nord".
And you should be more than alright with "an der Nordküste Englands. (An not auf, because prepositions are always tricky).
Definitively "Ich lebe allein(e)". (Seems that "alleine" is slightly less formal, so less acceptable in written form.)

"Einen deutschen Freund, der": masculine singular subject pronoun for a relative subordinate clause.
"wir kennen uns seit fünfunddreißig Jahren": again, your program ist quite good.
"ich habe studiert", "ich habe genommen" (those past participles ;p)
And "ich habe es nicht ernst genommen"

Don't forget to capitalize your nouns, and on the contrary you don't have to capitalize adjectives, even nationality ones.

I'm surely far from perfect, but please take my contribution as an encouragement. You're definitively on the right path :)


Oh! Und alles gute zum Geburtstag!


Vabelie, thank you. I have lots to think about here, so i will re-read your comment and perhaps comment again later.


Feel free :)

And thank you Mia, a native's imput is invaluable.


Hi Robert,

congratulations from me, too! Even if your own attempt sounds a bit weired, Germans would completely understand what you want to say.

If you want to improve, here are some comments (from a native speaker):

  • Ich heiße... and Mein Name ist... could be used both - choose whatever you like more. It's just a matter of preference.

  • Is this a bad attempt? Let me know! - a more similar translation for that might be: Lass es mich wissen, ob das ein schlechter Versuch ist!. But Gib mir Bescheid is used more often (e.g. Gib mir bitte Bescheid, ob du kommen kannst.)

The computer software translation sounds quite correct. So you could use this to compare with what you came up with and ask dedicated questions about details you don't understand.


Hallo Mia. In Duo and books i learned Ich heiße = i am called, but as i wasn't speaking to 'any' one person inparticular 'here' in this discussion, i thought it best to use Mein Name ist.

I take your point on... ... Lass es mich wissen, ob das ein schlechter Versuch ist! compared to the more often used, Gib mir bitte Bescheid, ob du kommen kannst.

A Native speaker will always have the inside track on their own language, but i will accept tips and knowledge from all who wish to contribute to 'good' learning.

Vielen dank.


I suppose the first thing anyone learning German from English should be told is 'it is not structured in the same way' and you will have to get used to doing it that way. So, tough cheese, that's just how it is!!


Grammar in German in something i have not yet mastered, or really even got into my head correctly, but we are 'lost' without the correct way of speaking or writing. I need to study a lot more that is obvious, but books can only help you so much!! You, as a person need to make the grammatical rules 'apply' or 'stick' in your own head or 'you are on a road to nowhere' in some sense, that is clear to me.


Hi Robert, I'm learning German too! Incase you dont know, you can use an e after vowels to signal an umlaut, ü = ue etc

You can also use ASCII codes to use Umlauts although its a bit slow. Alt + 132 = ä Alt + 142 = Ä Alt + 148 = ö Alt + 153 = Ö Alt + 129 = ü Alt + 154 = Ü Alt + 225 = ß

Alternatively you can change your keyboard input to German (and Google a German keyboard layout to see where the keys are)

  • Jamie :-)


You know Jamie, i’ve never really used shortcuts before, but i’ll try those you have suggested. Also, i will see if Duo accepts the ue, ae and oe in place of ü ä and ö on the skill tree, as i’ve never tried doing that before. Yes, i know about Asc II as i have it in the symbols part of my ‘office’ programme. Although it is a bit long-handed to do it that way. Finally: it is good to hear from another German language learner, so thanks for taking the time to comment.


Now a joke: here is the 'case' [a Head-case] ha ha.

I think of the German 'cases' as N for Nominative, A for Accusative, G for Genitive and D for Dative as the Acronym N-A-G [GE]-D as it always nags at me, what endings i should put on the stem of a word.

Yes, i know, it is a bad joke; not even a joke really, oh well, macht nichts !!


Well, my personal method to deal with these beasts is to give them personality: Nominative is a teddy bear (Nounours in my native French), so it's brown, and everything related to it is brown too. Accusative is a light blue Angel, Dative a poison green count Dracula, and Genitive a navy blue General.
By picturing the character acting out what the case is supposed to represent, everything seems suddently much more manageable. For exemple Dracula follows me in a dark street, but also helps me with my fear of death, and so I thank him: those verbs and those prepositions all demand the dative case. So, in my system, they also are visually acid green. Can you imagine how much easier it is to remember?
Have your own little scenarios, with your own actors if mine don't suit you, and I promise everything will get better ;)


Precision: here "in" will indeed take dative, as all the action takes place in the same street, but it is a two-way preposition. Aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu are the main ones always green and vampiric ;p


Wow, you have really given this some thought. Its a bit beyond my imagination at this present moment, but it is still worth thinking about later, [that is] colour-coding certain words and with 'meaning's'.

I will think about creating my own little scenario's Vabelie, your own [like acid green] must suit your view on datives, i think.

I liked your comments a lot.

Thank you, and i now know you are French too. Well you said your native French, so i hope that is correct?


Absolutely correct Robert :) Does it show that I love languages? Thanks to Duo, I do feel for the first time I'll have a real grasp of German, and maybe one or two more languages. Such a great site!

And don't think to much of it, I actually like all cases, I only relied on initials, then chose a color to match the character :) It really helps me, though, the colors in an emergency, as I tend to remember the color I've written everything in while learning, and the scenario are more long term memorisation, deeper learning, as my brain seems to like narration a lot.

Well, I will give you my secret: it all began with this genius method that relieved the nightmare of name genders

Then I figured out the same path could be followed for the dreaded cases. And voilà ;p


Hey, that said, the vampiric dative is oddly appropriate, as it's currently crushing genitive into near non existence in contemporary German: am I not a clever little witch? :D


Hallo, i looked at the page and it will help me, i know it will. Danke.


Yes, it does show that you love languages. But why have level 25 in French if you are French, that i don't quite understand. Meaning; its like me having level 25 in English. Explain that, if you would like to? that is!!


Hallo, Robert! The mystery is really not that big, I simply completed the reverse tree (German for French speakers) as a sort of "advanced course" after the direct one, then laddered from English :) And now I'm leveling up my crowns in all three trees, it's still giving me a run for my money!

I can't recommend you enough to try a reverse tree when the one you currently work on starts to be boring. Not only is it refreshing and a little more challenging, but a good deal of vocabulary is different. Never regretted for a minute :)


Hallo, Vabelie! Thanks for your explanation, i will look at reverse trees later. Yes, Duo does give us a run for our money, ha ha.

At the moment the way i am working in Duo ist nicht langweilig. But a different challenge sounds like it could be for me, i'll see how it goes in der Zukunft.


I do not want to correct it as there are others who could do so better than me, however I want to congratulate you!


Thank you. You may be right, others 'could' do so much better than you, but don't let that stop you if you think you may have a good point to make.


My final comment: i think i've exhausted this point now and was very happy with the contributions made by all who participated. So, thanks to all.

More discussions on German will follow, and maybe quite soon.

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