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  5. Do you think German is hard?


Do you think German is hard?

Hi! it's my first day doing german and it's too hard. :( Did you think the same way when you started it?

July 1, 2018


  • 1816

Hi CornCrop,

"Yes, it is too hard" if you put focus on the full language immediately.

"No, it is not hard at all" if you enjoy the journey and discover the language step by step.

I started to learn the language years ago. Slowly. The grammar was complex at first and the words were strange.

Today it seems easy as the grammar is logical and I spent time with the German language minimum 5 Minutes every single day. Now I can use this language even in my work!

Enjoy and keep learning! :)

All the best,



Die, der, das takes a while, as do verbs. But I had motivation, as it's close to English and I'm trying to learn it for history (WWI/WWII) as I'm aiming for a History degree.


On the plus side, many German words are the same or similar to the corresponding English words. And the spelling is MUCH easier than English; if you show me a word in German that I've never seen before, I will be able to pronounce it ( with a dreadful accent) so that it can be understood.
On the minus side, the whole business of der, die, das etc takes a while to get right. But remember, if you say das Hund instead of der Hund, Germans will still know what you mean.
Stick with it! Words cannot express the sheer joy of successfully asking where the toilets are in a foreign language. In fact being able to do that is my definition of being functionally fluent.



"show me a word in German that I've never seen before, I will be able to pronounce it ( with a dreadful accent) so that it can be understood."

Probably 99.9% of words are like this - but there are some exceptions. For example "beinhalten" - it's pronounced with 4 syllables and not 3. Pronounce it correctly and it means "to include", but pronounce it with 3 syllables and it could mean "to hold a leg". :-)


There are also some that are borrowed words and thus pronounced differently, especially those from French, such as Restaurant, Tableau, Cousin, Bonbon, or Friseur.


There are also some that are borrowed words

Also true. Thanks ツ



Fair point; there would be a danger that i pronounced it as though i were holding a leg.
I must try to avoid making sweeping statements- Thank you.


Native here. All I can say it's sometimes hard to explain ;-)


It's hard, but I found it fun to learn... ^^


Well, it was something I really wanted to learn, so tho it was hard at the beginning I'm slowly progressing :-)


Many years ago I tried to learn German and I remembered all the rules and long hours of memorizing. I was about 16 years old then, and today at 57 I am trying again to learn the language. I am so surprised at how much is coming back to me. I think, that is a key element - memorizing stuff. These days I use flash cards that I made. I write down constantly my list of say ten words. I study the card, and write the words over and over. I quiz myself on these words in sentences, by themselves, and by translating with modifier. I think, anything new is hard but then once you reach a certain point it becomes easier - but it will never be easy until it is learned - then everything is easy. Repetition is key to learning anything for us humans.


You can cope with the orthography reform :)))


I found the same thing. I took German and in high school and I fully admit to not being willing to put in the work needed to master it back then. However, since I have started learning it again, I have been surprised at how much I had actually learned and retained. The words don't sound strange me at all and oddly enough, I find myself flashing back to my high school German class (and the guy I was soooo in love with back then). The one phrase I had retained after all of these years was Ich liebe dich.


grammar is very complected but vocabulary isn't too hard


It depends on how much you want to do it! I wanted to learn German and I find it hard but easy because I want to do it.
IMO, it depends on how much you want to learn German.

  • 1537

I started learning German years before Duolingo even existed. I did this precisely because it seemed scary and tough to grasp. We had a great teacher, and I understood things, even found myself wanting more, because others were slow to learn and keeping us a bit back.

In Duolingo, I'm doing more than then, so it's still challenging. The grammar and the long composed words are two big problems, together with the rules for the word order. You have three genders, lots of cases, that change nouns, pronouns, prepositions, adjectives... On the plus side, it's related to English and the Scandinavian languages, which helps.

I think it is a challenging language to learn. So if one can choose a language to learn, they should take that into consideration. I found it the hardest European language to learn so far, and I've studied a few consistently. If someone wants another European language to study, which might be more fun, but also useful, I'd recommend Italian, Spanish or Portuguese. French is good as well, but its grammar and pronunciation are tricky in their own way.

As for German itself, I would strongly advise everyone to go over the indications that Duolingo offers (The light bulb in many of the skills). Both at the beginning of the skill and while gaining crowns for it. At first, they were not in Duolingo's mobile apps, but they added them for German and a few other languages. They also show up nicely in a modern mobile browser, and they can be of great help.


I found it simple at first and then when I got higher on levels it started getting more difficult, there is a lot of words slimier and what I found best is to learn the alphabet. when you learn say the words out loud as well it will improve and help you remember.


I think it's the case for any language. Except for languages not using the alphabet, I suppose.


Take your time in learning German. Build a strong base. When you begin a lesson, there is a light bulb on the right hand side that explains some of the rules. Review the rules from time to time (I still review grammar rules and continue to learn something new). If you have access to a public library, sign out some Pimsleur CDs or Living Language CDs. Also, youtube is a wonderful source of listening to some German so you develop an ear for the language. Best wishes in your German language learning. :)


It's a tough language to start with, but once you get the fundamentals down, I think you'll find it gets a lot easier. :)

Also: When you click on a lesson there are two buttons: One is a key, one is a lightbulb. Click on the lightbulb, and it will take you to a page full of grammar tips etc relating to the material in the lesson. I've found this utterly essential in learning the grammar. :)


Its a bit harder than some languages but if you really want to learn it its worth it.


As someone still constantly needing to practice on the basics of German despite being almost a month in a row into it now, I can assure you that at times, you will want to quit and dismiss German as being too hard. However, I can assure you that everyone learning a different language right now, regardless of how difficult it is or how multilingual they are already, is experiencing or has experienced some sort of plateau like this during their language-learning journey. I STILL think the basic concepts of German are hard and it's been a month since I truly dived into it.

However, I can assure you that the only people who are able to learn another language and join the vast bilingual and multilingual community are those who know this plateau is a natural part of the learning process and seek to overcome it as much as possible through rigorous practice and discipline towards learning the language. If you think the language is hard, you're doing the right thing and you need to merely do what everyone else must do to conquer learning an entire language and persevere! Frankly, knowing you're struggling with this language is a true testament to how committed you are to actually learning this.

Continue practicing German on Duolingo and elsewhere, and keep implementing German into your life in any way possible, and you will soon see the path to becoming bilingual like the majority of the population, all 43%!

Take this from someone learning German right now and nowhere near the path of complete fluency. This language is hard, but with an attitude of commitment and sufficient practice, it WILL be made easier! Viel Glück!


German is said to be hard, but you just need little patience. At first I find it a bit difficult too. ( but that's what makes German interesting to me) Then I tell myself: '' It's just a language - a way germans communicate with other''. After that I search for a blog written in my mother tongue ( Vietnamese ). It's really helpful when i don't understand what is said behind the lightbulbs . So there is always solution to every problem Good luck !!! Best wishes Khánh Ngân .


I found German easy to start, I think it might be because I started learning it in school. In my class, we started with the easy things, like numbers, alphabet, etc, all the stuff you learned the first year you ever started school! Another reason why I find it quite easy and fun is that I love languages, I went into learning german with a lot of enthusiasm.

On a whole, I find languages easy to pick up, and I learn things quite fast, German really was no different.

I might just be a special case though, since from my German class last year there were 30 of us, and this year there are only 7!


I think that it's difficult for everyone when they first start learning a new language. I've been learning German off and on here on Duolingo for about three years (as you can tell by my low score, I have a bad habit of restarting the course). I struggled with it when I tried learning it here on Duolingo because I wasn't really willing to put it in the time that was required to learn a new language. I originally thought that German was too hard of a language, until I started taking German in High School.

Once I started taking German in High School, I realized that to really get this language down and to learn it, I must be willing to take the time to memorize the rules that go with the language. I can't stress enough how necessary it is to learn sentence structure, verb endings, and the gender of nouns. If you don't do your best to memorize these things in the beginning, it will hurt you as you try to advance in learning the language.

That being said, yes German is difficult. But if you spend just about 5 to 10 minutes a day on lessons, and spend some time learning the gender of nouns, verb endings, and how to properly build a sentence in German, then it will become a lot easier!

I wish you the best of luck on your journey of learning German! :)


Luckily I speak Dutch, so it's easier to recognize the words ...


I started German course when I was 14 and i kind of enjoy it. for me, remembering about nouns are easy and also hard part. i can named the object but even until now i still confuse about die, der, das cause i don't know how can object related to gender. But i think it will be easier if you practice more. you will eventually get used to it. keep learning CornCrop:)


The trick for that, is to learn the gender at the same time as you learn the noun, der Hund, das Pferd, etc..


I found it hard at the beginning too, but - as with most things - it gets easier with practice. Keep at it!


German is English's older sister. It is the easiest lang. to learn from English. If you struggle with German or Dutch, you are not going to get far with other languages.

  • 1537

Sorry, but this doesn't stand under closer scrutiny. If we're talking about Germanic languages, the implication is the other way around: if you know one of them, like German, English should be a breeze to learn. The reverse is not necessarily true.

I'm a proficiency level-certified English speaker, yet I find German harder than most languages I've studied.

Speaking from first-hand experience, I found Danish easier to learn than German, even though I spent less time with it. Yes, the pronunciation is a pain point, but overall, it has a much simpler grammar, and long composed words as the exception rather than the rule. I'd wager that Swedish and Norwegian would give the same experience.


I thought it was very easy at the beginning but then it got hard, easy again, and now it’s hard.


Not really its way easier than Chinese and Russian and polish.


Definitely a change from English! Die, der and das are always confusing but you get used to remembering to check them in relation to m/f and using capitals for nouns :D don't give up!


Guten Abend CornCrop. Nothing is impossible. You can do it, Just bite off a bit each day and you will reach your goal. No negative thinking.


As far as languages go, I believe its one of the easiest for a native english speaker to learn. If this is your first language you're trying to teach yourself you picked a great place to start :D


Every language is hard. For me German is just as hard as English, not so hard as everyone always make you think it is.


nothing easy when you first start out but keep practicing and take it slow and have fun.


Thank You :-)


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