Why you should learn German!
Here are several reasons why you should consider learning this language!
- It's the most common first language in the European Union! You can't go wrong with that!
- Germans are the largest ancestry in the US. Many don't speak German, but that country has a lot of heritage from Germany.
- Great business! With a huge economy and an innovative society, German will open up many high-paying careers!
- The internet is full of German! Did you know that after .com, .de is the most common domain extension?
- The literature. German has rich literature and 10% of books are published in this language!
- It's flexible. One of the reasons German literature is so legendary, the sentence structure can be altered in many ways, this makes for great poetry as well.
- It's fun! Speaking German is really pleasant. The grammar is really rigid but you can have lots of fun with all the cases.
- Cool words. German is famous for it's incredibly long compound words. Haus (house) and Schuh (shoe) combine to make Hausschuh (slipper), this is one of thousands of examples.
- A significant portion of English vocabulary is derived from German. You'll find that lots of your common vocabulary is related to German.
- It's not as hard as you think. It has three genders. Don't let this scare you. In most Duolingo languages, gender is present. They're sort of like 'prefixes' before words, and this is just an extra kind of prefix that doesn't really increase difficulty. I think we should start saying, 'Deutsche Sprache, Leichte Sprache'!
- Cases. German has four cases, this is why sentences can be manipulated so nicely. The difficulty is often exaggerated here; once you get used to it, it comes naturally. "Ich esse den Apfel" and "Den Apfel esse ich" both translate to "I eat the apple" because the case (which is shown in the article) tells us that 'Apfel' is the object. This may happen when one wants to emphasize the apple, in English we would say "I eat the apple" by stressing 'apple'.
- It's phonetic. This is a wonderful part of the German language, the words you see are spelt just the way they sound, there are a few rules and regional dialects but in general, it's all simple.
- Some of the greatest musicians in history are German! Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Handel. You name it!
- A delectable cuisine! Germany and the other German-speaking countries bring us delicious breads like pumpernickel. They bring us pretzels. They bring us tasty Black Forest Cake. Not to mention sauerkraut and schnitzels! Last of these but certainly not least the world-renowned sausages including Bratwurst.
- German-speaking Europe is beautiful. I'll post some pictures below!
It's beautiful, isn't it? Ah, schönes Deutschland...
I hope I have inspired you to learn this wonderful language!
Wir sind aber tatsächlich auch eher ein lautes Volk, würde ich behaupten. Wobei ich selbst als Deutscher auch von der lauten Seite sehr angetan bin. (Schon Mal preußische Kriegsrufe gehört? xP )
But I consider us as a definitely rather loud nation. Though as a German, even the loud side of our language sort of appeals to me. (Have you ever heard prussian warcries? xP )
(A rather stupid example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld43X49rs8A )
Lets not forget how friendly Germans are, I lived in Germany for some time and they are the most genuine people I have ever encounter. It is not a easy language to learn, three years later and I am still learning but it is definitely worth learning and Germany is definitely worth visiting. Plus, if you're a history geek like me this is the icing to the cake.
"Some of the greatest musicians in history are German! Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Handel. You name it!"
This is exactly why I am learning German. As a violinist and pianist planning to go on in music, knowing German will be quite useful. Thanks for such a great post! This got me exciting again about learning German. :D
Your post convinced me to learn German. I had my hesitations, considering that with all the Holocaust study in Israel you only see German as a frightening language, especially in Hitler's speeches and in sentences that a lot of people in Israel know like "Juden raus". But when I started to delve into the language, I was proven wrong. Israel and Germany are good friends now, and the language is beautiful once you get to know it. I'll visit Berlin in 4 months, can't wait :D
Exactly. We shouldn't assume the whole German language is spoken as if through Hitler himself. That was nearly a century ago and Germany is a modern country that has put all of this behind itself. Have a great trip to Berlin, I wish you success in your German endeavors. Lingots to you.
Actually less than seventy years ago. And we still have many Holocaust survivors in our midst. Not only that, the trauma of the Holocaust is passed down through the generations. So good for you that you have put it behind you. But for many of us it is still with us in the present. There are even Alzeihemer and Dementia patients who spend their last years reliving the crimes committed against them during the Holocaust. So please do not try to dismiss it as a minor footnote of ancient history. And I"ll just remind you that at the time of WW2 Germany was a modern country too. Apparently that is no guarantee of anything.
But Germans of today are not responsible for what their ancestors did. While even I had a great grandfather who was an Auschwitz survivor and another great grandfather who was a partisan, I don't blame the current Germans for the atrocities my family has been through. Times have changed, the world becomes more and more modern, and believe me Germany would never become Nazi Germany ever again. We should forgive the German people and Europe as a whole, but never forget what happened, so that it won't happen again.
The holocaust was over 75 years ago. Yes, there are still people who were children at the time who still live. It is true though, that Germany has moved past it. They haven't forgotten about it, of course, they learn about all of that in school and they even have to visit a concentration camp. There are very few neo-nazis and they are not welcome in German society anymore, it's illegal to carry the Swastika in Germany. You can't blame Germans of today because almost every single one of them wishes it never happened, they haven't done anything bad and had nothing to do with it.
I think you can only be truly ashamed of what you did yourself, so there are some older people who are really ashamed, but most younger people are just sensitive for the subject. German society does a lot that the events of that time do not get forgotten; It's a big topic in school, there are a lot of art installations and museums to keep the memory alive, and there are laws to prohibit that such things will happen again. But as time goes by, people forget, things become distant, and antisemitic and anti-foreign slogans can be heard again. Dumbasses exist everywhere in the world, and Germany is not different. So before we pat our backs, there is still a lot of work to do.
oh my I feel so sorry for them reliving the holocaust having Alzheimer!!!! You really got me thinking different now...I have never, ever thought of this becfore, me who like Anne Frank history so much and would love to see her hiding Place. Even though the Queue is many km of waiting in front of the house, I would wait...even though Iæd have to wait there for days :)
I have lived in France, a country that likes to pretend everyone was in the Resistance and forget about a government that collaborated with the Nazis, and Spain, where the government refuses to help people find out where their relatives assassinated by Francoists might be buried with the argument that it's best to forget about the unpleasant events of the past.
Germany has done far more to acknowledge its role in the atrocities of the 1930s-40s. If you visit a concentration camp in Germany on a weekday you will likely find it full of secondary school students; it's part of the school curriculum there to make sure subsequent generations know about the Holocaust.
Indeed Germany was the only country to take responsibility for the Nazi atrocities, even though a lot of other countries were involved as well. It would be obvious to say that in Israel it's part of the school curriculum as well to learn about World War II, the Nazification of Germany, the conquering of Poland, the invasion to the USSR and the downfall of Hitler, this of course with emphasis on Jewish lives during these events, such as lives in Ghettos, Jews in the occupied territories, Kristallnacht, etc. Young Israelis visit "Yad Vashem" museum to learn more about the Holocaust. Unfortunately, from my understating, because of the Nazi regime, Germans are hesitant in feeling proud of their country, well they shouldn't be. They should be proud of the rich and cultural country they had before the world wars, and the thriving country of Germany today, which is one of the world's biggest economies. People today view Germans as hard-working people, and they should feel proud of that.
Acchh, so schön. Ich will da gehen.
I wish I could retain German vocabulary better. I took it for a year, und ich habe alles vergessen. I would absolutely love to be able to read Brothers Grimm and Neverending Story in the original one day, but I don't know. My brain kind of snarls at anything that isn't Latin based these days.
I love the Grimm stories, where would Disney be without them? I can't wait until I can read the tales in their original language. I'm trying to read/translate Rotkäppchen online now, but one day it would be nice to have the stories in one of those ornate bound books or one with illustrations.
Twain was a humorist. His essay on German should be understood accordingly.
I heard lately of a worn and sorely tried American student who used to fly to a certain German word for relief when he could bear up under his aggravations no longer,—the only word in the whole language whose sound was sweet and precious to his ear and healing to his lacerated spirit. This was the word Damit. It was only the sound that helped him, not the meaning; and so, at last, when he learned that the emphasis was not on the first syllable, his only stay and support was gone, and he faded away and died.
Thanks for this post. I'm starting German soon but I've always struggle with the "liking German" thing, I know it also has to do with the fact that I have not had any real approach to the language, culture or people, but your post certainly makes it as a nice introduction for me!
The thing is that I would "LOVE" to speak German, I just don't find the motivation in anything specific like the other languages I'm studying but I'm sure that I'll find it. Because of my career, it is perhaps the most useful language to learn and I really want to study it so I'll try to get an approach =)
I am interested in learning German after I have "mastered" French. When you say German is phonetic, you are saying that a vowel always sounds the same regardless of the consonants it is in between, right? If so, does the way you read German resembles the way you would read English or Spanish?
If I may answer for the OP (who I don't think is here anymore), the way I like to explain it is:
Every letter is pronounced, as opposed to French, where so many letters are silent or nuanced. The vowels do change their sound depending upon the letters they are with. "Phonetic" here means you pretty much pronounce it the way it is spelled in German. I hope this helps!
It's just something you eventually get accustomed to. I personally like the cases and the use of prepositions being different than that of English; I think it stems a lot from liking German so much that lets me see past difficulties. Of course, you have your opinion. In German people say "auf der Welt" which means "on the world", in English we say "in the world" which makes far less sense as we're not actually in the world.
You certainly did inspire me! I was planning to start German someday. I've just started the Italian tree, and was afraid that second language will be too much for me. Now I have to try to learn them both... By the way, how do you guys manage several languages? Try to remember them all? Or maybe just studing whenever you feel like it? I'm really curious, especially when I see people with three languages or more, it's scary!
Anastasia, I know basic German and am now trying to attain fluency. I am also studying French and Spanish. It's been my experience that once you learn one foreign language it's easier to learn others. One of my best friends is Dutch and speaks 5 languages fluently. Learning another language is basically a new way of expressing thoughts and ideas. There are some languages which express things better than our native English. We use foreign phrases all the time. For example "idee fixe" or words like "rendezvous". Knowledge of a foreign language is basically an expansion of one's vocabulary. It might be challenging but not at all scary.
True, once you one foreign language it's easier to learn others... I already have 2 foreign languages besides my native Russian (English and Hebrew), but this is the first time I'm trying to learn 2 new languages at once. It's a little confusing, but I'm getting there :) I was surprised to discover that German is way more simple for me than Italian. My plans are to learn German and Italian and then, maybe, French.
I would recommend to separate them a little bit. Get strong bases in one before starting the other and with that I mean at least pronouns, articles, gender, basic conjugation in present and a little bit of structures. I feel I've managed to be consistent in 3 at the same time (not counting English since is not my first language but I've studied for much longer). Good luck with your trees!
I'm working towards finishing my Italian tree at the moment (still a way to go) but have been thinking about what language I'd like to take on next. Now, since my Father has studied German in school for a couple of years plus the fact that he's actually kind of fond of the language has got me thinking about pursuing the German course next but the fact that I come from a Latin-based language background (Portuguese) and that so far I've only tried my hand at other Latin-based languages lets me guess that it might be a real challenge to try and wrap my head around German phrasal structure. For those of you who already study it and might come from a similar background, how did you break through the differences and how long did it take to get used to a different way of speaking?
Hi psilva00, just seen your post from 3 years ago and was interested in the same question, as a native English speaker who finds it easier to learn Latin-based languages than others. It doesn't look as if you received any answers, but I see you have a streak longer than 3 years so I guess you are still here on Duo. You are clearly good at English so I can suggest you make use of the similarities between English and German, (though you may already have done this by now). I started German a couple of years ago and at first found it quite easy, because the words and the structure seemed similar to English. But then I got stuck! Trying to be accurate with the grammar became just too difficult, and I gave up. I still intend to try again one day!
My main motivation is that the German people I know are so nice, and they speak English so well that I want to make an effort too. Also, just because it IS different from Latin-based languages, and is part of a north-European language group that it would be good to have some ability in. Looks like you finished your Italian tree, and you've got top level on French and Spanish too, congratulations!
Did you know that after .com, .de is the most common domain extension?
I confess that this was a real surprise to me -- I would have expected at least .org to rank higher. When I went looking for some figures, I found that .de actually dropped to third last year, behind .tk of all things! It seems that this is not because Tokelau (population: 1411) has a booming Internet industry, but because they recently decided to make .tk registrations free of charge :-).
The fourth picture with its red marquees shows a delicatessen shop on Konviktstraße 21, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau. It is located in the South-Western part of Germany, near the French border.
You can simply put these pictures into Google Image Search and you will find out, after doing some research using Google Maps or https://www.openstreetmap.org
Whenever I thought of the German language, I thought "Big angry words" and "Hitler language" but I have been proven very wrong in my shallow thinking of the language. In fact, I took a quiz on what language I should learn and I got German! I think I'll actually dedicate to German after I get the hang of Esperanto & Spanish. Thank you for this post!
I love all the pictures! You have definitely motivated me to start my German tree again. I started it a few months ago when I had time off work and I stopped it when then Danish tree came out so I could focus on Danish, which was my preferred choice. I like both languages and cultures, and I was a little worried of trying them both together in case I got confused. Maybe once Danish is a bit more solidified in my mind, I'll pick German up again.
I'm hoping to go to the German speaking part of Switzerland in the near future, so I'm hoping to have more German under my belt for that. I hear Swiss German is very different, but surely Duolingo's German will still help me out, right?
I know a Swiss German speaker. She says that "the [formal] written language is the same, but it is quite different when spoken". You will probably have some trouble with understanding and being understood at first, but with practice you'll get used to the dialect. Du bist -> Du bisch; er ist -> er isch. German on DL will still be a huge help of course.
You sure inspired me, thanks for those wonderful pics!!!! You see, I started one and a half course at School (that was before my mother died and I had to quit. Could not concentrate at all) then I didn't continue. Really want to pick it up again as I have this Nice penpal from Germany, Regensburg. We have been pals since 2004 and have met in Iceland, where I live (well, lived, because i live in Norway now )
I really like to learn some German. My grandmother spoke German and it reminds me of her. When I was a little girl she taught me saying " Was der Mensch sät, das wird er ernten "
Why should you learn German? Well, look at the reasons below and see how many apply to you. If several do, then that's why!
I'm a German-American (though also with a significant percentage of Norwegian, my grandmother was almost full-blood Norwegian [with a little bit of German], but the other ancestors were/are mostly German). Of the surnames/maiden names of the grandparents, ¾ are German. However, I've never lived in Germany, only visited. I was born in Holland in 1986, and my family, while driving through Germany (because the two countries border each other) got into a car accident in Baden-Württemberg in 1987, so I can officially say "I was once in a car accident in the Black Forest in 1987," LOL. I've lived in East Asia (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan) for over 18 years (over half my life). Basically, all the East Asian countries I've lived in could be called "ethnostates." After spending so much time in ethnostates, it makes me curious about my own ethnicity's language and culture...
Here is why I'm learning German, ranked in order of importance:
I've consulted a German immigration lawyer in Germany who has told me that I have a chance of successfully applying for German citizenship either through "citizenship by descent" (because my great-grandfather never naturalized as a US citizen and therefore in theory my grandfather and mom were/are dual citizens) or through Article 14. If I try and apply now, as-is, with my weak German, then my chances are only 20~25%, but if I can raise it to a B1 or B2 level (and jump through a few other hoops, as well), he says my chances will rise to 40%. Getting an EU passport would allow me to work in over 20 different countries without needing a visa. This is by far the most important reason for learning German.
I've had an interest in languages for a long time; I have Japanese at the JLPT N2 level and I graduated from Yonsei University Korean Language Institute in South Korea; I also took Chinese in college and at Hong Kong International School, as well as Spanish in high school. However, none of these languages are my ethnic languages. For me, my "ethnic" languages are German, Norwegian, and maybe Hebrew (1/8th Jewish). After living in East Asia for a long time and seeing people, including the overseas diaspora, take their ethnicities so seriously, I think I should learn at least one of my ethnic languages to at least a B1 level.
I plan to live in Europe in the future, and particularly if I still need to work (assuming I haven't retired by then), a language would be useful. German is an official language in six different countries, which is part of the reason I would choose it and not Norwegian or Hebrew (though that's not to say that if I have lots of free time, I won't eventually study those as well).
Even if I don't live in Germany in the future, I might live in another country with a language that uses cases and/or Germanic vocabulary, etc., for example Iceland. Having learned German will make whichever Germanic/European/grammar-intensive language I learn in the future easier.
I work in the language industry, and studying the grammar of an "old school" Germanic language is helpful to my work. I'm an English teacher in Japan. English is a Germanic language. So is German. If I study things like German cases, it helps me know how to explain things to my students like why we say "I see him" instead of "I see he" or why it's "she's next to me" and not "she's next to I." Many of my students have studied German before, or use German loanword vocabulary in English conversations that they think is English, but is actually German, so I can correct them. Mr. Satō says "I went to the gerende during the winter." I say "Mr. Satō, you made a little mistake, 'gerende' is not an English word, it's from German Gelände; we say 'ski slope' in English."
It helps me connect with the past and my relatives. I have relatives in both Eppingen, Baden-Württemberg and Munich whom (yes, I just used English accusative case, LOL), I've met a few times. Some of my elderly Stateside relatives, for example some who came to my grandmother's funeral last year, are German native speakers who immigrated from Germany after the war (but after several decades, their English is so good, you'd never know). My grandfather returned to Germany/Austria in the '40s, '50s, and '60s; my mom was born in Berlin and my aunt in Austria. Both my grandmother and grandfather, having lived in dem deutschsprachig Welt, could speak it fluently. During my trip to Germany from late 2018-early 2019, I spent Christmas with the relatives in Eppingen. My second-half-cousin-once-removed, Gerd, is a really awesome guy. He rode a bicycle all the way from Germany to Southeast Asia! He has been to China, and spent four months in Thailand (because he injured his eye while scuba diving and had to have surgery there), therefore, we have lots to talk about; we've both "lived" (and had surgery) in Asia.
The culture is interesting and it sounds cool. Though the "sounding cool" part will probably change when I improve (I've passed A1, but my goal is B1 or B2 before applying for citizenship, and if and only if granted citizenship, C1 or C2). My recollection was that Korean and Japanese "sounded cool" when I first started learning them, but now...just ordinary. The culture, however, will continue to be interesting.
While living in Japan, German is a "Western cultural oasis" for me. It's very refreshing after spending the day surrounded by East Asian culture to come home to a pursuit that is closer to "where I came from." My German private tutor and I became good friends, and when I went to Germany, I actually stayed at her house near the border with Poland and met her parents, where they told me great stories, such as when her father ordered his first car in East Germany for 30,000 Ostmarks (several years' salary as an engineer), then waited 18 years for it to be delivered! Here in Japan, we sometimes just hang out and vent about the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe...or talk about video games we both play like Civilization...
I love this post!!!!!!!! There are so many GREAT, AMAZING POINTS! (I'm probably biased because I'm German-American but still!)
I live in the States (DUH! Otherwise I wouldn't be typing up English) but I've traveled to Germany three times. (I'm a teen)
So......... I am probably biased but who cares anyway.....right?