German is hard

Reading German is not proving to be so difficult for me, but speaking and writing it: oh my goodness! Day after day it just does not get easier. There is so much to memorize and so many occasional variations, I feel like I am drowning.

I don't have a question. I just wanted to tell my woes to someone who would understand. Thanks for listening.

August 6, 2013


Yes German is a very complex language. But I think once you hit the mark where you can read and understand it, it's time to do just that, to get a feeling for the language. Your goal is not to juggle with cases and irregular verbs in your mind before you speak, but to have the feeling that what comes out of your mouth is right for whetever reason. So read a lot of books, watch German shows and listen to German radio, and try to put on use what you grasp from that. Write in German forums, talk to German people, everyone will understand when you start with easy sentences, but you will pick up some phrases along the way which you can then use yourself next time, and some day you will stop to think too hard about it and just talk in German.

August 6, 2013

That's very encouraging, sakasiru, even if it's very hard indeed to foresee right now. Thanks.

August 6, 2013

With regard to second languages, Nabokov once remarked, it’s a useful lesson in humility to stumble daily over challenges that a six-year-old native speaker can meet with ease. That is without question true. And I'm sure I stumble more than you do – I have to go over the material again, and again, and again ... but knowing I am opening doors to the rich and wonderful culture for which the German language is the key – that's a pretty good incentive. And we are so fortunate that we have, without charge, this addictive and effective (and occasionally vexxing) language drill system provided by Duolingo. Stick with it Mark, I have been told repeatedly that it will get easier.

August 6, 2013

I completely understand how you feel. Reading German? Not a problem. But writing it? Man, is that difficult. But I think German is such a beautiful and unique language that it will completely pay off in the long run. It will definitely take time to understand it, and a lot more practice than Duolingo can offer, but I know within time I (and you too!) will be able to write and speak it.

Duolingo only reaches about a B1 or B2 level, and you need more practice than that to feel comfortable writing and speaking German (I think) so you should head over to Deutsche Welle and get some extra practice done. Deutsche Welle with Duolingo should leave you feeling confident enough.

Have fun!

(PS. 80 day streak? You've baffled my mind, sir. Amazing.)

August 6, 2013

Welcome to the club, Mark! German requires so much from you, that unless you have very good reason to continue, you'd just give up. It's vocab is second to none, maybe Sanskrit I guess and those cases. Thank goodness that the other germanic languages are grammatically easier. We gotta hang in there. Tschuss!

August 6, 2013

I agree completely; that's why it's best to have, ideally, a formal class along with Duolingo. With Duolingo alone, I would probably have a hell of a time picking up the formal applications of anything new.

August 7, 2013

Thanks everyone for the encouraging words of hope (and frustration), it's always good to know there are others in the same boat!

September 4, 2013

how does it feel now? 1 year on? :)

September 9, 2014

I feel that there is a lot of English in the German lessons.

I can't say what the proportion really is, but it seems to me that in the lessons I'm reading German and writing English more than the other way round. With my background in Dutch, this preponderant emphasis on translation to English made it possible for me to fly through the lessons and to finish the tree, without really learning the material very well.

What this amounts to is that I feel I did a great deal of memorizing, but not a lot of practicing German. For me, memorization without practice does not have a lasting result. So, while my comprehension of German reading has remained high, my ability to construct correct German sentences has fallen off dramatically.

September 10, 2014

Do you feel like that is more true for german than the other languages you have "mastered" with duolingo?

September 10, 2014

Yes, I have felt that in the lessons themselves there's more writing of English than of German , at a higher proportion than other courses. But I strongly doubt that this is really true.

What I do know is that my reading comprehension is far out ahead of my writing ability in German, to a degree not paralleled in other languages, so that practicing translation into English does not give me the work-out that I need to improve where I am weakest.

September 10, 2014

I think you are right, I noticed the same thing but only between spanish and german. I wonder if that is the case. Anytime I have asked anyone at duolingo anything, I have recieved no replies.. haha

September 10, 2014

It did get better by reading the grammar rules for each section and then reviewing. It took a lot of work, and I continued to make mistakes.

I wish that I could say that it's easy now, but after the Dutch-English course came out, followed by the English-Dutch, I've been concentrating on those. I maintain my German tree, reviewing every day, but through relative neglect the answers no longer come instantly to mind. It would need at least a month of concentrated attention to get back to where I was :-( I need to read more than I do.

Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache.

September 9, 2014

I'm with you. My challenges are getting the correct adverbs & prepositions. Sometimes, when I'm at zero hearts with over half the lesson to complete, I'll just restart the lesson rather than risk seeing the dreaded "Verflixt!" on the next error. Either way, it's just more practice.

August 10, 2013

You have my full sympathy. I'm looking around here (on the discussion board) and stumbling over questions that I couldn't answer because I never bothered with German grammar in school. While they were trying to teach us how it works, I always knew how it's right because I read so much but I could never remember all this stuff. I'm so glad I never had to learn German as a foreign language. My tip too: read! Start small, but read as much as you can. You only need vocabulary for reading because all the grammar will happen in your head. And with luck, someday you won't know anymore why something is like it is, you just know. ;-) Good luck!

August 15, 2013

yes i know how u feel ... :) I always have a problem with Pronunciation but if u try hard u can handle it .

September 11, 2013
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