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verb placement strange for a non-native german speaker

Doesn't it bother germans to have to wait til the end of a sentence to read the verb? Or do they "cheat" and glance ahead? Example from a translation I was working on: "Ich habe mal vor ein paar Jahren eine Grußkarte zu Weihnachten mit Langzeitbelichtung und einer Wunderkerze gemacht."

May 8, 2012



This is a notorious feature even of spoken German. It makes life very difficult for translators trying top provide simultaneous translation of spoken proceedings, because they often cannot begin the English version of a sentence until the verb at the end of the German one has been revealed.


My non-native german speaker friends and I have a theory, and that is, that due to this characteristic, Germans do learn to patiently wait for you to finish your sentence before making any comment, as a consequence, you will rarely be interrupted by a native german speaker during any conversation... So no, I don't think it bothers them to have to wait.

One do gets used to it by the way.


Classic Twain:

"There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech -- not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary -- six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam -- that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it -- after which comes the VERB, and you find out for the first time what the man has been talking about; and after the verb -- merely by way of ornament, as far as I can make out -- the writer shovels in "haben sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden sein," or words to that effect, and the monument is finished. I suppose that this closing hurrah is in the nature of the flourish to a man's signature -- not necessary, but pretty. German books are easy enough to read when you hold them before the looking-glass or stand on your head -- so as to reverse the construction -- but I think that to learn to read and understand a German newspaper is a thing which must always remain an impossibility to a foreigner."



I am amused! Good to hear I can get used to it.


Now I am EXTRA amused! Haha!! Thanks for that


Not an easy life for a writer or speaker too. While crafting a sentence you often forget who is doing what halfway through. The solution is easy: make your sentences long enough so the reader/listener forgets it as well.

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