ANSWERS: 21
  • Not terribly: In many ways it sounds a lot like English, but the grammar is a little sticky, and pronunciation is a bit more strict. Go ahead and give it a crack!
  • German firstly does not sound anything like English. Completely different. it is a nice language to learn. However like all languages if you do not use it you will lose it.
  • German is a logical language. Once you learn the patterns it is very easy to become fluent. A large percentage of German vocabulary is very similar to English (both languages having a common origin), so that makes it easier too. It has its difficulties, but you can do it. It is a useful language, very good for travel in Europe and is a must for those studying higher levels of disciplines such as history/ sociology/maths.
  • German is a nasty language that will wreck your brain! don't take it lightly! I would not say it is particularly useful for travel outside of germany. Not many people want to learn the language for fun, and most young germans already speak english. There is some really nasty grammar going on with this language. three genders. four cases. no regular plurals. prepositions with very irregular uses. to speak it correctly takes years of hardcore rote learning. most germans i know admit to taking shortcuts. many of the native speakers i asked weren't able to translate letters from the tax office or other bureaucratic letters - which proves how difficult those huge words can get. you have been warned!
  • I think for native English speakers learning German is absolutely impossible. The best you skip it and learn another language.
  • The hardest thing about learning German is remembering the genders assigned to nouns, and the adjective and verb endings associated with them. Other than that, German is very similar to English. I'm semi-fluent in it after 5 or so years of it in school, and I totally slacked off in class.
  • I teach children German - they know nothing about it, and yet manage to learn it. Obviously, a school context is not the best place to learn any language to any degree of fluency, as the curriculum can be quite restrictive, with only a couple of hours a week of German crammed in between all the other subjects. But... if some of my kids can learn enough to order food in Germany, or buy things in shops, then you can do it too!
  • I did not find it extremely hard to learn. But it is not easy either, probably more difficult than English or Spanish. It also depends on what you want to do with the language. If you already know English, it is certainly an advantage for learning German. On the other side, it could also be a hindrance, because when you go to Germany, and you don't speak German very well, many people will try to speak English with you. Wonderful to communicate, but bad for learning German! It is a very useful language, not because of the places where you can use it (there are not so many), but because of the many important works that have been done in that language, in many domains of science and literature. For instance, Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, Albert Einstein, the founder of Relativity have all written in German. The philosophy, literature and music of the German speaking world has been very important for Europe.
  • I think it is basically not a good idea for English speaking people to learn German. I think there is very little need of it and most Germans as stupid they may look, understand English and speak enough English. English is spoken everywhere in the world and German they speak only in Germany and as some other people confirmed to me it is a very nasty language. So I do not see any sense why English speaking ever should invest a lot of time and passion into learning a strange language they will never need. I think it is better if you learn Spanish or French. Although being German I never would suggest to a foreigner to learn German. It is better if they skip it. I can not see any need for it and so it seems to me a very useless investment of energy. We in Germany do not need any foreigners who speak or understand our language.
  • Often, native English speakers find German the easiest (but by no means easy) foreign language to learn. German was taught as one of 5 foreign languages at my school, and I remember that those who studied German had a far firmer grasp of the language and struggled much less than the rest of us who studied other languages. I am hesitant to say it was down to the teachers since the foreign language teachers all taught multiple languages. In terms of should you learn it - that is up to you and what you want from your future. If you are interested in working in Germany then of course it is necessary since companies will operate in that language. Other than that, I think French or Spanish would be better options since they are more widely spoken.
  • Knowing lots of foreigners who speak a very fine German, all of them confirmed to me that German is not at all a difficult and nasty language. I think for those people who are really interested, German can be a very interesting language. Almost 6 or 8 millions of foreigners live here in Germany and I never heard that they complained about German. Most speak it quite well. Those who like it should do it and the others should skip it.
  • The biggest problem for French and native English speakers is the pronounciation. Other nationalities like Italians, Greek or Turkish have it easier.
  • German is absolutely no good idea for a native English speaker. I think it is too complicated for most foreigners and not very useful. Very rarely I ever met a native English speaker who spoke reasonable German. I think people better should learn French or Spanish, if they want to learn another Euopean language. The only people who can speak good German that is the Scottish and Irish. The pronounciation is usually too difficult for most native English speakers and the German grammar stays for most of them a secret for ever.
  • I picked it up in no time. I learnt when i was 10
  • Every language has the potential to be difficult. What makes it hard is your determination, if you are motivated to learn, then it will be a lot easier because you are enjoying it, if you don't like it however, then it will be more difficult. I speak English, natively, and I think German in a sense is very similar to English, it just takes a little more thinking because of all the rules and things to consider in speech. Personally, I would advise, only to learn it if you Like it, and are willing to put in the time to learn it.
  • The actual political tendency in Germany is clearly to retire more and more from international actions in cooperation with foreign countries. The new gvt will have to fulfill the will of an extremely increasing majority and it is clear of course that with an increased retirement the international political influence of Germany will be more inferior as it is already now. The international importance of Germany will go to zero and so the German language will be rather unimportant in the rest of Europe or in the world. This is what most Germans want to have at the commemoration of the 70th year of WW II and in regard of about 12 millions of German citizens who lost their lives also in that war. I think these 12 millions were also something like victims although they were only German.
  • I just want to point out tha´t whenever you are learning a foreign language, you are automatically learning a lot about the culture, manners, history and the outlook on life of the people who speak that foreign language. So you should basically be interested into the foreign culture as a whole. And here I see the biggest and unsurmountable obstacle. In English speaking countries the interest to foreign countries is extremely little because in all English speaking countries people are convinced that their own culture is extremely superior to any other culture and so it is for most people unthinkable to take even notice of foreign culture they regard as extremely inferior. Therefore English speaking people do indeed speak very rarely a foreign language. And so I can understand hat the Britsh society which is regarding the German culture as an inferior culture which is seen on an extremely low level to their own, are basically not interested at all to learn just German. In other English speaking countries it is rather the same and so German will stay a very exotic language to most native English speakers.
  • An interesting contribution about the popular British "Kraut bashing" : Unfortunately it is only in German. http://parapluie.de/archiv/uebertragungen/klischees/
  • In the whole discussion we should draw a clear line between two very important points: The first point is that there are people in America as well as in Britain who are open minded and cosmopolitan that they learn a foreign language and who even learn German by quite different reasons and who usually make quite good experiences if they come to Germany. And each of these foreigners will make the experience that Germans in general show extreme respect to every foreigner who speaks our language and usually it is extremely high appreciated, especilly if the people come from Britain or America. But these open mindd people like dea-ex-machina or Who is She are a real small minority in their countries. The vast and extreme majority in Britain get ther bias from TV and daily media campaigns, called "Kraut bashing" and so I would say about 90 % of the British have a clear hostile attitude towards Germany and Germans, which is deeply supported by a certain Mr Murdoch and his news-papers. The public campaigns in Britain are quite closely watched by the German public and so the Germans in general take notice of these offences with an utmost resignation, knowing that they can not change anything. They have learned to deal with it and so discussions about Britain or America are almost non-existing topics in society because anybody has quite the same opinion. It is not even worth to discuss about that. In Britain it seems to be very fashionable to do "Kraut bashing" and fortunately the German public does not undo with the same methods. Most just try to ignore and our legal system would forbid by prison insults of other people in such a kind of quality. And so you have in your countries a vast majority who thinks and feels different getting backed by the campaigns in the medias and even by the political and leading classes. And my conclusion just was: Why should people, who hate us Germans that much, just learn our language? And as the mainstram in Britain is clearly hostile and anti-german I wonder why children should learn our language at school? To enforce their bias and their hostile feelings? Better let them learn Spanish so that they can use their Spanish when they are on vacation there. Most of the British will steer clear of Germany through all their life and go to any othe country before they would ever dare to step into Germany. So what could be the use for British people to learn German? Our culture is not interesting for most of the British. And so I can not see any sense. A small minority will always think different but they do not need German classes at school as a general institution. The minority would learn German if it is offered at school or not and for most British it is rather an unreasonable demand that they are obliged just to learn German. And in France you have a quite similar situation.
  • Nein. Ja. Lernen Sie es.
  • I'm learning German now and I believe it is relative to other languages. Of course there are difficulties with cases, noun genders, syntax and personal pronouns, but show me a language that doesn't have some difficult aspects. All languages can be difficult for a learner, but none are impossible. If you are dedicated and hard working, it is very possible to speak German like a native....I have met many Irish and even Americans that speak almost perfect German. I say, give it a try and see what you think. Once you get a feel for the language, it will become even easier.

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