German Tenses

Clark   Friday, June 27, 2003, 07:15 GMT
Does anyone know how to make the past tense in German? Whenever I do it, it always comes out like Afrikaans or just plain "bad German."

How close are the tenses in German to English? I mean, when English uses "I 'have seen' " does German use this same configuration?
Simon   Friday, June 27, 2003, 09:11 GMT
If Dutch is like German, it has similar tenses but they are used differently, in a subtle way that can only be learned through constant exposure.
To David Bosh   Friday, June 27, 2003, 11:43 GMT
Please help
Clark   Friday, June 27, 2003, 20:51 GMT
Does anyone know how to make the Genitive case in German? And more specifically, in Pensylvania German or in Pfalzisch/Paelzisch.
Tom   Friday, June 27, 2003, 23:12 GMT
German uses the present perfect tense all the time in contexts where English uses the simple past.

"Ich habe gestern mit diesem Mann gesprochen."
"I talked to this man yesterday."

In German, the present perfect is the general-purpose past tense. The simple past is mainly used with "sein", "haben", irregular verbs and in literary language.

"Die Show war faszinierend." - past simple
"The Show was fascinating."

"Ich hatte einen Traum." - past simple
"I had a dream."

"Ich fand den Film gut" - past simple
"I found the movie good."
Clark   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 00:59 GMT
Thanks Tom. Very helpful indeed. What languages does one learn in school in Poland? English, French, German, Russian, etc...?
Dorian   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 04:43 GMT
My sister in law (Polish) learnt Russian, German and some English at school.
Clark   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 05:05 GMT
If you do not mind me asking, is she "pre-fall of communism" or a "post-fall of communism" person? I ask because I would think that in this day and age, most countries would teach English as the primary second language.

Here are some past tense examples in Pennsylvania German:

the dog it was, that died = der Hund 's war das geschtorwe is
and took our flowers away = daer nemmt unser liewe Blumme
Dorian   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 10:17 GMT
She is 38.
Tom   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 10:30 GMT
In elementary school, I had to learn Russian. That was as late as 1992. After 1989 (Round Table), Russian was no longer compulsory, but many schools had trouble finding English teachers, so it stuck for some time.
I also took private English classes. These were immensely popular; most parents realized the importance of English, and public (state-run) schools did not fill that need.

Today, English is king in schools. German is a distant second.
Fisher   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 19:15 GMT
In Russia English has been the primary language at schools since the beginning of XXth century. I would say about 95% of students learn English. The majority of the rest are split between German, French, and Italian.
Unfortunately, the quality of teaching at ordinary schools is not so good. Probably, that's because they try to teach English as if it was a science, not communication.
Tremmert   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 19:37 GMT
At school (at least in my experience) they teach you to write the exams, not to speak the language.
Kabam   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 21:41 GMT
Yeah, that's the same thing in France. If you want to speak a real fluent English, school's not enough. You have to work on it by yourself. :(
Clark   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 22:19 GMT
In America, the system used primarily throughout the whole country is a student-friendly system, which is based on getting the students involved in the learning process. It is a system based on teaching the grammar and vocabulary through pictures, games, and other things to make the learning fun and not tedious like some our our parents went through learning the Latin declensions. But of course, not every teacher teaches like this (more so in high school), and not every student likes languages like a lot of us here at Antimoon. I would say that if the method used for teaching language in college was used in all of the lower grades, there would be a higher percentage of bilingual people.
abcd   Saturday, June 28, 2003, 22:27 GMT
In France, Foreign languages have been compulsary subjects in primary schools since 90s. Students begin to learn them from grade four and five. The aim is to reduce the age (of beginning) little by little and to start learning them from grade one (6 years) in the long term. English is in first position followed by German, Spanish,....etc.