Why German is unpopular
My situation is pretty much like an impasse, unlike the Germans. German is easy enough with months of study and your average background in at least one west European language.
I was a bit sad when my parents couldn't talk to my teacher just because they were quite monolingual (but spoke tourist Mandarin and could understand lots of Mandarin without the speaking ability, and my teacher never learned theirs, despite being in the same place for multiple years.
For my parents, any foreign language is difficult. For my teacher, "die chinesische Schrift ist schwer".
This isn't a situation that ESPERANto can solve.
The German situation, with a not very humble German, might be that you struggle with the German because both of you want to speak the language of the other - then at least your have some small talks. In their situation, that's _mute_. No body language (that's too difficult), no words, no sounds. My native language might be fairly difficult, I concede, but I don't believe it's ... un-learnable.
This thread is about German, please moderator close it.
If we take into account English, German, French and Spanish, the most studied World languages, German is the most difficult.
It has three Genders, French and Spanish 2 and English 1.
English, Spanish and French add -s in plural. German is more difficult, etc
If we compare these languages, German is the less spoken (harldy 100 million), and the less widespread (only spoken in Central Europe). In theory is not a World language because is not official in UNO.
German verb conjugation, tense and aspect is much simpler than that of the Romance languages. Its tense and aspect system is even far easier than English.However it's true that the noun morphology is more complex than in any of the other three languages.
Yes, noun morphology is more difficult but if you have studied Latin in the past, it's not that difficult.
"K.T: Have you ever been in the position when you don't want to be used just like a "conversational machine"? If so, what do you do? I'm sick of people in Asia thinking I'm American and trying to get a piece of me..."
I was used as a conversational machine in Japan for English, French and Spanish, lol, and not just by Japanese! It goes with the territory. There are ways to turn it to your advantage, though and there are times when (to be polite) I just put up with it because I've "tortured" others in the process of learning a language.
a. One time encounters on the train (someone fresh from a year in the States wants practice), just let them practice with you. If you want to turn it to your advantage ask them some question you've been wondering about in Japanese.
b. One time encounters (part two) I have met evangelistic buddhists (sg, for example), know of someone who uses his linguistic skills to suggest the Chinese FG (not sure if it is a cult), so why don't you use these opportunites to talk about YOUR faith? It will either get rid of the person or you may make a friend for life. It is to your advantage either way.
c. Regular encounters with one particular person. Decide how it's going to be. Do you want to set aside a time once a week for a language exchange (can be fruitful or annoying) for twenty minutes or so and then insist on Japanese the rest of the time? I know that you can't do this with everyone and some people are persistant and will demand a lot of your time.
d. If it's a social equal, I would be frank and say "I like to speak in Japanese, but I understand you need practice in English, so let's alternate."
Sometimes we have to "gaman" 我慢, but since we all belong to the human race, we have to give and take.
The Germans must simplify their language, especially the noun morphology, so that everyone will start learning it again.
Guessing articles/genders in German is difficult, since it includes a lot of learning by heart, for example das Pferd, die Maus, it's painful to memorize it! Many people never seem to learn it even after 10 years of learning, you sound so foreign, which is unlike Italian/Spanish, you can learn it to very good levels with ease (3-4years to sound like a native).
«Guessing articles/genders in German is difficult, since it includes a lot of learning by heart, for example das Pferd, die Maus, it's painful to memorize it! Many people never seem to learn it even after 10 years of learning, you sound so foreign, which is unlike Italian/Spanish, you can learn it to very good levels with ease (3-4years to sound like a native). »
I think people who learn Dutch have the same.
Het paard (the horse)
De muis (the mouse)
het glas (the glass)
I know several people from other countries who are living more than ten years here and still don't know what gender to use. It's probably the most difficult thing to learn/to know of Dutch and German.
I don't have trouble with the German genders as most of them are the same.
Only I know now:
'Das Auto' (German - neuter)
De auto (Dutch - masculine)
Das Rad (German - neuter)
De fiets (Dutch - masculine and feminine)
And there are just a few others..
Further it's all the same:
Das Haus - Het huis
Das Buch - Het boek
Der Telefon - De telefoon
Die Frau - De vrouw
Der Mann - De man
Das Kind - Het kind
Das Mädchen - Het meisje
Whether German seems "hard" or not is subjective. I wouldn't be surprised if German seems difficult for those who come from certain language families.
Is the pronunuciation HARD for English speakers? No.
Is there a ton of vocabulary and no cognates? No.
Do you have to think about grammar a little bit? Yes.
Are the words too long? They're long, but they're useful and logical.
Strategies for learning the genders of nouns:
a. picture books (I'm not kidding) or a German DUDEN (it's a picture wordbook for adults essentially) and learn the words you commonly use.
b. Take a week and learn about the cases. Use a workbook to practice. Don't worry about other aspects of German that week, just focus on the problem area. Memorize when "Die" becomes "der", etc.
German is geil, but only if you're German. It's true that history has decided Germans to be unique in Western-Europe, having known both communism and nazism. Perhaps speaking the language is like entering a club you cannot easily join, you gotta learn about the German spirit first.
-I think people who learn Dutch have the same. -
Not true, modern Dutch only have 2 genders and not knowing a gender of some words like cow it's not a sin since most Dutch people cannot tell it either (without the use of a dictionary). Yet, in German it's more strict, you cannot use het Pferd, de Maus, de Bruder. in modern Dutch, you have effectively only 2 genders, unless you learn WestFlemish dialects that are one of the last to have 3 genders, but you never learn dialects, even in Antwerp/Ghent you can do fine with only 2 genders/articles.
«Not true, modern Dutch only have 2 genders and not knowing a gender of some words like cow it's not a sin since most Dutch people cannot tell it either (without the use of a dictionary). Yet, in German it's more strict, you cannot use het Pferd, de Maus, de Bruder. in modern Dutch, you have effectively only 2 genders, unless you learn WestFlemish dialects that are one of the last to have 3 genders, but you never learn dialects, even in Antwerp/Ghent you can do fine with only 2 genders/articles. »
Yep, masculine and feminine are usually the same. Only in old books and the bible you'll see the differences between these two clearly.
But whether a word is neuter or not is difficult to know for foreign people it seems..
I oftenly hear people (even Dutchies) using 'de' instead of 'het'. And also I make mistakes.
Some people say 'de huis' or 'de bord'. Which is not correct. Also it's difficult, especially if you're foreign to determine WHY a word is neuter.
The only things where you can find if a word is feminine or masculine is when you say:
De telefoon - 'Hĳ' ligt op de grond
De natuur - De natuur gaat altĳd 'haar' eigen gang
In German it's actually 'das' Telefon.
«In German it's actually 'das' Telefon. »
You're correct. I just looked on the internet for that, but apparently my source wasn't correct. As my own dictionary says it's neuter as well.