Is German really so hard? And English so easy?

suomalainen   Sat May 06, 2006 12:21 pm GMT
Entschuldigung, ein Druckfehler: schrecklich, nicht *shcrecklich.
Aquatar   Sat May 06, 2006 5:28 pm GMT

Was die Rechtschreibereform betrifft, muß ich zugeben, daß ich ihr bisher wenig Beachtung geschenkt habe. Mir war natürlich schon bewußt, daß es diese Reform gibt, aber ich dachte, es würde sich nur um eine relativ kleinere Zahl der Änderungen handeln. Ich habe nun heute im Internet einen Artikel zu diesem Thema gelesen, und sehe jetzt ein, daß die verlangten Modifikationen eigentlich ziemlich ausführlich sind. Von dem, was ich gelesen habe, würde ich Dir zustimmen, daß die neuen Regeln etwas unlogisch und kompliziert aussehen. Aber zum Glück habe ich auch gelesen, daß nur etwa 19% der Deutschen diese neue Rechtschreibung benutzen!

Na ja, ich muß jetzt weg, ich würde aber gerne dieses Thema weiter besprechen.
Aquatar   Sun May 07, 2006 11:32 am GMT

Thank you for the example. So you are saying that although there are 'only' 15 cases altogether, the word for house can actually take more than 30 different forms? Does this apply to every noun? I have to say Finnish is really looking rather scary now lol. I mean, I find it hard to imagine learning so many different forms for each noun and then also remembering when to use each one.
Aquatar   Sun May 07, 2006 5:02 pm GMT
And how does it work when a new noun is introduced into the Finnish, how are the different forms then arrived at? Is there a regular pattern that is applied? I also imagine this must make it hard for Finnish to absorb words from other languages in their original form, i.e. something like 'computer'
Aquatar   Sun May 07, 2006 5:03 pm GMT
Sorry, I meant Finnish or the Finnish language, not the Finnish.
suomalainen   Mon May 08, 2006 10:46 am GMT
Dear Aquatar,
If you think about English, how many different prepositions are there? It is also hard to learn which preposition is correct in every situation. The cases in Finno-Ugric languages replace largely prepositions. Some of the Finnish cases are rather rare especially in colloquial language, so you don´t really have to manage them all.
The new words are often translated, computer = tietokone (tieto = data, knowledge; kone = machine), or their stem is not changed (like 'auto' = car: auton, autoa, autossa, autosta, autoon etc). Otherwise the new words can follow the pattern of a similar word.
As I said, changes of stem are indeed difficult, perhaps the most difficult single thing in our language.
Finnish words can look rather formidable: 'hedelmöitymättömästä munasolusta' = from an unfertilized egg cell (hedelmä = fruit, hedelmöityä = to become fertilized, hedelmöitymätön = unfertilized).
There are foreigners who have liked learning Finnish because of the logical structure (that resembles mathematics) of the grammar, others think like a German Geography teacher who worked for a while in Helsinki: "Das ist wahnsinnig!"
Bardioc   Mon May 08, 2006 10:57 am GMT
Hallo Aquatar,

hier noch zwei Verweise auf hervorragende Seiten zum Thema Rechtschreibung und Rechtschreibreform: und Erstere bietet aktuelle Information zum Stand der Dinge aus kompetenter Hand: Das Rechtschreibtagebuch Theodor Icklers, letztere gibt Hintergrundinformationen.

>>... aber ich dachte, es würde sich nur um eine relativ kleinere Zahl der Änderungen handeln.<<

Die Reformer haben den Umfang der Änderungen heruntergespielt, um ihr Vorhaben durchzusetzen. Allein diese Vorgehensweise zeigt, daß etwas mit der Reform nicht stimmt.

>>... daß die verlangten Modifikationen eigentlich ziemlich ausführlich sind.<<

Warum sollte man Modifikationen der Rechtschreibung verlangen dürfen? Dies widerspricht doch dem Wesen der Rechtschreibung als einem über die Jahrhunderte gewachsenen schriftlichen Kommunikationsmittel, an dessen Optimierung letztendlich alle, die die Schriftsprache benutzen, mitgewirkt haben. Deshalb bin ich auch gegen eine Veränderung der englischen Orthographie, wie ich das in anderen Threads bereits dargelegt habe.

>>... daß nur etwa 19% der Deutschen diese neue Rechtschreibung benutzen!<<

Das mag sein, aber im öffentlichen Raum ist der Reformschrieb weit verbreitet. Viele meinen, er sei Gesetz -- was nicht richtig ist -- andere halten sie für modern und wollen damit zeigen, daß sie auf dem aktuellsten Stand sind. Dabei ist die sog. ''neue Rechtschreibung'' gar nicht neu, denn sie schreibt Schreibungen vor, die vor hundert und mehr Jahren schon nicht mehr aktuell waren. Außerdem basiert sie auf Ideen aus der Nazizeit, siehe Rustsche Reform. Man hat halt seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg nichts dazugelernt. Das ist das eigentlich Peinliche an der Reform.
Aquatar   Mon May 08, 2006 8:16 pm GMT

So would you say that the system for changing the form of the nouns is reasonably regular, at least for the endings, or are there many irregularities? From the examples you have used of 'house' and 'car', it appears that they undergo similar changes in these cases.

Actually, Finnish is starting to look quite fascinating. You say it has a logical structure, and so does German, so maybe I might like learning it (strangely I hate maths though lol). I think I read somewhere that German was like a puzzle, the more you learn, the more it all fits together. I would agree with that and I think that's what encouraged me with it. Once I had got to grips with the basic structure it did all start to come together. Could you say the same about Finnish?

By the way, maybe we ought to start a new thread here devoted to Finnish ;)
Jav   Mon May 08, 2006 9:02 pm GMT
German has a very straightforward grammar, it's really simple once you get the hang of it. It has very few exceptions to rules compared to ... well let's say my own language Dutch, which has more exceptions than rules ;-)

Also, German pronounciation is a laugh when you get through the Umlauts, it's easy and very mild for your throat unlike (a) certain other language(s) ....

Thing is, that German seems to have this sort of cloak around itself people seem to think it's enormously complicated.Which demotivates people from learning the language.

My idea is that there are 4 sorts of language groups formed by public opinion:

*Languages that are considered easy and usefull.
ie Spanish and English.

*Languages that are (often falsely) regarded as relatively hard to learn but still useful
ie. Latin, Greek and German

*Languages that are too exotic, hard to learn and pretty useless (in an world wide economic way)
*ie Icelandic, Romanian, Dutch, Swahilli etc

*Languages that are largely unknown and/ or unavailable to the main public.
ie.Garhwali, Senoufo,Bosniak and Sardinian.
Aquatar   Mon May 08, 2006 9:46 pm GMT

I don't really know much about Dutch, but I admit I was under the impression it followed a similar grammar and structure to German, except less complex. But then, that could quite possibly mean it is less organised and more tricky in many other ways.

Could you give me an example of some of the exceptions to the rules? Don't worry if you can't, I know English has a lot of exceptions too, but if I was asked to give examples off the top of my head, it would be hard to think of them.
Aquatar   Mon May 08, 2006 10:18 pm GMT
Actually, one example of the irregularities of English did occur to me: You can say, for example 'She is always late without fail'. Why 'fail' in this construction? Fail is a verb. We don't usually use verbs in this way. You wouldn't say 'without do' or without look'. Why not without failure, or at least 'without failing'?
Aquatar   Mon May 08, 2006 10:25 pm GMT
Plus, I really can't imagine this kind of thing happening in German, where it would be ok to use a verb in place of a noun in such a construction. But of course this could just show that I have more to learn about German, what do you think?
Jav   Tue May 09, 2006 9:55 am GMT

Dutch indeed follows a gramatical patern close to German, but somewhat less complex, not much though.the grammar is easier, but all the exceptions make it just as hard really...

An example of exceptions to the rules could be the following:

In german there are 3 genders. (male)der, (femaleZ)die and (neuter)das (and their brothers and sisters in other declensions)

ie, you can see the 'sex' of the word by looking at the article.


Das Haus --> "das", so the word is neuter.
Die Frau --> "Die", so the word is female.
der hahn --> "Der", so the word is male.

There as number of rules the determin it the other way around too, like if the word ends in "ung" the word is female.

In Dutch there are 2 genders, "de" (male and female or common) and "het" (neuter).


Het huis --> "het", so the word is neuter.
De vrouw--> "de", so the word is female, yet a common gender is used.
De haan --> "de", so the word is male, yet a common gender is used.

But! A 3-gender difference is still made!

There are still a number of rules, (almost the same as the german ones) to determin if the words are female or male!

for example, indepently used verb stems are male.

"Laat de slaap zijn werk doen"
"Let the sleep do its work"

de slaap, common gender but male.So 'zijn' (his) needs to be used in order to make the sentence correct!

This is a lot trickier than German, although Dutch makes up for that by using less advanced declensions with the indefinite and definite articles.
Guest   Tue May 09, 2006 9:57 am GMT
>>>> In Dutch there are 2 genders, "de" (male and female or common) and "het" (neuter).

so, <<<<

Should be:

In Dutch there are 3 (!) genders, but 2 forms "de" (male and female or common) and "het" (neuter).

Fredrik from Norway   Tue May 09, 2006 3:02 pm GMT
Isn't male + female gender = common gender?

Are there any cases where you have to know wether a noun is male or female in order to use the right pronoun (apart from the obvious, like "de vrouw en haar kind")?

Is it "de koe en haar kalf" or "de koe en zijn kalf"?