Is German really so hard? And English so easy?

Jav   Tue May 09, 2006 5:37 pm GMT

No, it's a bit complicated but it's like this.

Dutch has 3 Genders, but 1 common gender for female and male nouns.

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

It's "de koe en haar kalf"

Because "koe" (Cow) is an obvious female word (in Dutch).

* Stier (bull) --> Male cow
* Koe --> female cow
*Rund --> "cow" , you know nothing about the gender of this cow. Plural 'Runderen' would be translated as 'cattle'.

A non obvious example would be:

De vereniging en haar leden.
~The association and its members~
Kennis en haar kracht.
~Knowledge and its power~
Fredrik from Norway   Tue May 09, 2006 5:44 pm GMT
Ok! That makes Ducth a bit complicated!
Ed   Wed May 10, 2006 1:55 pm GMT
> 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) ....

I agree, I started learning German at school and the pronunciation is pretty straightforward compared with French or Afrikaans but the grammar I found devilish. German doesn't seem to have so many diphthongs as Afrikaans which can be difficult to get your tongue round with its aa, aai, ai, ee, eeu, ei, eu, ie, oe, oei, oi, oo, ooi, ou, ui, uu etc, but then it sounds less interesting as a result. I presume the Dutch sounds are fairly similar?
Jav   Wed May 10, 2006 3:24 pm GMT
Yes, somewhat.Here are some Dutch diphthongs

Ed   Wed May 10, 2006 4:34 pm GMT
Are ieuw and eeuw used where ieu and eeu are found in Afrikaans?

For example:

nieu - new
leeu - lion

Ij is almost always replaced by y, eg ys (ice).
Jav   Wed May 10, 2006 8:26 pm GMT
In afrikaans the IJ (that's how it should be written, not "Ij" as it is considered a single letter here) is always replaced with 'y'.

new = nieuw
lion = leeuw

So yes in most cases.
Aquatar   Wed May 10, 2006 9:02 pm GMT

So, do you think, were I to decide to learn Dutch, I would find it more difficult than German. I have to admit, that being a native English speaker and having studied German, I assumed I could learn Dutch fairly easily. And there have been times when I have tried to read stuff written in Dutch and was able to decipher the general meaning fairly easily. Admittedly, I am not talking about any complicated texts though.
Jav   Wed May 10, 2006 9:27 pm GMT
The most difficult part of Dutch is its pronounciation.If you thought German pronounciation was/is hard think twice about learning Dutch.It is one of the hardest languages in terms of pronounciation.

Dutch is not the 'in between language' of German and English.I might look like a mix or hybrid between/of the two, but its not.

The Dutch language is in fact older than German, (and English depending on definition)
Aquatar   Wed May 10, 2006 9:31 pm GMT

OK, but I meant the structure of the language. You said it is not straightforward and has loads of exceptions, so I was referring to that. I don't consider German pronounciation hard, by the way, although mastering the accent is another matter entirely.
Jav   Wed May 10, 2006 9:36 pm GMT
Dutch grammar is not as straightforward as the German one, there are many exceptions and contuary to English and especially German Dutch is full of figurative speech and idiom.

For example,

I'm reading here.

Ich lese hier

Ik zit hier te lezen (Litt. I'm *sitting* here reading)

Dutch grammar is very similar to German but, somewhat less complex as a whole, but like I said the exceptions to rules make it just about as hard.
Aquatar   Wed May 10, 2006 9:48 pm GMT
I think English has a lot of figurative speech and idioms too, doesn't it? I'm not sure that your examples are equivalents of each other. Do you use that construction in Dutch simply to say you are reading. To say 'I'm reading here' in English sounds quite vague. Are you talking about simply stating that you are reading or that you are reading HERE? I'm trying to think about when we would say 'I'm reading here' in English and what comes to mind is if I was quietly reading a book and someone irritated me by interrupting me, and I said 'I'm reading here'.
Jav   Wed May 10, 2006 9:55 pm GMT
In Dutch an answer to the question "What are you doing?" would be "Ik zit te lezen" (I'm reading, but lit. I'm *sitting* reading)
Aquatar   Wed May 10, 2006 9:56 pm GMT
But if you mean, you have to use the word for 'sit' because you are literally sitting there, as opposed to simply saying 'I am', then I understand. German does also in many circumstances specify between whether something is standing/sitting etc, rather than using the verb 'to be' i.e. Die Vase steht auf dem Tisch, whereas in English we'd probably say The vase IS on the table.
Aquatar   Wed May 10, 2006 9:59 pm GMT
OK, so I'm getting pedantic now, but say I was standing on the tube reading (because I couldn't get a seat). Surely I couldn't say 'I'm sitting here reading' then?
suomalainen   Thu May 11, 2006 1:28 pm GMT
you are right, this thread doesn´t have the most suitable title for discussing Finnish.
The case endings are regular in Finnish (with some modifications in Genitiv and Partitiv), in plural you only add in most cases an 'i' or 'j'' before the case ending, but you have to learn two stems for most words, strong and weak, and the rules when they are used (the main rule is whether the next syllable is open or closed - syllable is open when the last sound is a vowel). This makes the language rather mathematic (though it is certainly easier for outsiders to notice this, we are often blind to the structure of our mother tongue because we master it without knowing all rules).