Johnny asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 2 months ago

How hard is learning German?

4 Answers

  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    For the AVERAGE native speaker of English? It takes some work but it's quite feasible. It can be done in third of the time you'd need for Korean, Japanese, Arabic or any type of Chinese.

    If you want to go study at a german university, there are programs you can do in one year

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  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    1. Learning any foreign language is difficult.  There are only degrees of difficulty.

    2. The American Foreign Service Institute has classified many of the world's languages into five difficulty levels, for English speakers learning a first foreign language.  The main criterion is the number of study hours needed to reach competency (not fluency).   

    3. Level I languages require 575-600 hours of study.  German is the only language in level II, requiring 750 hours.  It's a little more difficult than level I languages.   Level V, the hardest level, requires 2200 hours of study. 

    4. Although English and German both evolved from Proto-Germanic (actualy from Proto-West-Germanic), they changed at different rates.  German is still fairly inflected.  English, by contrast, is very mildly inflected. 

    5. Although most basic English words are Germanic (not German, but Germanic.  English does not come from German.  The two languages have a fairly recent common ancestor). those related words are not always obvious, especially in the spoken languages.   

    6. Most advanced English words, of 5 letters or more, come from Old French or from Latin directly.  Most German words are Germanic in origin. 

    7.  a brief comparison of grammatical features:

    a. English nouns have two grammatical cases: common & possessive.   Most English personal pronouns have two different ones: subjective & objective.  All German nouns have four cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative.  Most pronouns, personal or otherwise, have three of those (most do not have a genitive form in modern German). 

    b. English does not have grammatical gender at all (but it does have words that reflect physical sex).  German has three gr. genders: masculine, feminine, neuter.  It also has some words that reflect physical sex (but those words still have one of those three grammatical genders). 

    c. Most English nouns form plurals by adding -s or -es.  Other patterns exist, but they are irregular (fairly rare). German nouns have many regular patterns of forming plurals.  None of them are rare enough to be considered irregular.

    d. German adjectives directly modifying a noun, including determiners, change form according to the number, gender, and case of that noun.  Attributive adjectives have three declination patterns, based on which determiner is also used or a lack thereof.  English nouns do not change form due to number or case (or gender, which English doesn't have). 

    e. Basic English word order is SVO (subject-verb-object).  For questions, the verb comes before the subject.  If there is a question word, it comes first.   Although word orders occur in specific situations.   Basic German word order for main clauses is V2, meaning that the conjugated verb is the second element.  That means that SVO, OVS, and (something else)-VSO also occur.  Word orders other than SVO often emphasize whatever the first element is.  Additional verbs end the main clause.

    For dependent clauses, German word order is usually SOV.  If there is more than one verb, all verbs come in a row at the end, with the conjugated one being the the very last. 

    f. German has six words for THE (der, die, das, dem, den, das), filling 16 distinct functions.  Each word fills at least two different ones (and two words fill four different ones each). 

    g. German verbs, although more inflected than their English counterparts, are in a simpler tense/mood system than in English. 

    8. Level I languages tend to be less complicated on many of those points, with the exception of verbs. 

    9. .Despite the many differences from English to German, there are languages that are far more different, resulting in levels III-V.   In general, the more different a language is from English, the more study hours are needed, making it more difficult.  Being a Germanic language does not guarantee being similar to English in grammar or vocabulary.  There are Germanic languages in level I (and the others are Romance ones, meaning they evolved from Latin) and in level IV as well (1100 hours of study). 

    10. I like to end these with a few lines of the Lord's prayer in German, followed by the English translation.  Note that that generally speaking, the written languages are closer to each other than their spoken forms (W, for example, in German is a /v/ sound and V is an /f/ sound, S is a /z/, etc):

    Vater unser, im Himmel.  

    Geheiligt werde dein Name.

    Dein Reich komme.

    Dein Wille geschehe, wie im Himmel, so auf Erden.

    Our father, (who art) in heaven.

    Hallowed be thy name.

    Thy kingdom come,

    Thy will be done, on Earth, as (it is) in heaven. 

    Source(s): taught French; intermediate German, Italian, & Japanese; native English speaker.
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  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I found it really hard.  I learned French and Spanish easily but when I tried German I just couldn't get on with it at all.

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  • 2 months ago

    learning any language is hard. easier if you have someone around you that speaks german to practice with.

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