German: The New Math


Someone might be mentally deranged by learning a foreign language in mid-thirties. Especially after being there and done that for 4-5 times. Now imagine how “insanely scared” I felt when started learning German in “voluntary basis” three weeks ago. Those who have gone through that understand what I mean. Those who are in the process of learning German can relate even better. Well, I always associated this crazy idea with the famous saying of Oscar Wilde ” Life is too short to learn German”. I tended to agree with that at first, even more now that I’m being constantly “attacked” by German grammar and bothered by exceptions to every little rule that attempts to put some order in my fragile mental notes. Once, a friend told me that learning German will be a piece of cake since I speak English. Yeah I agree, having this linguistic background does not hurt. Plus these languages have many words in common. But while British kept themselves busy simplifying English over centuries, in contrary Germans got busy complicating it. Why keeping something easy when one can complicate it. Do I need to give an example? Here is when they drop a 63 letter long word that refers to a law for beef monitoring and testing:

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

Ok, that’s exaggerated. Though it is not a scam, but a real word. Well, in everyday life someone can learn to deal with this law complying vocabulary simply through ignoring it. While learning to deal with other tongue twisters words which are quite often repeated and common it’s not the biggest deal neither. But what totally drives me nuts, especially on Friday sessions, it’s when learning to talk German feels a lot like doing math. And you better be good at it. Which article to place in front of 3-gender names where vague rules followed by unlimited exceptions do apply? Not to mention here the transformation of articles, adjectives in dative, accusative and genitive case. Really, I just want to speak the language here, and not to mentally screen articles’ transformation each time I attempt to put a sentence together.

Now that I got this off my chest, and finished my constructive whining brief, I can go back to work on the upside down structure of the sentences. Good Luck to me! In the meantime, I have to reward myself for the hard work with some entertainment material like…50 steps to be German 🙂

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6 thoughts on “German: The New Math”

  1. Oh a fun reading this… I have done German at school so I could feel ur pain…. can’t really speak but always wonder shall I give another go, I love love love how German sounds…U will be good soon…soonish 😃 but talking language, my husband is an Albanian and for 8 years now, I can only say gezuar 😃ok ok a little more…. and wel….l is a hard hard hard language to learn, to pronounce ..or maybe my teacher is not the best….

    1. Yes I agree with you, in the end learning a foreign language requires huge effort and learning German is not an exception…I was thinking earlier that Albanian language is difficult as well but you know when you’re born and raised with your language it’s easy. So I’ll hang in there with my German 🙂

  2. You might enjoy reading Mark Twain’s essay titled “The Awful German Language” – free on Google- it’s hilarious and so true.
    Great blog entry, Armela.

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