The Peculiarities of the German Language!
The German language has several peculiarities and anybody who has taught German will know that they can cause sheer delight for some learners and sheer confusion for others! Once mastered, though, the rewards are immense. Here is a small selection of interesting intricacies of the German language.
𝐍𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐬 All nouns in German are proper nouns. All nouns therefore must be capitalised, so “my dog” becomes “mein Hund”, “the books” become “die Bücher”, etc. At first this is a difficult thing to come to terms with for non-natives. Oddly enough, though, when nouns become adjectives or adverbs, they lose their “properness” and drop the capital. So: “On Mondays” becomes “montags”.
𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐋𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐭𝐡 One of the more fun aspects of German is the fact that words are just added together to create one enormous word. A quick internet search on German word length will throw up several sites with some interesting words. And so, “motorway speed limits” becomes “Autobahngeschwindigkeitsbegrenzungen”. And – apart from anything else – don’t forget the capital letter because it is a noun!
𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝟏 The verb goes in second place. So, “I go into town” is “Ich gehe in die Stadt”. To keep the second place rule, in a longer sentence the word ‘I’ is moved. And so: “Normally I go into town” becomes “Normalerweise gehe ich in die Stadt”.
𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝟐 Many conjunctions send the verb to the end. To keep this simple, we’ll use the same concept of going into town. Look at the sentence below which starts with the word ‘If’. “If I go into town”: the German equivalent becomes “If I into town go…” (“Wenn ich in die Stadt gehe…”). But wait for it - the clause that follows then needs to have the verb in first place! You need to think of this as a balancing act. “If I into town go, see I my friends” = “Wenn ich in die Stadt gehe, sehe ich meine Freunde”. Sending the verb to the end of a sentence can wreak havoc for live interpreters who need to wait until the end to translate what is being said.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚 𝐓𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩. At Minerva we have vast experience in teaching such peculiarities – and the rest of them. One-to-one tuition to help explain these rules is an invaluable way of eventually mastering them.
𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚 𝐓𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡, 𝐆𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧, 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐆𝐂𝐒𝐄, 𝐀 𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 / 𝐈𝐁𝐃𝐏 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲-𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝.
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