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Do English native speakers feel it difficult to learn German? How do you usually differentiate Eng. from Ger.?

As a Chinese, I've learned English for more than 15 years and English is undoubtedly my second foreign language. Then I learned German for 3 years at college. There are a lot of similarities between the two languages as they derive from the same language family (the Germanic stock). However, this also form obstacles for me to learn German grammar and esp. to form a German way of thinking. Till now, I still cannot use it as well as English in terms of speaking and writing. I wonder if native English speakers also have such problems with German learning. If so, how do you solve the problem?




Well, as a native German speaker I can say that achieving a certain language skill depends on your very own effort. Learning English is easy nowaday thanks to the internet. English (good and bad English) can be found everywhere. For this reason, it's hardly surprising that understanding/speaking/writing English seems more comfortable than German.


If you would invest more time in German, for example, by reading German newspaper articles, German books, by listening to German radio/podcasts, watching German TV and talking to German people, your German skill will soon become as good as your English skill.


For Germans, it's exactly the same with French (or any other language beside English we learn at school). Why is French so uncomfortable although we've learned it for years? Because we don't use it. We just learned some grammar, some vocabulary. That's all. But we hardly ever read French, listen to French and never talk to French people. (And if we meet French people we tend to use English instead.)


A few years ago, I was quite fluent in French. (My French was even better than my English back then.) Almost ten years later, I can't even write it correctly anymore.

I think that German grammar is difficult to learn.  Nouns, articles, adjectives and pronouns are declined in German. The declination depends on the grammatical function of the word in the sentence. There are four cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative. The nominative is the subject of the sentence. The genitive case expresses the possession of a noun or the belonging to something. The indirect object of the sentence is expressed in the dative case, and the direct object is expressed in the accusative case.

German has a three gender noun system, every noun has a gender (masculine, feminine, neuter). The declination of the noun also depends on its gender. The declination of an adjective also depends on the gender of the noun that the adjective describes, and how it's grouped with another adjective. The declination of an article also depends on the gender of the noun that belongs with the article.

Why am I learning German?

I don't really enjoy learning the difficult grammar of the German language. I find that learning German grammar is really boring and it's sometimes frustratingly difficult for me to learn, but it's necessary for learning the German language. I'm learning German because I have German relatives with whom I want to better communicate. I hope someday to visit Germany again. I also believe that the German language sounds really awesome. 

Die deutsche Grammatik ist schwer zu erlernen!

Substantive, Artikel, Adjektive und Pronomen werden im Deutschen dekliniert. Die Deklination hängt von der grammatischen (syntaktischen) Funktion des Wortes im Satz ab. Es gibt vier Fälle (Kasus): Nominativ, Genitiv, Dativ, Akkusativ. Im Nominativ steht das Subjekt des Satzes. Der Genitiv drückt in der Regel Besitz oder Zugehörigkeit zu etwas aus. Die Objekte stehen im Dativ und Akkusativ. Auch Präpositionen bewirken eine Deklination des auf sie folgenden Substantivs, Artikels usw. Jede Präposition fordert in der Regel einen bestimmten Fall (Kasus), z.B.: Der Garten liegt hinter dem Haus (Dativ), Er hängt das Bild an die Wand (Akkusativ).

Deutsch hat ein Genus-System, jedes Substantiv hat ein Genus (Maskulinum, Femininum, Neutrum). Am Genus des Substantivs orientieren sich das Genus eines Adjektivs oder eines Artikels, die zu der Substantivgruppe gehören. Die Deklination der Substantiv auch hängt von Geschlecht ab.

Warum lerne ich Deutsch?

Ich lerne Deutsch, weil ich deutsche Verwandte haben. Ich möchte Deutschland wieder besuchen. Auch glaube ich dass die deutsche Sprache richtig geil klingt.

Thanks for your answers!:)  I agree with Nina's opinion that more efforts must be made to learn German and that the level of individual's language skill declines with little application. Actually, I learnt German as my major and devoted fairly much time to it during the years. However, I could hardly find opportunities to use it apart from taking exams or having classes. I guess that's also a main reason. Besides, there are relatively fewer resources for German learning compared to that of English -- As can be seen, English is widely used and spread through TED talks, open courses online, various books, magazines, TV shows, movies and advertisements... I would really like to find similar German resources!

I do think German outweighs English in terms of its logic -- it is undoubtedly suitable for academic writing! But it is really hard to remember those phrases with more than one declination case or speak a long, grammatically correct sentence fluently. Perhaps it requires more practice than English -- one has to think grammatically...

Vielen Dank fuer Steves bilinguale Antworten! Sein Deutsch ist super:) Um die deutsch Grammatik habe ich mich viele Muehe gemacht, deren Komplexitaet gefaellt mir gar nicht! Wegen Ihrer Verwandten haben Sie die Motivation, Deutsch zu lernen. Aber solche Motivation habe ich nicht -- ich moechte nur nicht darauf verzichten. Vielleicht soll ich mehr mit Deutschen, Schweizern oder Oesterreichen umgehen, oder? :P 

Hallo, Decade.  Nina ist ein deutscher Muttersprachler. Sie hat auch gute Englischkenntnisse. Sie hat mir sehr geholfen. Ich denke, dass Nina ein guter Deutschlehrerin ist.

Hallo, Decade. Nina ist eine deutscher Muttersprachlerin. Sie hat auch gute Englischkenntnisse. Sie hat mir sehr geholfen. Ich denke, dass Nina ein guter Deutschlehrerin ist.

Hallo, Decade. Nina ist ein deutscher Muttersprachler. Sie hat auch gute Englischkenntnisse. Sie hat mir sehr geholfen. Ich denke, dass Nina eine gute Deutschlehrerin ist.   Sorry! Mein Deutsch ist nicht perfekt.

Sorrry!  Nina ist eine deutscher Muttersprachlerin, sie ist kein deutscher Muttersprachler. 

Die deutsche Grammatik ist schwer!  

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