czwS
english or german? which is more difficult?? recently i want to learn german, but i dont know how to start with it?? zero-based Who can talk about the similar experience?? THANKS !!! :)
Jul 5, 2015 4:15 PM
Answers · 5
If you only spoke Chinese, I could easily say that German is far harder than English. However, since you already are familiar with English, you'll find a lot of vocabulary in common. As far as grammar, German is like English only "more so." More than English, German verbs are conjugated to show person and number. In German, nouns all have grammatical gender, which can be masculine, feminine or neuter. Adjectives and such are declined to agree with the noun in gender, number, and grammatical case. The good news is that the spelling system is much more logical than that of English. It's very important to learn the grammar actually using it, because if you just "memorize" the tables, you haven't learned anything. The Foreign Service Institute courses are very thorough, and since they're in the public domain, you can easily find them online for absolutely no cost.
July 5, 2015
Part 3: German nouns have genders, which are entirely non-existent in Modern English. A noun can be masculine, feminine or neuter. Note that grammatical gender has nothing to do with biological gender, it's just an arbitrary label. For example, "Mädchen" (girl) is neuter, "Zeit" (time) is feminine and "Tisch" (table) is masculine, so you'd refer to "girl", "time" and "table" with "it", "she" and "he" respectively. "Die", "das" and "der" are three different words for "the". Which one you use depends on the gender of the word. You just have to memorise the gender of each word individually. German also has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. English distinguishes between nominative and accusative for pronouns, but otherwise cases are entirely non-existent in English. Which word you need to use for "the" depends not only on the gender of the noun but the case it's in. Dative is not particularly hard to grasp, the problem is simply knowing when to use it (which can actually be a big problem). "Genitive" is completely alien for English speakers and by far the hardest to grasp, and probably for Mandarin speakers as well - English and Mandarin express possession the same way. German adjectives also decline. This means that you may have to add "e", "en", "es" or "er" to the end of adjectives, depending on the case and gender of the noun they attach to. Declination doesn't exist in English at all. German conjugation is also much more complicated than in English. Except for "to be", English verbs only ever conjugate in the third person singular in the present simple. German verbs have different conjugations for different persons and in different tenses, which you will have to memorise. Overall, I think you'll find German harder than English, but don't let that dissuade you.
July 5, 2015
German is very similar to Old English. In fact I think that, grammatically speaking, Old English grammar is much more similar to modern German than to Modern English. German and English more or less have the same tenses, but there are a few differences. English has the present continuous tense, which doesn't exist in German. For example, "Ich trinke" can mean both "I drink" and "I'm drinking". In English past simple and present perfect (ie. "I drank" and "I have drunk") have very specific uses, but in German the difference is that present perfect is simply more formal. The German subjunctive is more complicated than in English, and it's also much more common in German. English and German, like most Germanic languages, have a lot of different phonemes. I think English pronunciation is much more similar to Mandarin than German, but German has the advantage that every word is pronounced exactly as it's spelled, so if you know how to spell a word you can pronounce it.
July 5, 2015
If you ask English or German? which is more difficult? Then the reply will be always "for whom"? For a switzerdütsch speaker German is probably easier then English. For a Nederlands speaker maybe too. If you are NOT from a Germanic language group then I believe English might be easier. I guess the German der die das can drive learners crazy ;-)
July 6, 2015
Part 2: The biggest difference between German and English is the word order. English and Mandarin word order is pretty much identical, but German word order is completely different. Old English word order was exactly like in German, but now it's very different. There's also a LOT of rules dictating how German word order arbitrarily changes in different situations. I think the only time when English word order is more difficult than German's is in questions: in German a question is made simply by switching the position of the subject and the first verb. E.g. "Ich trinke das Wasser." (I drink the water) => "Trinke ich das Wasser"? (Do I drink the water?) It's technically the same in English, but we have to add an auxiliary verb first if it's not there. E.g. "I drink the water." = "I do drink the water." => "Do I drink the water?"
July 5, 2015
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czwS
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English