If there were an award for “person who hates the German language the loudest,” Mark Twain would have won it. No one has satirized the German language quite as hilariously before or since. As he says:
“There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech — not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary — six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam — that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it — after which comes the VERB, and you find out for the first time what the man has been talking about; and after the verb — merely by way of ornament, as far as I can make out — the writer shovels in “haben sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden sein,” or words to that effect, and the monument is finished. I suppose that this closing hurrah is in the nature of the flourish to a man’s signature — not necessary, but pretty. German books are easy enough to read when you hold them before the looking-glass or stand on your head — so as to reverse the construction — but I think that to learn to read and understand a German newspaper is a thing which must always remain an impossibility to a foreigner.”
Ah yes, that frustrating language! As expats in Germany we’ve all come head to head with its quirks and been forced to memorize its eccentricities. We’re all on a different part of our language journey, but we’re all in the same boat. So let’s get together today and collect our horror (and love) stories about learning the German language. What bits of it do you love? What bits of it do you hate? Have you given up? Have you reached a personal goal? Have you discovered a really great language-learning app? Write all about it on your blog and then link up using the linky tool below.
What is a blog hop and how do I join?
A blog hop is a way to collect links for blogs on a similar topic, to make it easy to find other bloggers and to get conversation started. So you write a post about German food, or find an older post in which you talk about German food. Then you add your link using the tool below.
On your post please mention that it has been a part of the Young Germany Expat Bloggers Blog Hop (with a back link to this post). Once you’re on the list, visit the other bloggers who’ve linked up and say hello. It’s all about making new friends and starting conversations.
You don’t have to write a new post to join in–feel free to link up an older post. Just make sure that post is on topic–in this case about your relationship with the German language. Off-topic posts and spam will be removed. Then, to make it even more fun, we’ll feature our favorite entries in a post the following week. The next blog hop will take place on July 7th, and the topic is “Advice for my Pre-Expat Self.” Hope to see you there.