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Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze nstricker - the German support group

Red Herring

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Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze nstricker - the German support group

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

There seems to be an interest in a place for all those on the forum who study, have studied, want to study or will have to study German.

What has worked for you? What hasn't? What seems particularly difficult? What surprised you? What did you like?

There are probably a few more native speakers around, but for starters you can ask me or [MENTION=8444]Mad Hatter[/MENTION] (also a native speaker and a language teacher to boot) if you have any specific questions.


I just tagged those who mentioned learning German in this thread, but anyone is free to join in!


Also, there will be free pretzel, sausage, sauerkraut and beer for the best anecdotes on English-German mistranslations and misunderstandings!
[MENTION=11928]Woaden[/MENTION], [MENTION=4347]Virtual ghost[/MENTION], [MENTION=24824]Kas[/MENTION], [MENTION=23583]21lux[/MENTION], [MENTION=23222]senza tema[/MENTION], [MENTION=9811]Coriolis[/MENTION], [MENTION=16071]sprinkles[/MENTION], [MENTION=20828]Wixiw[/MENTION] (also [MENTION=22409]Sultan of Beans[/MENTION] and @FDR ?)
 

Riva

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^ It's never too late to give up guys.

life is too short to learn german
~richard porson~
 

Mademoiselle

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Ich habe hunger, not sure if I typed it right, but that's one of the few sentences I can remember from middle school.
 

Red Herring

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^ It's never too late to give up guys.

life is too short to learn german
~richard porson~

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.

Mark Twain - The Awful German Language

Ich habe hunger, not sure if I typed it right, but that's one of the few sentences I can remember from middle school.

Almost, "Hunger" would be capitalized because it is a noun. :)

It's interesting to see what phrases remain once the rest is forgotten. A friend of mine only remembers "Kommst du zur Schule mit der U-Bahn?" (Are you going to school by subway?)
 

INTP

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du mutter ist affe und du bist auf affenficker

ps. lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas (for some reason typoc cant handle that word and puts a space in it)
 

Red Herring

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ps. lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas (for some reason typoc cant handle that word and puts a space in it)

Same thing happened with the thread title. It should be Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützenstricker. Seems like the typoc coding is biased against languages that write compound words in one word.
 

Virtual ghost

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My German at this point is at the very start of the learning process. The case is that knowing German at least at basic level would be good for my career and therefore I have decided to invest in this. (or at least give it a shoot) The good thing is that Croatian that is my first language has directly copied quite a number of words directly from German. Plus my English is pretty good and well polished, what gives me the experience of learning another language, that also tends to have a number of similarites with German. If I see that I understand the logic of the language I will also take some courses to speed up the process and make a good foundation for future progress.


I guess that it would be correct to start with basic grammar and the most common words ?
 

Olm the Water King

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The first German sentence my dad learnt: Der Tee ist gut, aber der Wein ist besser.

:D
 

Coriolis

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Vielen Dank, [MENTION=10251]Red Herring[/MENTION]!

Will post more soon. I have asked isolated questions of our native German speakers from time to time, but it's a great idea to set up a thread for this.
 
Last edited:

Kas

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Honestly I don’t remember much. My level now is” Kaffee mit Milch, bitte.”

It's interesting to see what phrases remain once the rest is forgotten.
Yes, it does say a lot about my priorities ;)

I guess that it would be correct to start with basic grammar and the most common words ?
To learn new words I like to use computer programs which plan for you reviews basing on which words you didn’t remember. It’s a good way to improve vocabulary. Maybe you can try this.


Has anyone tried to make up German words when didn’t know them? I used to make up verbs adding “en” to English verbs, but rarely it was working. Although “kommen”, “lernen”, “fallen”…
 

Virtual ghost

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To learn new words I like to use computer programs which plan for you reviews basing on which words you didn’t remember. It’s a good way to improve vocabulary. Maybe you can try this.

Programs such as ...... ?
 

Yama

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I still haven't been able to find my old notes, but I haven't checked everywhere yet. Hopefully I can find at least something to share.
 

Kierva

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So in the 5 months I have been learning German, I keep stumbling on writing sentences.

For example, when I'm doing my lessons on Duolingo, it will give me a sentence in English and translate it to German. "Does she imagine things?" becomes "Bildet sie sich Sachen ein?", when does = macht/tut/nicht, she = sie/Sie/Ihnen, imagine = sich vorstellen/denkt/glaube/glaub, things = Sachen/Dinge/Angelegenheiten on its mini translator. As someone who has very little prior knowledge of German, can someone else explain to me the thought process behind this?

Also, what are some general tips to take in for someone who is a native English speaker but is learning German?

P.S. FWIW, I'm also reading short stories by Hans Christian Andersen to supplement my lessons. I read them out loud, and I understand like 20% of it, just enough to know what the context of the story is.
 

Red Herring

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So in the 5 months I have been learning German, I keep stumbling on writing sentences.

For example, when I'm doing my lessons on Duolingo, it will give me a sentence in English and translate it to German. "Does she imagine things?" becomes "Bildet sie sich Sachen ein?", when does = macht/tut/nicht, she = sie/Sie/Ihnen, imagine = sich vorstellen/denkt/glaube/glaub, things = Sachen/Dinge/Angelegenheiten on its mini translator. As someone who has very little prior knowledge of German, can someone else explain to me the thought process behind this?

Also, what are some general tips to take in for someone who is a native English speaker but is learning German?

Well, you can hardly ever translate sentences word by word, even with languages as closely related as English and German. In this case "to imagine things" is the English language enquivalent of the German expression "sich Sachen einbilden" (also: "sich etwas einbilden"). "Does she imagine things?" or "Is she imagining things?" then becomes "Bildet sie sich Sachen ein"? If you are interested in the particular root of that expression: "Bild" means "picture" or "image", "sich Sachen einbilden" then, literally "to into-picture things" is the process of imagining something, turning it into mental images. It is a reflexive verb (maybe you know those from Spanish) so she is "imagining herself things" or "imagining things to herself". Sadly I can't give you a rule of thumb though for what verbs are reflexive. It's probably best to learn that with the verb just as you learn whether it's transitive or intransitive or the gender of a noun with the noun.

As far as hints for English speakers are concerned, I have found prefixes and sufixes to be very useful, i.e. learning to see when a word is a composition of several elements whose basic meaning you know. In German, you can take a basic verb and add a prefix (syllable or fragment stuck to the front) in order to slightly alter its meaning.

for example:
schreiben = to write
zuschreiben = to attribute (literally to to-write or towards-write)
verschreiben = to perscribe (to away-write) or to make a mistake while writing (to mis-write)
aufschreiben = to write sth. down (to upon-write)
einschreiben = to enroll (to in-write)
vorschreiben = to dictate/order (to front-write or to pre-write)
abschreiben = to copy (to off-write)
fortschreiben = to continue a text by writing, to write a sequel (to forth-write), also: to write sth away (opposite of herbeischreiben)
überschreiben = to put a heading over a text or to write on top of something (to over-write)
unterschreiben = to sign sth. (to under-write)
herbeischreiben = to create something by writing or write sth into existence (e.g. a crisis, by constantly writing about it in the newspapers) (to towards-here-write)

It's really amazing what this system allows you to do with the language! :)

P.S. FWIW, I'm also reading short stories by Hans Christian Andersen to supplement my lessons. I read them out loud, and I understand like 20% of it, just enough to know what the context of the story is.

Fairy tales and books for children sound like a good idea if you want easy texts. However, reading that after only 5 months is very ambitious. Why Hans Christian Andersen though? He was Danish and as far as I know wrote his fairy tales in Danish, so you are probably reading a German translation. Not that there is anything wrong with that, translations are often easier to read than originals, I'm just curious.
 

Kierva

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Well, you can hardly ever translate sentences word by word, even with languages as closely related as English and German. In this case "to imagine things" is the English language enquivalent of the German expression "sich Sachen einbilden" (also: "sich etwas einbilden"). "Does she imagine things?" or "Is she imagining things?" then becomes "Bildet sie sich Sachen ein"? If you are interested in the particular root of that expression: "Bild" means "picture" or "image", "sich Sachen einbilden" then, literally "to into-picture things" is the process of imagining something, turning it into mental images.
Dankeschön!

It is a reflexive verb (maybe you know those from Spanish) so she is "imagining herself things" or "imagining things to herself". Sadly I can't give you a rule of thumb though for what verbs are reflexive. It's probably best to learn that with the verb just as you learn whether it's transitive or intransitive or the gender of a noun with the noun.
It sounds like I have to go back to school to know these different types of verbs/cases/nouns. I remember learning them for English when I was in school, but sadly I have forgotten them. Now it's like a sixth sense to me -- I know what is correct but I don't exactly know how to explain it in terms of technicalities.

Red Herring said:
As far as hints for English speakers are concerned, I have found prefixes and sufixes to be very useful, i.e. learning to see when a word is a composition of several elements whose basic meaning you know. In German, you can take a basic verb and add a prefix (syllable or fragment stuck to the front) in order to slightly alter its meaning.

for example:
schreiben = to write
zuschreiben = to attribute (literally to to-write or towards-write)
verschreiben = to perscribe (to away-write) or to make a mistake while writing (to mis-write)
aufschreiben = to write sth. down (to upon-write)
einschreiben = to enroll (to in-write)
vorschreiben = to dictate/order (to front-write or to pre-write)
abschreiben = to copy (to off-write)
fortschreiben = to continue a text by writing, to write a sequel (to forth-write), also: to write sth away (opposite of herbeischreiben)
überschreiben = to put a heading over a text or to write on top of something (to over-write)
unterschreiben = to sign sth. (to under-write)
herbeischreiben = to create something by writing or write sth into existence (e.g. a crisis, by constantly writing about it in the newspapers) (to towards-here-write)

It's really amazing what this system allows you to do with the language! :)
Are all those suffixes the possible suffixes that could show up in a word? If so, that would be SUPER useful!


Red Herring said:
Fairy tales and books for children sound like a good idea if you want easy texts. However, reading that after only 5 months is very ambitious. Why Hans Christian Andersen though? He was Danish and as far as I know wrote his fairy tales in Danish, so you are probably reading a German translation. Not that there is anything wrong with that, translations are often easier to read than originals, I'm just curious.
No particular reason. I found his tales through a series of convoluted searches on Google, which led me to Projekt Gutenberg. Searched "kinderbucher" (I don't have a German keyboard with umlauts) that showed up as one of the first few results. I tried reading it and found it quite manageable, so I did.

On another note, I googled "German children's books" and came across a series of books about Waldo and his friend by Hans Wilhelm, but I found them too preachy. Most of them had sayings about God and Jesus. It felt really weird to be reading such things out loud, especially in a language that you barely understand.

I also listened to "Die Verwandlung", but I didn't understand a single word of it. I listened to it so that I could get an idea of how German sounds like.
 

Mad Hatter

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Are all those suffixes the possible suffixes that could show up in a word? If so, that would be SUPER useful!

Maybe you'll find this link useful: Handout: Separable and Inseparable Prefixes

It appears to be exhaustive, as far as that's possible in dealing with language.
Some prefix-word combinations have become lexicalized however, so it's not possible in every case to derive a meaning by taking a word apart whose two meanings you know. (E.g. zer-stören; taking it apart according to the list like "zer 'asunder' + stören 'disturb' " wouldn't make much sense - on the other hand, things like German "miss-" and English "mis-" are basically equivalent and always mean the same thing). A lot of these prefix-verb combinations have become lexicalized and taken on a specific meaning, especially if they have been long in use, and for those, such rules don't always help, but the maybe the list makes it a bit clearer to get an impression where the meaning of a verb is going, so to speak.

Hope it helps! :)
 

Kierva

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Maybe you'll find this link useful: Handout: Separable and Inseparable Prefixes

It appears to be exhaustive, as far as that's possible in dealing with language.
Some prefix-word combinations have become lexicalized however, so it's not possible in every case to derive a meaning by taking a word apart whose two meanings you know. (E.g. zer-stören; taking it apart according to the list like "zer 'asunder' + stören 'disturb' " wouldn't make much sense - on the other hand, things like German "miss-" and English "mis-" are basically equivalent and always mean the same thing). A lot of these prefix-verb combinations have become lexicalized and taken on a specific meaning, especially if they have been long in use, and for those, such rules don't always help, but the maybe the list makes it a bit clearer to get an impression where the meaning of a verb is going, so to speak.

Hope it helps! :)

Had a look at it; this is super helpful!

Also, thank you for posting the website. I absolutely love that there are so many worksheets for practice.
 

Coriolis

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Some prefix-word combinations have become lexicalized however, so it's not possible in every case to derive a meaning by taking a word apart whose two meanings you know. (E.g. zer-stören; taking it apart according to the list like "zer 'asunder' + stören 'disturb' " wouldn't make much sense
But this means "destroy", doesn't it? That's how I remember it: to disturb something asunder >> disturb it so much that it all comes apart.
 

Riva

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I have a friend living in austria who speaks hoke deutch. He is very proud about it. Is it a big deal to learn it?
 
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