The Awful German Language

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Were he still alive, Mark Twain would undoubtedly be delighted to know that the record for the longest valid German word in official usage has recently been broken - twice. Although the formation of words of unlimited length is possible in the German language by means of combinaing nouns to form one huge unhyphenated word, common sense ensures that this rarely happens in practice. But in the Bundesland of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a law was introduced on 19 January to supervise the labeling of beef in the wake of the BSE crisis. Links between German and English.

Print This Page. British perceptions of Germany.

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Statistics and explanations. The watershed of How does Germany view Britain? Who are the Germans? Who speaks German? The status of German today. Why don't Britons learn languages? Launching the fightback. Ten reasons to learn German. Lost in translation.

Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Beginners German. German Alphabet. Verb Tables. Vocabulary List. Grammar Lectures. German Dialects. German Football.

Teaching Mark Twain's "The Awful German Language," in Germany

German Letter-writing. Why learn German? E-mail the author. Portsmouth University.

School of Languages and Area Studies. Study German at Portsmouth. German Extension Course. Mark Twain and German.


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Mark Twain. The essay is funny, certainly. In reality, every language is weird, contains redundancy, and is equal parts simple and complex. Some natural languages are better than others, though.

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But even a german may write an article about the awful german language. When I first started speaking out against danish some people were surprised that I did so, being a native speaker of the language. Another reason why beginners of a language are often the loudest critics is that they go through the rules of the language and see how inconsistent they are.

A native speaker has simply gotten used to them by practice. I may know more rules of german than I do of danish or english. There are no terms relative to the speaker, there are only absolute directions like north, south, east, west.

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That is certainly one way to talk about space, with its own peculair set of advantages and disadvantages. But is it really inferior to the way we talk about space? And even if it is, there are probably constructs in the Kuuk Thaayorre language that are superior to the misfeatures of English for communicative purposes. You must be logged in to post a comment.