Those confusing Ss that look like Fs, which I imagine were still around when you were learning German, are only seen behind the glass cases of museum cabinets and in second hand bookstores. And they are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them marching majestically across the page -- and if he has any imagination he can see the banners and hear the music, too.
To continue with the German genders: I went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. The inventor of the language seems to have taken pleasure in complicating it in every way he could think of.
He resumed his study 28 years later in preparation for a trip to Europe. I can understand German as well as the maniac that invented it, but I talk it best through an interpreter. The inventor of the language probably got what he knew about a conscience from hearsay.
You fall into error occasionally, because you mistake Mark twain essay in german language name of a person for the name of a thing, and waste a good deal of time trying to dig a meaning out of it. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German. And then there is the endless battle to figure out what is the gender of a particular noun so that you know what articles, pronouns, and adjectives to use: The sad event has cast a gloom over the whole community.
Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Several times he asks me to read it out loud and mimics my pronunciation. Many other languages contain some or all of the idiosyncrasies that Twain pokes fun at, including French, Russian, and Latin. There is no other way. Let us take him up tenderly, reverently, upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long Rest, with the Prayer that when he rises again it will be a Realm where he will have one good square responsible Sex, and have it all to himself, instead of having a mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all over him in Spots.
Of course no bird would do that, but then you must stick to the book. For instance, if one is casually referring to a house, Haus, or a horse, Pferd, or a dog, Hund, he spells these words as I have indicated; but if he is referring to them in the Dative case, he sticks on a foolish and unnecessary e and spells them Hause, Pferde, Hunde.
See how it looks in print -- I translate this from a conversation in one of the best of the German Sunday-school books: A favorite one is reiste ab -- which means departed. It opens its Mouth to cry for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the raging of the Storm.
For instance, the same sound, sie, means you, and it means she, and it means her, and it means it, and it means they, and it means them.
Share your experiences in the comments! Now, by the above dissection, the reader will see that in Germany a man may think he is a man, but when he comes to look into the matter closely, he is bound to have his doubts; he finds that in sober truth he is a most ridiculous mixture; and if he ends by trying to comfort himself with the thought that he can at least depend on a third of this mess as being manly and masculine, the humiliating second thought will quickly remind him that in this respect he is no better off than any woman or cow in the land.
Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description; that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse.
On the creation of the German language: Learning German at my age without some immersion is, to the say least, a challenge.What a wonderful essay, and thanks for the tip. I assume that most Germans would understand Twain's sentiments and smile encouragingly over his efforts to learn the intricacies of the language.
When I was learning German as an adult, I felt an initial frustration much like Twain's before falling in. German is certainly not an easy language to master and no individual has documented the struggle more publicly than iconic American author, Mark Twain.
In Twain published his infamous essay titled, ‘The Awful German Language’, a humorous exploration of the frustrations a foreign speaker experiences when learning German. Worth reading: Mark Twain, “The Awful German Language” December 5, by Emil O.
W. Kirkegaard · 3 Comments This essay on the german language is. The Awful German Language. Tale of the Fishwife and its Sad Fate. A Fourth of July oration in the German tongue, delivered at a banquet of the Anglo-American club of students by the author of this book.
Mark Twain on Learning German. Posted on October 24, by Amy. So I took great comfort in Mark Twain’s essay, Even though I am not familiar with the German language, I found his writing about it very humorous!
Like Liked by 1 person. Please find the full brochure “Mark Twain: The Awful German Language” now at killarney10mile.com (pdf) If you’re only looking for the text of his speech, please find Mark Twain’s “Die Schrecken der Deutschen.Download