Amok Mama: Germans hating the German language

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German is unforgiving

You have to get it absolutely right, otherwise it will sound strange or people won't understand it. That makes it sort of rigid. In English and Spanish you can improvise away, sometimes getting the grammar wrong, but it would still be a text that people would publish or take seriously. And because you are free of the burden of structure you also get wonderful new words all the time, especially in English, although I'm quite proud of 'Fremdschämen' having been adopted from Spanish (I think, at least it existed in Spanish long before in it did in German), it's so obvious. But then, there is nothing like German for getting things exactly, correctly, to say precisely what you mean. Because let's face it, we do need a little Ingenöring in our lives.

Jasmine more than 8 years ago

not hate, just a bit of low cultural esteem

Lets put this in perspective: In 1945, Germany as a nation and German as a language was essentially doomed to extinction. If the western Allies had shared the sanguinity of those Germans they would have parceled it into their respective cultures and languages (as the Germans did in Prague). But they didn't do this. Rather, they soon took pity upon the Germans, airlifted them aid and helped them rebuild as a sovereign nation. Certainly this had a political impetus as well but from that point on speaking German was a noble courtesy and to this day the Germans should appreciate any efforts people make to perpetuate a language that could have been otherwise eradicated by war. As a conquered nation wishing to move forward, the German embracement of English was both understandable and necessary and perhaps whatever lack of love they may have for their own historic language is tied to the dark history that goes with it. That said, Berlin in particular was rebuilt to be a multicultural, multi-lingual city and by the principals of spoliation (Germany having sacrificed its cultural sovereignty in a failed gambit to acquire exactly this sort of spoliation) anyone should be able to live here in perpetuity with English and only basic German as a respectful courtesy… and the smarter ones among us will enjoy the inherent comedy in learning it.

Yankee Düdel more than 8 years ago


The perspective of the German language goes further back than 1945, it was spoken centuries before Germany as a country even existed... it's hard to imagine how it could have become extinct unless its native speakers would give it up voluntarily...

Ilsebill more than 8 years ago

oh, and by the way

no righteous french speaking person would ever laugh "with joy" at aliens who were too lazy to correctly learn the genders of the french nouns. they might laugh with contempt or laugh with a bout of *fremdschämen* but never "with joy". obviously you've never met educated french native speakers: they take their language too seriously to let it be mutilated by lazy foreigners ... they are unforgiving.

jabgoe more than 8 years ago


Maybe my French is just loads better than my German? French people are always telling me how good my French is or at least being a little bit encouraging. Whereas Germans will look at me w. real disgust when I say I've been living here for 13 years.....maybe it's the 13 years thing?

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

umläuts are not funny

neither in würzeln nor in knütschen! they might be funny in the misfits' "feminispräch" but nowhere else!

jabgoe more than 8 years ago


are hilarious. anyway, I always pronounce it knütschen. it sounds wetter

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

double bind

We are offended by half-learned Deutsch while complaining that people don't take the time to learn. Can't have it both ways.

heinzi more than 8 years ago

Beauty of Language

I never believe when people talk about a language being more or less beautiful than another. It's all about familiarity. When a language sounds familiar, it sounds nicer.

I find German quite nice and clean sounding. But even that doesn't mean anything because there are so many different accents and/or dialects which sound so different.

Same with English. There is some really ugly sounding English, e.g. most of native speaking Easyjet staff.

And I found French really rather ugly when I left France after spending two years there.

Christian Scheuring more than 8 years ago


I think Saxon is really sexy & all the Germans laugh at me. Except for the Saxons. They say Oooorrrhh dankoor Jorcintoooor

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

death of German

I read a nice article in a US newspaper recently about how Germany is concerned that no one in the US wants to take German in High school anymore (because of the HOLOCAUST.) Instead they all want to take Spanish or maybe Chinese. So Germany is investing money on printing pamphlets about how sexy German is with pictures of like, Kevin Prince Boateng and Mezut Ozil on it.

Which is like a doubly fucked strategy because they only thing American kids care less about than language requirements is soccer.

But anyways, I think the main thing that is good about German is that is hilarious, and Germans should embrace that instead of being all worried about it. I mean, "Dass kann nicht die Wahrheit sein" is like one of the most hilarious sentences ever, and people say it all the time...

t more than 8 years ago

I sometimes wonder

whether any languages are beautiful, or more beautiful than others, or if language can even be beautiful. Like, what does beauty in language even mean? I also like some words more than others, you know. Like, bolshie. I like the word bolshie. I quite like the word spastic, it's so shocking and naked. I like lots of words. But surely, if you learnt any language you would fall in love with its sounds? I think German is so frustrating, not just because it is so hard, but also because people aren't used to hearing people speak "bad German" so foreigners sound worse than they should even if they are fairly fluent? This makes native speakers cling to English for protection.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago


Ah, you used this before?

"I once kind of taught Oliver that he should swear a lot when he speaks English and then he would sound more like a native English speaker. I wish I hadn't now. He really overdoes it. I wish he'd fucking stop."

Greg more than 8 years ago

Yeah I'm just

letting you know he's still doing it. It's like a rote Faden in my Oliver stories.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

The beauty of German ....

lies not in its sounds, but in its structure!

Maurice T Frank more than 8 years ago

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