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Old 01-23-2015, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 5,121,745 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
^^

That goes to what I was saying earlier about complex sentences. Often times, in regular conversation, people speak in different tenses, or will use modal verbs (would, could, should, etc). This pushes the action verb to the end of the sentence. Can be a bit confusing when trying to comprehend, and you're waiting until they're done to know what the action is!

"Ich habe schön mal gestern auf einem Web forum einen post über deutsch-verstehen das manchmal kommt denn Verb am Ende gelesen." :

Literally, word for word, "I had many times yesterday on a web forum a post over German-understanding that often comes the verb at the end read."
Phew, that sentence got a bit twisted up

"Gestern las ich in einem Forumspost über das Verstehen der deutschen Sprache, dass das Verb manchmal am Ende kommt."

(~ "Yesterday read I in a forum post about the understanding the German language, that the verb sometimes at the end comes.")

or

"Gestern habe ich in einem Forumspost über das Verstehen der deutschen Sprache gelesen, dass das Verb manchmal am Ende kommt."

(~ "Yesterday had I in a forum post about the understanding the German language, that the verb sometimes at the end comes.")

(Bonus: Bavarian: "Gestan hån i in am Forumspost üba 's Vasteh vu da deitschn Sproch g'lesn, doss 's Veab monchmoi am End kummt.")

The first sentence is basically what you'd read in a book or how it's used in northern Germany in everyday life situations. The second sentence is more commonly used when speaking Bavarian dialect. We southerners tend to avoid the Präteritum

You are perfectly right, though, that word order depends on which tense you are using.

Last edited by viribusunitis; 01-23-2015 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,070 posts, read 2,366,065 times
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But that's the simple past."ich las" ("I read"). If you were to use the other past tense, it would be "ich habe gelesen" ("I have read"). And with that, you get a modal verb (haben) to take the first space, pushing gelesen to the end -- as you said, the simple past is often found in southern Germany, where as the other version (the one I used) is more typical of hochdeutsch, or what you'd hear in northern Germany.

Granted, a lot of people use the simple past in regular conversation, as it's much easier to blurt out "ich las etwas" than "ich habe etwas gelesen", especially wehen you throw a bunch of details in the middle, in place of "etwas".

I took a bit of a shortcut, saying deutsch-verstehen (instead of verstehen das Deutschen sprache). While your format is correct, grammatically, you'll hear Germans (particularly younger ones) using that shortcut. ("Understanding of the German language" vs "German-understanding").

Whether or not "gestern" is put before or after the verb is personal preference. Just like English "Yesterday, I read..." versus "I read yesterday". The only difference is, in German, the verb always takes the 2nd place. So if Gestern goes first, the verb must come next, pushing the subject (ich) past the verb. It'd be like saying "Yesterday, read I...".

Last edited by cab591; 01-23-2015 at 02:14 PM..
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 5,121,745 times
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Just to be sure: I don't mean to be offensive by correcting that sentence. Just try to be helpful

Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
But that's the simple past."ich las" ("I read"). If you were to use the other past tense, it would be "ich habe gelesen" ("I have read"). And with that, you get a modal verb (haben) to take the first space, pushing gelesen to the end -- as you said, the simple past is often found in southern Germany, where as the other version (the one I used) is more typical of hochdeutsch, or what you'd hear in northern Germany.
AFAIK it's the other way round. Colloquial Bavarian pretty much abandoned simple past ("Präteritum"). That phenomenon is called "Präteritumschwund". Why don't we use simple past? It just sounds too formal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Granted, a lot of people use the simple past in regular conversation, as it's much easier to blurt out "ich las etwas" than "ich habe etwas gelesen", especially wehen you throw a bunch of details in the middle, in place of "etwas".
In Austria we'd actually use the latter. Again, I don't know why. It just sounds incredibly odd to use "las".

Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
I took a bit of a shortcut, saying deutsch-verstehen (instead of verstehen das Deutschen sprache). While your format is correct, grammatically, you'll hear Germans (particularly younger ones) using that shortcut. ("Understanding of the German language" vs "German-understanding").
Yeah, my sentence would sound incredibly formal when used in a conversation. There is a hell of a lot of information in that sentence and it took me quite some time to properly structure it. I'd probably use a couple of shorter sentences instead of a single one.

"Deutsch verstehen" is a bit tricky, to be honest. While one can say "Ich verstehe Deutsch", "Wir haben über das Deutsch-Verstehen diskutiert" sounds incredibly awkward. That's why I refrained from using it and opted for "ein Forumspost über das Verstehen der deutschen Sprache" (which sounds equally awkward in retrospective).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Whether or not "gestern" is put before or after the verb is personal preference. Just like English "Yesterday, I read..." versus "I read yesterday". The only difference is, in German, the verb always takes the 2nd place. So if Gestern goes first, the verb must come next, pushing the subject (ich) past the verb. It'd be like saying "Yesterday, read I...".
True, you could say:

"Gestern habe ich in einem Forumspost über das Verstehen der deutschen Sprache gelesen, dass das Verb manchmal am Ende kommt."

or

"Ich habe gestern in einem Forumspost über [...] gelesen, dass [...]."
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:14 AM
 
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I don't think it's one of the hardest to learn. It's the 2nd closest language to English, tons of words sound similar. There are certain details of the grammar that will take getting used to, but it's much easier than learning Russian or Finnish from that standpoint. The main thing is the vocab. So many words sound similar to English words. Compare that to Russian, where everything sounds so foreign (and there's another alphabet to learn, though that part takes no more than an hour).

In fact, I found German simple enough that when I was in Russia, I picked up a German-Russian dictionary instead of an English-Russian one. I didn't want to get a headache looking up an English word and seeing that it has 300 different translations, depending on the context.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:19 AM
 
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But if you talk to the average American who took a year or 2 of Spanish in high school and still can't string together a couple of sentences in Spanish, they're going to think German (or any language) is incredibly difficult I'm sure.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:21 PM
 
Location: D.C.
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I took four years in high school, and much to my surprise I actually remembered quite a bit. I've been to Berlin and Munich, and I've been able to converse pretty well provided they don't speak too fast. As one other poster said, if you make an effort it is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:16 PM
 
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German is kind of in the middle range of difficulty for an English speaker. Harder than the Romance and Scandinavian languages, but significantly easier than Slavic, Middle Eastern, or East Asian languages.
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:46 AM
 
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My sister started learning German when she was about age 45. She took 3 semesters (I think) at a local college, then just used it often. She has a business partner in Germany, goes there once a year, and translates for German speaking judges at dog shows. She is a fluent speaker, even though she took it up late. Also, my son has taken several years of Japanese and 2 of German, at the college level. He says German has been much easier to learn.
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
For an English speaker, it takes 750 hours to learn German (to be fluent), more than French, Spanish etc (600 hours).

But it is not bad at all. Learning Chinese, Korean and Japanese takes 2200 hours.

So stop whining about how difficult it is to learn another European language. Did you see all those Asians in the US who speak pretty good English? That's 2000 hours of hard work.

Language Difficulty Ranking | Effective Language Learning

So remember this: when someone boasts about being able to speak 4 foreign European languages, it is as impressive as being able to speak Chinese or Japanese fluently.

Thank you for the link--interesting although I think it also depends somewhat on the individual. No wonder I'm having difficulty with even a single short phrase in Thai!
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:00 PM
 
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For most of us older folks learning any new language is going to be more difficult to learn than when young--but it's good brain exercise so go for it! I learned some German while living there for 2 years and then followed up at a university in the US. Being in my 20s it was quite easy. German is a very "organized" language without the pronunciation pitfalls of the English language. Just be sure to master the pronunciation of the umlauts. Hopefully your hearing is very good still as this, too, will affect your linguistic abilities.
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