I saw this on Facebook today and thought you guys might enjoy it: Conjugation - Imgur
Whoever posted that on Facebook must have been awesome.
Thank you Paule for sharing this! Very funny. My daughter likes it too. So there is no longer an excuse for German learners that German is hard …
Majority of the forms we never use in practise though. However all of them are understandable for (advanced) Finnish speakers.
While I think that was funny, it also kind of annoying that this kind of presentations could give the wrong impression and intimidate people from starting to learn Finnish. Finnish has also many easy sides to it.
Make a comic about it and your voice shall be heard
When it comes to pronunciation, you could more or less invert that comic. English can be really difficult to pronounce, and in Swedish, I can imagine all these (pretty important words): sjö, skön, sju, sjuk, sjunga, skjuta, sköta, skölja, stjärna, kärna, etc. can be a bit of a challenge. Now swedish is a official language in Finland as well, so one could say Finland is a great place for a language challenge!
That’s not even touching on the ‘j’, ‘i’ and ‘y’, which are all a bit weird and tricky, or the rolled ‘r’. What Swedish lacks in difficulty in grammar it definitely makes up for in pronunciation…
Finnish on the other hand is quite easy to pronounce; you just have to sound fantastically intense^^
" English can be really difficult to pronounce"
Not only that…
-they use a small amount of letters for a huge amount of different sounds (they don´t have letter´s for the 2 “th”-sounds and often 2 or more sounds “share” the same letter or syllable, for example)
- the spelling is horribly inconsistent, to a point where I try to ignore the spelling and read English words like pictographs.
- there are many different accents to choose from. For example, I mostly heard the word “New Zealand” from New Zealanders…which is why I pronounce that word like they do. A few weeks ago, someone from 'murica told me that I´m mispronouncing “New Zealand”…
Ðat’s tru, ða spelling es awhfel en Englesh. Meibi wi nid a riform. Ða þeng es þo, a riform af ðes kaliber mait bi kwait kanfyusing.
Nice cartoon. I just stumbled over “der Hunden”. This form doesn’t exist in German.
“Meibi wi nid a riform”
Isn´t it spelled “Mäibi wi niid ä riiform”?^^
I don’t think anybody on this thread has made such an argument, but I have heard a lot of arguments of the form
“How can you say language X is especially difficult. There are also difficulties in English and therefore English and language X are equally as difficult.”
Such arguments ignore all shades of grey. Of course there are major difficulties in English. After less than two years learning German, I feel like I can spell words after hearing them for the first time much better in German than in English. There are irregularities in the German spelling system, but they are not frequent and not a difficulty (see, this is where shades of grey are important). I am sure there are other major difficulties that are particular to English.
Do these difficulties exceed the difficulties in German? For me, it is hard to say since I have never learned English as a foreign language. Based on what a lot of people who have learned both say, the answer is no. It appears that German has difficulties that far exceed the difficulties in English. For example, there is the massively irregular system of German noun genders, the irregular system of German noun pluralisations, the irregular case system (a lot of people think there are standard rules for choosing between accusative and dative but I have never seen such a system that applies to more than a small number of situations), the massive number randomly reflexive verbs (and the random choice between accusative and dative for the reflexive pronouns), and the smaller number of randomly declining nouns. These are just the irregularities and it’s not until you get into the regular bits, such as the articles and the adjective declension, that the fun begins, but that’s a story for another time…
Anyway, in terms of grammar, Russian makes German look like Esperanto.
“Such arguments ignore all shades of grey”
All 50 of them?
“Based on what a lot of people who have learned both say, the answer is no. It appears that German has difficulties that far exceed the difficulties in English…”
I can´t tell if what you wrote is true because I don´t speak grammarnese at all.^^
It also depends on your native language, I guess. Many people who speak a slavic language as their native language told me, that German is much more intuitive for them because it uses a case system. Then again, someone who speaks a romance language will find English much easier than German.
Besides that, English music, English loanwords and american culture are everywhere…someone who starts learning English at the age of 10 probably already knows a lot of words and has already listened to thousands of hours of English before he/she even takes his/her first English lesson.
I can imagine that German is “harder” (by whatever standard) but I find that there´s more to the difficulty of a language than the grammatical system of a language.
“All 50 of them?”
I am not proud of it, but I did recently read the first 30% of this book translated into German on my Kindle. Oh my god!
I find the biggest difficulty in German is not any of the things I mentioned before. The most difficult part of German for me is the verbs with prefixes. It is not that the grammar is so complicated. It is just that the meanings are so hard to learn. You can have two verbs with completely different meanings that only differ because one has an ab- stuck onto the beginning and the other has an ein-.
I think most languages tend to balance out anyway.
German may be more 'grammar’y than English, but that also makes it more logical and precise. Japanese kanji may take longer to learn at first, but they’re more intuitive than sequences of sound-markers once you understand them.
Swedish barely has grammar, but its pronunciation is weird and difficult.
Finnish has ALL THE GRAMMAR but is compact and quite easy to pronounce.
All languages are simultaneously easy and hard (adjusted accordingly to suit the base knowledge you’re working with).
People should learn their languages instead of complaining about how hard they are (unless of course they are complaining in the form of an amusing comic).^^
Why would the difficulties balance out?
Uh, well, they just seem to often do that. Like in the examples I gave.
“Language A has a lot of grammar that’s difficult to learn, but that makes it more precise than Language B that doesn’t have so much grammar.” (difficult thing → easy thing)
“This language has very difficult grammar, but it has very simple pronunciation.” (difficult in this way, easy in that way)
Do you not normally find that?
I think if you compare any two languages, in most cases Language A will have difficulties that Language B will not have, and Language B will have difficulties that Language A will not have. However, these difficulties will be of different magnitudes and it would be quite random for them to balance out. When I look at the different difficulties in German, some are minor in comparison to others.
As Paule said, it is hard to compare the difficulties simply from one’s own experience. German is the only language I have learned a lot of, but I have also studied Russian, Chinese, and French, though I have not learned more than a few basic words in each of these (French I studied for about two weeks). In terms of difficulty, I would say they differ hugely (from easy to hard: French, German, Chinese, Russian), but I can’t say how much of that was due to the language, and how much was due to similarities with English.