Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why is German Difficult? the ARTICLES from hell...that's why.

My German Class Girlies (Elahe is my bestie in the class)

Many other languages have masculine and feminine articles. German has three: der (m), die (f) and das (n)...they added a neutral in there to spice things up a bit.

Not only must you memorize each noun with its appropriate article, but you also must memorize the 8 billion rules that go with them depending on the noun's grammatical case in the sentence. Meaning...it changes depending on where it is in the sentence...whether it is the subject of the verb, the subject of a preposition or just chilling out in the nominative case. Each one of these means a mutated form of the original der, die or das. (And die is not pronounced like 'die' like I know you are reading it...it's pronounced 'dee'...and 'der' is 'dair', k?)

So...everytime my teacher introduces a new rule and different forms of the articles I get a little peesed. Can't you just use 'the' and 'a' with the occasional 'an' and call it a day? Our class is over next week and we haven't even learned all the cases. I'm signing up for the Level 2 class as soon as I can. I am no where NEAR fluent. I can finish a worksheet (that's usually just repetition of the same subect) in no time, but speaking is a whole 'nother story. So is writing. So is understanding the dialect...I have no hope there. Have I mentioned that sometimes they use one way in writing and another in speaking? All past tense is different when written than when spoken. You Deutsch $#$@!

Today I went in to do my Lebenslauf (resume) with the lady from the government job place. Umm...she barely knew how to use the computer. I took the keyboard from her and started typing it out myself at one point. She was actually glad not to have to peck it out herself. You MUST have a photo on your resume (naturally, so they can judge you based on how you look), your date of birth, nationality and sometimes religion. Oh, and you put down every school you went to since Kindergarten. I was doing math on a scratch sheet of paper for the years. They are not joking.

Not that you care (because I sure wouldn't if I still lived in the Land o' English Bliss), but I'm just gonna show you some examples. "Zum Beispiel" if you will.
Nominative: Der Apfel ist grün. (The apple is green.)
Accusative: Ich esse den Apfel. (I eat the apple.)
Dative: Ich gehe zur Schule mit dem Apfel. (I go to school with the apple.)
Genitive: Die Samen des Apfels sind braun. (The apple's seeds are brown.)
(Nouns are always capitalized)
Possessive pronouns also change depending on the noun's gender and case...and so do the damn adjectives!
Once I master these (I have my doubts), well, probably by then it will be time to move.

P.S. I gotta stop taking Elsie out in the streets because I'm stopped every 5 minutes with oohing and ahhing women (and men!) "Mein Gott! Sie ist sehr süß! Wie alt ist sie?" and I can't take anymore non-fresh Deutsch breath.


brookes said...

Just looking at that graph hurt my brain. Good luck, friend! I'm guessing people are saying, "My God! That is a dog! Where is she?" when they talk to you about Elsie. I'm almost fluent! HA!

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh that hurt my brain too. I'll be following in your footsteps shortly. yikes!

: ) Anna P-S

Kimberly said...

Good luck, girl! Seems muy complicado!

R. said...

It makes me so happy that you are blogging. Please don't stop. You make me laugh Miss Chip.

1richtungsblog said...

Come out here and we teach you some propper "steirisch"! :)

ps: es heißt - die Samen des Apfels sind braun! ;)

juliette said...

yes - i TOTALLY feel your pain, even after doing this for 2+ years! I just randomly pick genders, most of the time it's "die", lol. I just give up most times, ugh!

and the photo/marriage status, etc on the Lebenslauf...oh gosh. Yes. I sent several out, had a couple of interviews (and they were like long, drawn out mündliche prüfungen themselves - yikes!) and it was just difficult in general. Honestly, my husband wrote my cover letters for me and I just read them over to be sure I was ok with them. Stupid genders - get one wrong and the whole sentence is screwed! >:(

Erin said...

i'm still laughing about "You Deutsch $@#$%!

Allison said...

I learned German the non-traditional way... a few tutorial CD's from the library, "learn Germnan free" internet sites, music CD'S, and simply listening to my new family... BUT no one ever told me how important it is to learn the article with the word. So I simply learned Tisch, Lampe, and Kind without the Der, Die, Das. So needless to say, my German grammar is pretty lacking. I use "die" for just about everything (probably because it sounds closest the "the") and thank my lucky stars that many Germans find my messed up grammar to be quite charming. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I hear ya with the gender chaos. I'm taking the super slow twice a week course at ISOP. I don't think I could take the intensive everyday course that you did. I simply don't have enough room in my brain for a taglich (no umlauts on my keyboard) dose of this stuff. I'm looking forward to the general meeting dinner tonight. Let's throw around some good 'ole English for a few hours! Give me a "THE", give me an "A", give me an "AN"!

Aqida said...

Hahaha. Can totally relate to this. I was taking the A1/1 course myself and as much as it did help with shopping, I didn't get anywhere close to understanding anything I listened to or even speaking anything. I've started the A1/2 course. Hopefully I'll get to learn some more.

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