Twain essay german language

Life is too short to learn german

Here was a case where simplicity would have been an advantage; therefore, for no other reason, the inventor of this language complicated it all he could. In German, all the Nouns begin with a capital letter. Instead, I think we should all borrow liberally from other languages. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German. 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. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German. Whenever I come across a good one, I stuff it and put it in my museum. And it cannot get her out. There are three-quarters of a column of Schlags in the dictionary, and a column and a half of Zugs. Or did Jonathan Swift coin the expression in a poem in ?

And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she will surely escape with him. In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife Weib is not -- which is unfortunate.

On German grammar: In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has.

quotes about germany

Dative -- Meinem guten Freund, to my good friend. German spelling is almost perfectly phonetic; what you see is what you get.


Flammable and imflammable to all intents and purposes appear to be the same, although I am sure there is supposed to be some degree of difference! There is also tremendous solace to be taken in the fact that Mark Twain, one of the most accomplished exercisers of the English language, not only engaged in his own struggle to learn German but also decided to turn his rapier wit on the source of his discomfort. This is its simple and exact meaning -- that is to say, its restricted, its fettered meaning; but there are ways by which you can set it free, so that it can soar away, as on the wings of the morning, and never be at rest. 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. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl. Obviously it doesn't prevent all communication. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. Then there are some words which mean one thing when you emphasize the first syllable, but mean something very different if you throw the emphasis on the last syllable. Wilhelm, where is the turnip? It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German.

There are three-quarters of a column of Schlags in the dictionary, and a column and a half of Zugs. Wilhelm: It has gone to the opera.

Twain essay german language

Spellings, pronunciations, meanings, and usages vary drastically by location. Why bother when you can immerse yourself in Bild Zeitung, which has short sentences and lots of pictures of football players and scantily-clad women.

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"The Awful German Language" by Mark Twain