Ich wünsch’ euch allen ein tolles neues Jahr 2018. Bis nächste Woche :).
Gesundes Neues. Happy New Year.
Danke, dir auch!!
Happy New Year to all. Thought you might enjoy this tongue twister: Wer immun gegen ein Minimum an Aluminium ist, der hat eine
Ha, just did it first try! Eeeeaaaasy!! It’s nice though. I’ve never heard of it. Did you make that up?
Frohes Neues, Bruh!!! Und eine Frage…
OK Emanuel. You’re the only one who’ll tell it to us straight– like, tell us that some mistakes are “cute” and that some things (Genitiv… ahem) just aren’t worth a beginner’s time. So I’m gonna ask you whether this idea of mine could potentially fall under the “cute” category and save a lot of tears and worry!
Cases. Declension. owwwwww. I’ve been thinking about it and you know, there are really only 3 reasons this is such a bitch:
a) You have no idea why there even are cases or what they do. All right, my idea doesn’t pretend to try and help anyone with this problem.
b) You don’t know your articles STONE COLD. This is regrettable, but unlike native speakers– who have years to learn articles at a natural rate– beginners are learning words in a manic flood. Half the time when we hear a new word, we don’t want to bust up the flow by grabbing a dictionary and learning the new word’s article and plural. Or else, we’ve had the misfortune of learning by trial-and-error, or with quizzes…these suck, in my opinion, because with them we hear more wrong answers than right ones and eventually, they all sound equally plausible. It would be infinitely better if we would only ever hear/read the correct thing but alas it ain’t so.
and last of all… here’s what I want to ask you about…
c) I don’t think anyone would be half as confused by what article/ending to use if each case had brand-new and different articles/ endings. Like if in the Akkusativ all the endings were like “-el, -eb, -et” and in Dativ they were “-il, -ib, -it”. Instead, we are treated to a set of endings where some of them are recycled versions of the ones we already worked our poor asses off to learn. (DER Frau?! DEN Pferde?! what the ever living loving ****.)
Soooooo……here’s my question. It’s very much in the vein of your excellent advice to just slap an -e on all the adjectives.
Since “-en” is the ending most iconic of Akkusativ (I know there’s only one of it, but it’s the weird one) and “-em” is the ending most iconic of Dativ (again… not saying it’s the most common, but it’s the one that is nowhere else), can I just throw those puppies on everything?
The actor in a sentence gets the Nominativ, as usual. Then… The direct object(s) — whatever in Gott’s green Erde it or they are– get an “-en”. Wham. The thing(s) that are being done to get an “-em”. Bam. In the case of prepositions… we’d just learn which preposition gets an “-en” and which gets an “-em”. Pow. Plurals get “die”. You’ve said it yourself that this is cute.
Would this be, as you put it, “a cute non-native speaker mistake like saying ‘die’ all the time”…. or would it grammars bad are mistake?
Let me know. It could potentially be a lifesaver for those of us who really aren’t going for perfection.
So basically, if I understood you correctly, you want to pretend that any word is masculine in the case you struggle to remember the correct form. Which gives you a bit less than a 33% succession rate as feminine words are more common than the other genders. But the idea is not terrible I think. If you are somewhere where people absolutely have to understand you in German and that is you only problem with the language it should be okay. Recently, I came across a physician. A doctor, hence highly educated and very intelligent. But he was no native German so he wasn’t yet completely familiar with the language. Although he knew how to make the very best of it. Medical terminology, no problem, half of that is latin anyway. Conjugating verbs, easy, only a few different patterns. The only thing he struggled with were the articles and genders. So he did something very clever. He simply omitted them alltogether. He basically said a normal completely correct sentence with the right word order and conjugated verb but omitted the articles he wasn’t familiar with. And before those nouns he made a very brief pause. That left the accustomed German brain enough time to insert the correct missing article. It took me a rather long time to even realise what was wrong with his language. And it did not disturb the flow at all. Normally, using the wrong article or struggling to find the right one creates a risk to sound less professional or intelligent. But with this method, this risk was eliminated. But be careful. For it to work, the rest should be pitch perfect.
” For it to work, the rest should be pitch perfect.”… hahaha… that’s kind of daunting ;)
Well, first of let me say that you’re god damn right with what you said in the beginning. You can study cases all you want, without the correct gender it won’t help you. Case and gender combined is SO MUCH small stuff that it’ll drive you crazy as a beginner so you should just acknowledge that it’s there and move on.
I mean… when you move into a new apartment you don’t bring up one box and then unpack it completely. You just drop all the boxes in the place first and then slowly, sometimes over months, unpack them. Some might never get unpacked, but still you can live there just fine. It’s kind of the same with language learning… drop in all the boxes. Unpack later.
Now, about your plan of using the most iconic endings for each case… I’m not a big fan actually. The thing is… using masculine endings for feminine things sounds quite weird to my ears.
– Ich habe mit dem Frau gesprochen.
The “dem” is so strong in signaling “NOT FEMININE” that having a feminine noun after it creates quite a bit of tension. More than using the feminine ending for the other two.
– Ich fahre mit die Auto.
If you don’t know what to use, you don’t want to misuse the most iconic version, you’d want to use the most bland version, the one that creates least attention at I think overall that’s the feminine endings. If you want to take it one step further you could try to hit something between “die” and “dee” (mumbled “e”) so technically it could have been “die”, “dem”, “den” or “der”. AAANNND… it’s actually kinda sorta what you’re used to from English “the”, only that you’re not “th”-ing anyting ;).
So yeah bottom… ignoring the stuff until you’re somewhat fluent is a GOOD IDEA in my opinion. I know lots of resources say otherwise; like “when you learn it wrong, you’ll never be able to correct it later” blah blah blah.. The point is, you’re not learning it wrong, you’re learning it NOT. (German sentence structure right here).
You can clean up just fine later. You just need to shine the spotlight of your brain on it and it’ll come.
This is IT! what I was looking for! The permission, and a cool little trick, to get me over those pesky hang-ups that stop me from even trying. I love it!!
I chose the idea of going with the masculine words because, even if they’re only right 33% of the time, at least people might notice I’m TRYING… but I like your idea better. It really helps to know that I don’t have to wait for the magical day when I know all the articles– instead, if I concentrate my learning efforts on more vocabulary, careful attention to verbs and a better instinct for word order, then at least no one will turn away from me in disgust ;-)
Ok then, I have 2 follow-up questions.
1. In cases where the doctor skipped an article — how did he handle endings: ein-en, ein-em and the rest?
I recently had a Skype session with a new Internet friend in N Germany. My intention was to work on Aussprache, and…. miracle of miracles, she told me that my pronunciation is spot on! I was amazed to hear that and really happy… but is it a good thing? I find that, if I heard someone speaking English, if she had an accent– even a pretty thick one– but otherwise spoke correctly, it would seem charming and make her seem really intelligent and exotic. Whereas someone with great pronunciation who seems to struggle for words… I’d be like: uh oh, does this poor person have brain damage or what? Others may be less forgiving, and simply think such a person ist wirklich dumm. Your thoughts?
I might have exaggerated a bit when I said recently. It was more than a year ago. So, I cannot really remember what he did about the adjectives. Indirect or direct article, he omitted them both. He might have put the adjectives in the next sentence to avoid the ending issue, but I am not sure. I think it was something like this: “Das halb verfallene Haus steht schon seit so langer Zeit neben dem Ratskeller, dass der Nachbar es gar nicht mehr anders kennt.” –> “Haus steht schon so lange neben Ratskeller, verfällt schon halb, dass Nachbar es gar nicht mehr anders kennt.”
“Der letzte Hausmeister ging frühs immer zum Pförtner und fragte dort nach.” –> “Hausmeiser vor Ihnen ging immer frühs zu Pförtner und fragte dort nach.”
I can’t really replicate it. It wasn’t every noun, maybe every second or so. He did it really cleverly. For the pronunciation. I think it is way better to have a native sound. That really helps understanding. Even if a word is missing or the order is wrong, it helps if the rest is very clearly understood. The human brain has to fit what is said into a cluster of what is known. So it is highly more difficult to understand if somebody comes and says: “Wie ist die Uhrzeit?” but pronounces it: “Ourrseet.” You might think its an English word, or another language, and search for possible meanings. ([our seeds]”Sorry, we don’t sell seeds.”/ [Ohr sieht]”Ihr Ohr sieht gut aus, ich kann nichts erkennen.”) On the other hand, if somebody just asks: “Uhrzeit?” and pronounces it correctly, there cannot be any misunderstanding. The structure “Wie ist die…” doesn’t neccessarily help so much here, because if there is already a clear error in the sentence the rest is also in doubt. On the other hand accents are nothing to dwell about. The longer you practise the weaker they get. And the more you speak to somebody the more they get accustomed to your accent and the less problems arrise.
Ach sooooo!! Und nun, Emanuel… what do you think of this method?
I’m wondering… do you know where the guy is from? Because there are quite a few languages that don’t use articles that much and it’s a typical part of their “accent” to not use articles. Speakers from Slavic languages for instance would say something like your examples. As far as using that as a trick for avoiding having to deal with the gender-case double whammy, I’d say putting in a generic “de” (with this indistinguished “e” that we use at the end of “bitte”) makes more sense. For one thing it’s closer to the original and then, it might be kind of hard to train yourself to making a little break for rhythm’s sake and have it sound natural.
About the other thing you mentioned…. I couldn’t agree more. A thick accent can REALLY get in the way of understanding even very obvious things. I can’t give you an example right now but I did have experiences where someone would say a two word phrase that was super obvious for the given context and I just couldn’t udnerstand it because it sounded like something else/unknown/foreign. Once the brain has determined that a chunk of sound is “English” for instance, there’s no chance it’ll map it onto a German word unless you make it start over. The downsides of Gestalterkennung :)
I’d guess an Arabic or north African country, or Asia. His name wasn’t Slavic or European. I normally do not ask for something like that until it becomes relevant.
Oh, your “uhrzeit” example is perfect, by the way. Ooooorseit… I’d be like “seit what”? Do you mean “ihr seid”?? So confusing XD
” at least people might notice I’m TRYING…” Get that notion out of your head!!! Nobody gives a damn about it. If you’re able to utter a sentence in normal speed (so effectively you can communicate), then people will appreciate how well you’ve learned their language. No one will be like “Hmmm… she’s kind of fluent but I feel like she doesn’t even make an effort to get the cases right. ” “Oh, indeed. What a lazy individual. Let’s shun her.” “Yeah, I don’t wanna talk to her until I hear affart.” Come on ;). Just blabber away… it’s great!
As for accent… me personally I find it weird if someone has prefect grammar and a broad vocab but a super thick accent. I find it lazy in a way. Like… how can you invest so much work into all that stuff and then tear it down with your accent. Too thick an accent can be annoying and get in the way of understanding and it definitely pulls your C1 German down to B1.2, at least for me. If you have good pronunciation I’m much more inclined to listen to you patiently and wait while you search for words simply because it sounds pleasant. I guess it’s a matter of balance. I don’t mind an accent. But if your basically using the sound inventory of your mother tongue, to approximate another language, that is weird.
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