Frohes Neues Jahr

Ich wünsch’ euch allen ein tolles neues Jahr  2018.
Bis nächste Woche :). 


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Gesundes Neues. Happy New Year.

Anne Maxwell-Jackson
Anne Maxwell-Jackson

Happy New Year to all. Thought you might enjoy this tongue twister: Wer immun gegen ein Minimum an Aluminium ist, der hat eine



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… Read more »



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.


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?

2. Pronunciation.

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?