and welcome to another German Word of the Day – What is the Difference Special. And today, we’ll look at the difference between
kennen and wissen
A real problem. Unless your mother tongue is Spanish. Or Italian. Or French. Or Portuguese.
Or Swedish. Or Norwegian. Or Finnish. Or Hungarian.
Because all these languages have two words as well.
That’s right, English language. You can’t give German the “Really?? Two words for one thing?“-look this time ;).
Old English actually had two verbs, too. There was to know, which is related to the Latin and Greek family that diagnosis and recognize come from. And there was witan which, just like German wissen, belong to the of vision. But then English speakers were like “What a waste… let’s just pick one.” and started using to know for everything while witan only got to live on in wisdom and wit. And generations of English speakers have since struggled to wrap their mind around the difference between wissen and kennen.
Well… today, this will change because I have found a really simple, really effective way to tell them apart.
And if you’re mother tongue is one of the languages above, that also have two words… well, you could read on anyway and share in the comments whether that would work for your language as well. Sounds good? Cool.