German Vs. Spanish: Which Language Should You Learn?

German Vs. Spanish: Which Language Should You Learn?

You finally found some spare time to learn a new language but the new issue came out.

You can’t decide which language you should learn, can you?

Is it German or Spanish?

Well, you are in trouble, indeed.

 

But nothing to worry about. 

We will help you decide which language you should choose.

In the following lines, we are going to compare these two languages, show you their similarities and differences. 

This way, this overview will make your decision much easier.

Who knows, you might end up deciding to learn both of them.

And now, let’s dive in.

Number of Speakers

The number of people who speak the language can be one of the reasons to start learning it.

The more people speak the language, the better the chance for a language learner to practice.

With more than 415 speakers, Spanish is the second language in the world right after Chinese Mandarin.

Compared to Spanish, German, on the other hand, has only 130 million speakers.

It is a bit disappointing for German, mainly because Germany's population is more than 82 million.

Perhaps one reason is that there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries, while six countries speak German as their native.

Origin

Even though both German and Spanish belong to the Indo-European language family, they are members of different branches.

Spanish is part of the Romance languages and along with Italian, French, Catalonian, Portuguese, and Romanian, the descendant of the Vulgar Latin. It means that the Spanish language has many similarities with these languages.

German is a Germanic language. It belongs to the West Germanic branch along with Afrikaans, Dutch, English, and Yiddish. So, there is an explanation of why there are many German words in English.

Alphabet

Both languages use the Latin alphabet, which is something most of us are used to.

Spanish alphabet counts 27 letters, and the only letter characteristic for this language is worldwide-known ‘ñ,’ which sounds like ‘NY.’ 

As for the German alphabet, which counts 26 letters, there can be more than one strange letter. 

There is the ‘ß’ letter (not B), which sounds like the double S. Even though German students used to replace this letter by writing ‘ss,’ it isn’t recommended.

And let’s not forget the umlaut. There are three umlauts,  ‘Ä, ‘Ö,’ and ‘Ü.’ They make vowels sound a little bit different than the classic ones.

Pronunciation

When it comes to German vs. Spanish pronunciation, both languages use vocal cords for producing letters.

Every Spanish sound can be formed using English sounds, which means that you already know most of them. Some combinations that are a little different from English are:

  • Some Spanish-speaking countries pronounce the letter ‘c’ as ‘s,’ while others, like in Spain, insist on pronouncing ‘th.’
  • ‘B’ and ‘v’ sound almost the same. Many Spanish students struggle to find differences in pronunciation.
  • Double ‘l’ or ‘ll’ is the sound that becomes ‘y’ in some words. In Argentina, however, this sound is pronounced as ‘j’ or soft ‘sh.’ 

As for the German pronunciation, even though there are umlauts, the situation is pretty simple. 

  • The letter ‘z’ is pronounced as ‘tz.’

Umlaut Ä is pronounced as ‘e’ or ‘ay’ depending on the short or long version; Ö is pronounced by placing the lips to say O. and you pronounce Ä; Ü sound is pronounced like you want to say ‘ee,’ but you say ‘oo.’

Sentence Structure


When looking at Spanish, they have a similar pattern to English. The ‘subject-verb-object’ structure is a rule in Spanish, too.
As for German, the situation is a bit different. Even though German and English are language siblings since English is a Germanic language, the ‘subject-verb-object’ pattern isn’t something they share.
For example, when it comes to the past tense, the past participle is placed at the end of a sentence, separated from the auxiliary verb and the subject.
Subjects can also be placed in different positions in the sentence.
Even though the German sentence structure can give you a headache, you realize that it’s quite logical over time. You only have to dedicate yourself to that strange logic.

Vocabulary


As we’ve shown, Spanish and English belong to the same language family. Even though they are different, they have some similarities, such as the alphabet, sentence structure, even words.
On the other hand, the German language belongs to the same language family as English and belongs to the same branch. It means that these two languages share around 60% of words.
As you can see, English speakers have no difficulties in learning words and phrases in both languages.
But if we have to choose which vocabulary is more similar to English, we will vote in German’s favour.

Grammar

Do German and Spanish grammar differ much from each other? Or are they more similar than we think?
Let’s compare them.
Some similarities between German and Spanish:

  • Both languages have genders. While Spanish has only masculine and feminine, German has the neuter gender, too.
  • They use auxiliary verbs for tenses and reflexive verbs with the auxiliary pronoun: me, te and se in Spanish, and sich in German.
  • Both German and Spanish are written as they are pronounced. So, no weird spellings like in English or French.

And the differences are:

  • All nouns in German are written with capital letters. Only specific nouns have capital letters in Spanish, such as cities' names, people's names, etc.
  • While German is the proud owner of four noun cases, Spanish doesn’t even know what that means.
  • All plurals in Spanish end with ‘s.’ In German, however, plurals end in several ways, such as  ‘n/en, ‘r/er,’ or ‘s.’

German or Spanish: Which Language is Easier to Learn?

To determine which language is easier to learn, many categories have to be considered, such as grammar, speaking, and writing.
According to these categories, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. Its pronunciation, vocabulary, alphabet, grammar, all these parts of the language are relatively easy to learn.

On the other hand, we can't say that German is hard to learn, but it certainly isn't one of the world's hardest languages. It has its difficulties, but it's perfect logic makes German irresistible to learn once you get the language.
If we look at hours spent learning the language, to achieve some decent conversational level to learn Spanish, it takes you around 600 hours.
For German, you have to spend more than 1.800 hours.

Final Thoughts

Every language is beautiful in its own way.
And every language has its easy and challenging parts. The point is to overcome challenges and move forward.
Even though two different languages, German and Spanish, have similarities, too.
Just like ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover,’ the same way you can’t judge a language by its reputation.
If you find both languages fascinating, why not give both of them a chance?

German or Spanish: Which Language is Easier to Learn?

To determine which language is easier to learn, many categories have to be considered, such as grammar, speaking, and writing. According to these categories, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. Its pronunciation, vocabulary, alphabet, grammar, all these parts of the language are relatively easy to learn. On the other hand, we can't say that German is hard to learn, but it certainly isn't one of the world's hardest languages. It has its difficulties, but it's perfect logic makes German irresistible to learn once you get the language.

Do German and Spanish have the same origin?

Even though both German and Spanish belong to the Indo-European language family, they are members of different branches. Spanish is part of the Romance languages and along with Italian, French, Catalonian, Portuguese, and Romanian, the descendant of the Vulgar Latin. It means that the Spanish language has many similarities with these languages. German is a Germanic language. It belongs to the West Germanic branch along with Afrikaans, Dutch, English, and Yiddish. So, there is an explanation of why there are many German words in English.

How many people speak German and Spanish?

The number of people who speak the language can be one of the reasons to start learning it. The more people speak the language, the better the chance for a language learner to practice. With more than 415 speakers, Spanish is the second language in the world right after Chinese Mandarin. Compared to Spanish, German, on the other hand, has only 130 million speakers. It is a bit disappointing for Germans, mainly because Germany's population is more than 82 million. Perhaps one reason is that there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries, while six countries speak German as their native.

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