Is German Easy to Learn? An Honest Analysis

Is German Easy to Learn? An Honest Analysis

Did you know that English is a Germanic language?

Yes, it is close relative to Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, and, above all, German.

You've probably noticed that Germans don’t have a problem speaking English quite well. Seems like they know it from kindergarten.

But what about the other way around?

Do the English and other ESL people speak German the way Germans speak English?

How do they learn it?

Do they struggle and even after months and years still don't achieve some decent conversational level?

That's what we'll be about to find out.

In this post, we will see together is German easy to learn?

Let's dive in.

What Makes a Language Easy to Learn?

Learning any language is as easy as people might think. You can't become fluent overnight.

Perhaps,  if you have a magic wand, but let's take a look from a Muggle’s point of view.

You And Your Knowledge

Educated people have better knowledge in general. They know how everything works, at least the basics, from business to understanding culture.

They also know how to learn something, and if they don't, they know to find the way.

When talking about learning languages, this type of person will give their best to see which ways and learning methods suit them to learn the language quickly and efficiently.

Your Native Language

What is your native language?

Is it similar to German or they are so different like the east and west?

That's one more thing that can determine whether German is for you easy to learn or you will have difficulties achieving some decent conversational level.

When your native language is similar to your target one, learning it makes it easy. The reason is simple: in similar languages, many language parts are almost the same, such as the alphabet, pronunciation, grammar, even vocabulary.

You would be surprised how many English words originate from German, for example.

The More Languages You Speak, Better For You

You’ve probably familiar with many advantages while speaking more than one language, from the business, through social benefits, to the healthy ones. 

So, the more languages you speak, the easier it will be to learn the next one.

The reason is simple: you know which parts of the language to pay attention to and which ones are easy to learn. 

You also know which ways and learning methods work for you to learn the language more efficiently.

Moreover, if you learn a foreign language similar to your native’s, not only can you use that advantage, but you can also learn the other languages you speak to facilitate you learning the new one.

What Makes German Hard to Learn?

Why do so many people think that German is one of the hardest languages to learn, especially those who just start to learn the language and think it is also impossible to learn?

German can be tricky, indeed, but with your commitment and goodwill, it isn’t impossible.

However, like in any other language, German has some tricky parts you have to pay attention to.

Noun Genders

German has three genders: masculine, feminine and neutral. That wouldn’t be so questionable if noun genders aren’t random. If you want to follow rules and patterns about noun genders, you won’t succeed in it, so you will have to remember genders for every noun you learn.

Verb Conjugations

I German, similar to French and Spanish, verbs’ spelling and pronunciation can change depending on the tense and subject.

So, in the beginning, this can be a little annoying, but keep practicing because you will get to the point when you will actually be amazed at conjugating verbs in German.

Regular Vs. Irregular Verbs

Here’s another challenging thing while learning German. To use the verbs correctly, first, you will have to learn which ones are regular, that is, irregular ones. When you remember that, you’ll have to know how to conjugate them.

Remembering all those verbs will be a huge job, but not impossible.

Grammatical Cases

Even though many of you would say that grammatical cases are reserved for Slavic languages, German uses them, too.

In German, you won’t find so many like in Russian, but four of them should be enough to confuse you. They are nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative.

What Makes German Easy to Learn?

From the previous lines, you’ve got that learning a foreign language doesn’t only depend on that specific language, but also other things.

Foreign Service Institute made a classification of languages according to the average English learner. There are five different categories, from the languages that belong to category 1, that is, the languages that are similar to English to category 5, which are languages that are exceptionally difficult for English speakers to learn.

As for German, it belongs to category 2, which takes 33 weeks or 750 hours to learn the language on a conversational level.

German And English Vocabularies Are The Same

Both German and English belong to the same language family, and also the same branch. West Germanic, which means that they have a lot of things in common.

Take a look at some words, such as haus (house), hamburger, or kindergarten. Those are only a few examples of German words in English we use every day

All those words are spelled and pronounced almost the same, which facilitates learning new common German words a lot.

Or months of the year in German, for example. Without even knowing the meanings, not only can you guess the names of the months, but you can also know how to pronounce them.

German Pronunciation

At first sight, it seems like German pronunciation is something you will struggle a lot with.

But take one more look. It isn’t as hard as you might think.

The best way to realize that is to start learning the alphabet, where you will see that each letter has the rule of how to be pronounced, unlike in English, where many sounds can change without some particular explanation.

A little more challenging might be the ‘R’ sound, but with practice, with German tongue twisters, you can master this sound, too.

Grammatical Cases

Yes, we’ve said that grammatical cases can be a little tricky, especially when you are meeting them for the first time.

Believe it or not, our English knowledge can help you with the cases. Any of you have probably forgotten that in English, we also have nominative and accusative but we aren’t aware of that. 

In the sentence, ‘I gave her a flower’ the pronoun ‘her’ is in accusative form, while the nominative form is ‘she.’

As you see, you already know two grammatical cases, which is in our case, half the job done.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, even though there are some challenging parts in German, it isn’t impossible to learn the language. On the other hand, there are also some easy parts, and some parts you don’t even have to learn because you already know them but you weren’t aware of that.

So, German surely isn’t among the easiest languages to learn, but it surely isn’t the language that can give you a lifetime headache.

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