Did you know . . .?
Kaffeeklatsch is a social meeting for coffee and casual conversations.
Although it may sound like name-calling, instead of saying "hello," Germans answer their phones by stating their last names.
In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg from Germany printed the first book.
Hitler was not a German but an Austrian native.
Germans use a comma to separate whole numbers from decimals.
Dog owners in Germany often call their dogs, Schatzi.
English language can use the article "the" for all specific or particular nouns, but the
German language requires masculine, feminine or
neuter case articles. Masculine nouns use "der," feminine nouns "die," and neuter nouns "das." For example, die Frau, der Mann, das Mädchen, der Hund, die Hündin, das Hündchen (the woman, the man, the girl, the dog, the puppy).
Unfortunately for nonnative German language learners, grammatical gender does not relate to natural gender in the German language, and the use of the definite articles "der," "die" or "das" in front of nouns is quite arbitrary. For example, "der Tisch, die Decke, das Pferd (the table, the cover, the horse) doesn't mean the table is masculine, the cover is female or the horse is a foal. For these reasons, its best to learn all the German nouns together with their definite articles.
Most sentences in English follow the Subject+Verb+Object order. In the German language word order is not that important because inflected verbs or articles let you know who or what does what to whom or what. For example, we can say "Der Hund beißt den Mann, meaning "The dog bites the man" OR "Den Mann beißt der Hund." The meaning doesn't change because the masculine noun "der" was changed to "den" to let us know who receives the action.
Did you know . . .?
Because "case" (nominative, accusative, or dative) is very important in the German language, the German language can have some flexibility in word order, which the English language does not have.
Phonetic /fəˈnɛtɪk/ symbols can show you how to
pronounce a word in any language. Although it will take some time to
learn the sounds of each symbol, once you know them, you will also have
learned that knowing the sounds of the alphabet doesn't mean you will
know how to pronounce a written word correctly.
of the reasons English is difficult to learn is because English
has many inconsistencies in pronunciation. For example: The written
word "tear" can mean you're crying when you pronounce it /tɪər/ or you ripping something apart when you pronounce it /tɛər/. Another example is the word "wound." You could mean the past tense of "wind" if you say /waʊnd/. However, if you say /wund/ people think you are referring to an injury.
Although the German language also has words that have different meaning even when the spelling is the same, the articles of the words often vary, e.g. "der Leiter" means "the director," while "die Leiter can mean the plural form of "director" or "the ladder."
Check out the Pronunciation Tips found on this website for more information on German pronunciation. If you would like to hear German spoken out loud, check out the free German Lessons on this website. You may also want to use some free translations sites found on the web, such as Google or Bing Translate on which you can type in any text, press a sound button and hear the entire text spoken out loud. FANTASTIC! Don't you agree?
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