So it happens, you are somehow really into learning German. For whatever reason. Maybe you are a die hard Kraftwerk fan, or greatly interested into Prussian History of Berlin. Maybe you simply want to be able to read Schopenhauer or Marx in their original language. Or maybe you just want to understand the newest German TV Series on Netflix without having to fix your eyeballs on the subtitles, is all. Maybe you want to study Mechanical Engineering in RWTH University in Aachen or Informatik in TU Berlin. You know what they say, German is “the” language of Engineering. Or perhaps you have simply fallen in love, head over heels, with that gorgeous German girl or guy and want to make an impression. No lack of reasons for learning German as you see. Here is a non-essential guide to learning German for any reason.
Learning German: The Master Riddler
The enthusiasm, the ambition, the thirst for knowledge is there. You start with great motivation and keep on learning German however something is missing. By the time you realize that the German language revolves around three articles and these seem to follow no comprehensible rule, you experience your first little shock. Yes you should learn words, which would normally be fun. But you cannot learn them without their dedicated article. If you do, how will you handle the akkustiv and the dativ, not to mention the genitiv. You want to speak German correctly, right?
Yet, in some cases, the articles change the meaning of the word, as in:
- Der Teil and das Teil
- Die Steuer and das Steuer
- Der Verdienst and das Verdienst
- Die Otter and der Otter
- Der Tau and das Tau
Then you realise that there is this issue with the pluralisations of the nouns:
- Why is it “Häuser” but not “Hausen”?
- If so, how come it is “Studenten” but not “Stündenter”?
- If “Taxis” is the plural form of Taxi, why do we not pluralise the noun “boot” as “Boote” and not “boots”?
Where is the logic in all that, one might ask mystified. After a while, you get to deal with syntactical chain reactions disguised as words:
Holy Guacamole! What is going on here?
“The Awful German Language”
Let me quote, Mark Twain, the creator of the novel characters Tam Sawyer and Huckelberry Finn:
Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. One is washed about in it, hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid the general rage and turmoil of the ten parts of speech, he turns over the page and reads, “Let the pupil make careful note of the following exceptions.” He runs his eye down and finds that there are more exceptions to the rule than instances of it.”
This was what he said in his satirical book called “The Awful German Language”, which he has written at 1880. Don’t get me wrong, Twain actually loved the German language, nonetheless he felt the necessity of expressing his astonishment regarding the peculiarities of this language he admired.
I’m not writing all those to dis a language I like so much: German really is a brilliant language. Second to none if you intend to describe emotions, observations and to philosophise. No wonder the German philosophers have made a name for their homeland as land of the thinkers, 2 millennia after the Greeks did the same for their Greece. I solemnly believe that the language of those German thinkers also deserves quite a lot of credit for this. German Language is a vast ocean of expressions and it is certainly a very valuable trait being able to apply it eloquently.
But if this language has so big hassles and severity to learn it properly, how can one manage it?
Teach Me German, I Beseech You!
Well, different than languages like English, French or Spanish, which can be learned or even self-taught pretty much anywhere with relative ease, obviously one should learn German in the very land, in which it is spoken as main language. Because the best and possibly the only way to learn German, is the immersive way! Thus, learning German in Germany is the best option if you intend to learn German properly. German lessons in Germany will certainly provide you with the best solutions regarding speaking, pronunciation and listening comprehension. Imagine not only being limited by the hours of your lessons, but also speaking German all day, for everything, wouldn’t this be a welcome challenge?
Ich bin gerade mitten in der Serie “Per Anhalter durch die deutsche Sprache,” und suche nach die Frage nach dem Sinn des Lebens, dem Universum und dem ganzen Rest!
You would basically not only learn German, but also live in German. Even if you could not find the meaning of everything, many German cities offer a lot to see and experience. They are also not short handed in language schools.
Learning German in Berlin: Why and how?
If one must enjoy life while learning German, then Berlin is the place to be. The meeting point of Prussian Culture, German Art and History, fine architecture, creative music, energetic dances and a vivid lifestyle? Berlin is one of the most popular cities of the world to live in for people from all walks of life. Just saying!
When one also considers that it still is one of the most affordable cities in whole of Europe, it will surely be understandable why learning German in Berlin is a very good idea. You’d have plenty of time to explore the city outside the course hours, and do some of the following:
- meet wonderful interesting people from all around the world
- visit the remnants of the wall, the Brandenburg Gate and the Museum Island
- enjoy beautiful sunsets by a beautiful lake or a river
- get to bike around the interesting districts
- join a barbecue party in a beautiful park and watch acrobats, yogis and mime artists perform
- scavenge for second hand clothes, jewelry and books in a crowded flea market
- drink spicy hot wine in a Christmas market during the winter
- eat curry wurst, döner, pizza, crepes and falafel on the street
- be a Berliner during your visit, just as Kennedy did back in 1963
Be Cool While Learning German
Most importantly, be cool while learning German in Berlin. Like real cool. You can actually go to a funky language school in Berlin and even find a classmate who could place you on the guest list of the next Berghain party. If you haven’t achieved being cool in your life yet, then Berlin is the answer!
Do yourself a favor and think about learning German in Berlin while I quote David Bowie:
“Berlin, the greatest cultural extravaganza one could imagine!”