Saturday, December 31, 2022

Another Year of German

I have continued my study of German on Duolingo throughout this year.  I don't mean to brag (OK, maybe I do), but at the beginning of the month I received a "report card" from Duolingo.

For more than a year I have done my German lessons every day.  There are still things about the grammar and syntax of the language that I find very confusing.  The nominative, accusative and dative cases are coming to me a bit easier.  However, I still forget the gender... masculine, feminine or neuter... of many nouns.  Every noun in German has a gender, and, unlike Spanish where a noun ending in "o" is usually masculine and a noun ending in "a" is usually feminine, there is not much rhyme or reason to genders in German.  "Das Mädchen" (the girl) is neuter.  "Der Kaffee" (the coffee) is masculine.  "Die Suppe" (the soup) is feminine.  You simply have to memorize the gender of each noun.  Articles and adjectives change according to the gender of the noun they describe and according to whether the noun is singular or plural.  OK, Spanish does the same thing, but German makes it more complicated by changing the articles and adjectives again in the accusative (direct object) case or the dative (indirect object) case.  Oddly enough, I sometimes remember the gender of German nouns by thinking of Spanish.  There are quite a few words that have the same gender in both languages.  For example, "Universität" and "universidad" are both feminine.  For other words I keep in mind that the gender is the opposite of Spanish.  "Mond" (moon) is masculine, but in Spanish "luna" is feminine.

When I was at my sister-in-law's home for Christmas, she invited some neighbors over to the apartment.  One of her neighbors is a lady who was born in Germany.  I attempted to converse in German a little bit with her.  Every time I managed to say something, she exclaimed "Sehr gut!"  I also received a Christmas card from my Swiss cousin Andre.  He is the one cousin who does not speak English.  He wrote a short note in German, and I was so proud that I was able to understand it all without relying on Google Translate!

So, I guess I am making progress, and I can honestly say "Ich spreche ein bisschen deutsch." (I speak German a little.)  Someday, maybe I will actually be able to say that I am truly trilingual!   


  1. Way to go! I've been learning Danish on Duolingo since October, and I find it has many of the complexities that you've been describing about German. It feels good to stretch my brain to learn a language in a different language family than the Romance languages!

    1. Good for you! I tried Polish since that was my father's ancestry. I did one lesson and that was all. It is completely different, and the pronunciation is unbelievably difficult. At least the Germanic languages have some relation to English.
      Happy New Year!