Read The Awful German Language by Mark Twain Online


The Awful German Language is an essay by Mark Twain published as Appendix D in his 1880 book A Tramp Abroad The essay is a humorous exploration of the frustrations a native speaker of English has with learning German as a second language Mark Twain pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835 1910 made his first unsuccessful attempt to learn German in 1850 at age fifteen He resumed his study 28 years later in preparation for a trip to Europe Upon his arrival in Germany, the fruit of this recent scholarship was attested to in the advice of a friend Speak in German, Mark Some of these people may understand English During this 1878 stay in Germany, Twain had a dream in which, according to his notebook, all bad foreigners went to German Heaven couldn t talk and wished they had gone to the other place The Awful German Language was published in the second volume of Twain s A Tramp Abroad, 1880, as appendix D Gunilla Anderman and Margaret Rogers describe the work as Twain s most famous philological essay On October 31, 1897, Twain delivered a lecture titled Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache The Horrors of the German Language in English to the Concordia Festkneipe in Vienna the Vienna Press Club Twain continued to give lectures into the 20th century regarding the language Twain describes his exasperation with German grammar in a series of eight humorous examples that include separable verbs, adjective declension, and compound words He is, as the subject suggests, focusing on German as a language, but Twain is also dealing with English to compare the two languages This allows for an analysis in linguistic weight assigned to various typological and stylistic aspects of language which revolve around the difference between an analytic language like English with a language like German that is a synthetic language with some analytic characteristics Twain emphasizes these changes through interlinear translation, a manner of translation which tries to preserve the original language without context and in a literal manner, and this method emphasizes the mechanics of the language translated Morphology The German language contains a complex system of inflection that is capable of frustrating learners in a manner similar to Twain s argument 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 exceptions to the rule than instances of it The inflections within the language are used to represent both syntax and semantics, and function is assigned in hard to grasp ways, which combine with Twain s claim about exceptions being rather common in the German language Part of this stems from the language s word order, along with gender, number, and other linguistic aspects, being connected to the morphology of individual words One of the key emphases within the work is on German linguistic gender Twain plays with the differences in natural or sexual gender and linguistic or grammatical gender Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in distribution so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart There is no other way To do this one has to have a memory like a memorandum book The problem with the linguistic gender is that it appears to make sense in theory, but it operates in an illogical manner, as Twain illustrates by mercilessly needling the Germans for what to an outsider appears to be needless foolishness....

Title : The Awful German Language
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1987737652
ISBN13 : 978-1987737653
Format Type : Audio Book
Language : Englisch
Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 15 April 2018
Number of Pages : 48 Seiten
File Size : 686 KB
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Awful German Language Reviews

  • Miguel Forcadell Marco
    2019-06-28 20:21

    It is a very funny book, which it still make a lot of sense. Specially if you are a foreigner living in Germany.

  • Isabelle Klein
    2019-07-14 16:33

    Aüßerst heiter und gekonnt schildert der Erfinder Huckleberry Finns die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache. Jahrelange harte Arbeit am Erlernen einer Sprache, deren Logik und grammatikalische Besonder- und Fragwürdigkeiten einen Amerikaner an den Rand der Verzweiflung treiben. Sei es durch die Veränderung der Artikel bei der Deklination oder die Mehrfachbesetzung des Pronomens "sie"; durch zusammengesetzen Substantive, oder endlose Parenthesen ...Das kleine Werk unterhält bestens und lässt einen die ungeahnten ;) Schwierigkeiten der Muttersprache aus der Sicht eines Deutsch-Lernenden bestens nachvollziehen. Nicht immer ganz einfach zu verstehen, bei einigen Passagen musste ich durchaus 2-3 mal lesen. Nichtsdestotrotz gut verständlich mit Schmunzelfaktor.Enthält auch den kurzen Aufsatz des Autors "Horrors of the German Language"!Tipp: ich habs auf dem Kindle als PDF gelesen.

  • caterina weiss
    2019-07-03 17:18

    Cute book, will make a great gift! I am a German citizen and found great joy in this book.

  • Amazon Customer
    2019-07-07 16:27

    Cheaply made garbage.

  • Lisa Tsukada
    2019-07-02 16:27

    We enjoyed this humorous book!

  • Guang Wu
    2019-07-01 18:36

    Very recently, I tried to learn German language, and it is not only funny to read this essay by Mark Twain, but also Mark Twain's analysis is real.Moreover, I feel that Mark Twain had a quite good command of German. Anyway this essay is useful for people to learn German.On the other hand, I do hope that there are other similar analysis on other languages, which would give the learners a basic concept on the language to learn.

  • R. Armstrong
    2019-06-30 18:09

    This excellent essay is published as Appendix D of Twain's "A Tramp Abroad", which is available for $0.00 on Amazon.