Do You Have the “Drang” to Learn German?
Wherever you are in your journey towards German perfection (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), deutschdrang can get you a little closer to your goal. Mark Twain called it “The Awful German Language”, but of course he was (half) kidding.
“Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless,”
and so slippery and elusive to the grasp.”
Mark Twain, “The Awful German Language”
While I disagree with the first part of Mark Twain’s statement–German is by no means “slipshod” or “systemless”–I must admit that it is very “slippery and elusive to the grasp.” I have over twenty years of teaching experience with German, but it never ceases to amaze me how difficult it must be for a non-native speaker to learn the language. Growing up with German as my native language, I took its complexities for granted, and only through teaching it did I come to truly appreciate the fact that I was “born into it” and did not have to learn it as a foreign language. That said, I admire anyone who attempts it and more so anyone who persists, and I hope that my pages will
* open your mind to other cultures
* provide useful links to other resources
* increase your desire to learn
* and maybe even entertain a little.
So scratch that itch and follow your “Deutschdrang”! Viel Spaß!
Read the complete text of Twain’s essay or listen to an audio version online.The essay is most entertaining for those who have already studied German to some extent and can relate to the language concepts lampooned by the author. English worksheet with questions about the essay. Easy-to-read pdf of the text that could be used to answer the questions.
If you want to compare German and English next to each other, check out our deutschdrang blog, which includes short BILINGUAL articles on various topics related to German and/or German-speaking countries. Each article features a short learning activity. Levels vary, but most appropriate for upper-level beginners and up.