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Old 19.11.2007, 19:04
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Learning German = Better English?

I've been studying German at Berlitz for about a month now. I've noticed that learning German has forced me to get a better understanding of English grammar. Has anyone else experienced this? I mean, realistically, how can one understand dativ and akkusativ if one doesn't know what the subject and predicate are? Then you have to know what adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions are because sometimes the nouns following them have to be declined according to case/gender/singular or plural.

It is also interesting when I ask my Swiss boyfriend for help. He gives me the right answer but has no idea why the answer is what it is. He just says, "I don't know. That's just the way it is. " Okay so I understand that German grammatik was something he learned when he was 10 years old but if someone asked me why in English, we say "an apple" vs. "a apple", I would definitely be able to provide an explanation other than "that's just the way it is."

But all comments aside, I find German to be a truly fascinating language. I love how I am inadvertently also becoming stronger in English because of it.
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Old 19.11.2007, 19:07
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

Some of us paid attention in school and learnt the required grammar courtesy of Mastery-of-English.

dave


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I've been studying German at Berlitz for about a month now. I've noticed that learning German has forced me to get a better understanding of English grammar. Has anyone else experienced this? I mean, realistically, how can one understand dativ and akkusativ if one doesn't know what the subject and predicate are? Then you have to know what adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions are because sometimes the nouns following them have to be declined according to case/gender/singular or plural.

It is also interesting when I ask my Swiss boyfriend for help. He gives me the right answer but has no idea why the answer is what it is. He just says, "I don't know. That's just the way it is. " Okay so I understand that German grammatik was something he learned when he was 10 years old but if someone asked me why in English, we say "an apple" vs. "a apple", I would definitely be able to provide an explanation other than "that's just the way it is."

But all comments aside, I find German to be a truly fascinating language. I love how I am inadvertently also becoming stronger in English because of it.
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  #3  
Old 19.11.2007, 19:31
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

Some of were lucky enough to study Latin at school. It seemed a pain in the neck at the time, but paid off for learning German later.

Luther's translation of the Bible was apparently a key factor in defining the written German language. His knowledge of Greek and Latin no doubt helped. A brief blurb about that here.

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Translated into a fresh and homely high German, this Bible helped shape both Lutheran piety and the German language for centuries to come.
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Old 19.11.2007, 19:34
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

What you say is true.

When I was at school I had no interest on the language and grammar courses, not even in the foreign language courses ( english ) even so I had good scores on those. My thing was science.

My mother tongue is Spanish. I learned english as a business need because, all the university level books back then were in english, I then learned english, but this was not an eye-opener because english is the most simple and plain language regarding to grammar.

The fact to have to learn after, French and then German and finally Italian ( for love and not by need ) and also the very basics of Czech/Slovak ( for love again ), showed me to appreciate the very interesting domain of languages and also to understand more my own.

After you learn the language's structure, then it comes a much more interesting topic. The language usage. The language as a living thing and as an expression of a culture.

There are many interesting examples but take for example the words used for "business" :
  • In English is a "business" implies something in the present, something that keeps us occupied.
  • In Latin languages is " une entreprise" "una empresa", implies something in the future, something you'll abord.
  • In Germanic Languages "ein Geschäft" implies something in the past. It is something you have accomplished already.
This little example show you the view the three different cultures have about the same concept.
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Old 20.11.2007, 09:08
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

A better understanding of English grammar through learning a foreign language? Absolutely.

In many places, grammar is only taught in primary school, and then nothing is done in high school English classes. I studied German during most of my time at high school, and to have to go through grammar all over again (albeit for a different language) reinforced what I already knew in English.
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Old 20.11.2007, 09:29
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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I've been studying German at Berlitz for about a month now. I've noticed that learning German has forced me to get a better understanding of English grammar. Has anyone else experienced this? I mean, realistically, how can one understand dativ and akkusativ if one doesn't know what the subject and predicate are? Then you have to know what adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions are because sometimes the nouns following them have to be declined according to case/gender/singular or plural.

It is also interesting when I ask my Swiss boyfriend for help. He gives me the right answer but has no idea why the answer is what it is. He just says, "I don't know. That's just the way it is. " Okay so I understand that German grammatik was something he learned when he was 10 years old but if someone asked me why in English, we say "an apple" vs. "a apple", I would definitely be able to provide an explanation other than "that's just the way it is."

But all comments aside, I find German to be a truly fascinating language. I love how I am inadvertently also becoming stronger in English because of it.
And if you study to teach 'English as a foreign language', as a native speaker you will find you (should) know all the answers - you just have to learn the questions.

You may be able to explain 'an apple', but than apply that rule to 'a European'.

BTW the German-speaking Swiss are quite good at grammar as they have to learn High German when they arrive at school and so are open to grammar. The Swiss find it incredible that English kids are not taught the tenses at school (one of the most difficult things in English - especially compared to Swiss German) because we already know them when we go to school...
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Old 20.11.2007, 09:56
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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And if you study to teach 'English as a foreign language', as a native speaker you will find you (should) know all the answers - you just have to learn the questions.

You may be able to explain 'an apple', but than apply that rule to 'a European'.
Or worse, "an hour", "a hotel", "an hotel" <evil grin>

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BTW the German-speaking Swiss are quite good at grammar as they have to learn High German when they arrive at school and so are open to grammar. The Swiss find it incredible that English kids are not taught the tenses at school (one of the most difficult things in English - especially compared to Swiss German) because we already know them when we go to school...
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Old 20.11.2007, 10:09
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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What you say is true.

When I was at school I had no interest on the language and grammar courses, not even in the foreign language courses ( english )

My mother tongue is Spanish. I learned english as a business need because, all the university level books back then were in english, I then learned english, but this was not an eye-opener because english is the most simple and plain language regarding to grammar.

The fact to have to learn after, French and then German and finally Italian ( for love and not by need ) and also the very basics of Czech/Slovak ( for love again ), showed me to appreciate the very interesting domain of languages and also to understand more my own.

After you learn the language's structure, then it comes a much more interesting topic.

There are many interesting examples but take for example the words used for "business" :
  • In English is a "business" implies something in the present, something that keeps us occupied.
  • In Latin languages is " une entreprise" "una empresa", implies something in the future, something you'll abord.
  • In Germanic Languages "ein Geschäft" implies something in the past. It is something you have accomplished already.
This little example show you the view the three different cultures have about the same concept.
Just a few nitpicks, if you'll allow me, Salsa Lover:

1. no interest on? (no interest in)
2. regarding to grammar? (in terms of grammar; as far as grammar is concerned; or grammatically)
3. showed me to appreciate (allowed me to appreciate; or made me appreciate)
4. something you'll abord? (What did you mean by 'abord'?)

English isn't that simple and plain for you after all, is it?



P.S. Learning German has made me take a closer look at the structure and components of English sentences.

Last edited by argus; 20.11.2007 at 10:11. Reason: to add postscript
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Old 20.11.2007, 10:14
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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Just a few nitpicks, if you'll allow me, Salsa Lover:

<snip>
English isn't that simple and plain for you after all, is it?

Nor is Spanish for you, I'll wager...
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:01
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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Just a few nitpicks, if you'll allow me, Salsa Lover:

1. no interest on? (no interest in)
2. regarding to grammar? (in terms of grammar; as far as grammar is concerned; or grammatically)
3. showed me to appreciate (allowed me to appreciate; or made me appreciate)
4. something you'll abord? (What did you mean by 'abord'?)

English isn't that simple and plain for you after all, is it?



P.S. Learning German has made me take a closer look at the structure and components of English sentences.
I'd like to have a credit card with no interest on it though. ;-)
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:16
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

Thank you argus for your nitpicks, every day has a lesson to learn.

I am sorry that my english is not perfect. But with my very bad english I have managed to communicate and work in NY and London, and in many other countries when used as a "lingua franca" that I need less and less as I can now communicate in French, German, Italian, Spanish and even in Salsaloveriitüütscht... So I think I can feel happy about that..


P.S. abord was a fausse-amie from french "aborder", in the sense that you'll go on board of a ship or figuratively to start something.

but it is in the Enblish dictionary though


Abord
v. t. [F. aborder, à (L. ad) + bord rim, brim, or side of a vessel. See Border, Board.]
To approach; to accost. [Obs.] Digby.
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:20
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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You may be able to explain 'an apple', but than apply that rule to 'a European'.

.
Isn't it an European....'an' when the next word begins with a vowel or an H..sure I was told that by someone.
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:27
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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Isn't it an European....'an' when the next word begins with a vowel or an H..sure I was told that by someone.
No, if the stress falls on the first syllable then a is used

a history of lace through the ages

if the stress is on the second syllablethe an is used

an historical event

As far as a European, yŏŏr'ə-pē'ən

The Y sound makes it a.

Which begs the question, why isn't y a vowel?
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:28
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

Its like music: learn the rules, because then you know how to break them...

dave


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Isn't it an European....'an' when the next word begins with a vowel or an H..sure I was told that by someone.
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:45
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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As far as a European, yŏŏr'ə-pē'ən

The Y sound makes it a.

Which begs the question, why isn't y a vowel?
Taking a cue from French where y is "Greek I" (i grecque), we find this:

"The French letter Y is fairly uncommon. It can be a consonant or a vowel. As a vowel, it pronounced like the y in happy. Listen.

When the Y is at the beginning of a word or syllable, it is a consonant and is pronounced just like the English Y. Listen. It is found as a consonant mainly in foreign words, country names, etc."
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Old 20.11.2007, 11:45
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

Well,

language is a living organism and evolves over time. Linguistically speaking learning a new language means identifying each particle with the same particles of your native lang. But from my experience ( I speak more that 2 languages, and currently learning German) we need to develop that linguistic instinct rather than sticking always to gram. rules.
Sure it helps to know when we need akkusative or dative or how to construct a sentence, but when thinking of the rules only then where's the freedom of creating naturally sentences in German, French, etc.?

I guess after studying German for a year now, I can organize my thinking and resist translating from English to German.
Good luck with your German, and yes, it's an exciting language!
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Old 20.11.2007, 12:01
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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Taking a cue from French where y is "Greek I" (i grecque), we find this:

"The French letter Y is fairly uncommon. It can be a consonant or a vowel. As a vowel, it pronounced like the y in happy. Listen.

When the Y is at the beginning of a word or syllable, it is a consonant and is pronounced just like the English Y. Listen. It is found as a consonant mainly in foreign words, country names, etc."

in fact the i-grecque in french is considered as it was two latin i together "ii"

for example

"crayon" it is pronounced like two syllabes crai-ion "cre - ion"
"royaume" is prononced like three syllabes roi-iau-me "rwa-io-me"

Sorry for my bad phonetic examples. but you get the idea. the first i affects the pronunciation of the first syllabe and the second i is still audible
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Old 20.11.2007, 12:21
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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There are many interesting examples but take for example the words used for "business" :
  • In English is a "business" implies something in the present, something that keeps us occupied.
  • In Latin languages is " une entreprise" "una empresa", implies something in the future, something you'll abord.
  • In Germanic Languages "ein Geschäft" implies something in the past. It is something you have accomplished already.
I am sorry I can't quite agree.
My family has been in the mining business for 4 generations.
Mi padre tenia una empresa. (Maybe not quite correct, never learned to write spanish).
Wir werden nächstes Jahr in Bümpliz ein Geschäft eröffnen.

I have been taught that the tenses are defined by the verbs.
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Old 20.11.2007, 12:31
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

more clear to you Leo, I am talking about the word not the phrases you can do with

business, like hapinness, loneliness expresses a state, so it is an idea in the present. in this case a business is something you do now and keep you busy.

empresa, expresses something you will start, a project, for example "tu emprendes un viaje" you leave on a travel. is an idea in the future something you'll accomplish. the idea is that a business is something you'll do.

Geschäft is the past of schaffen that means to work, to produce, so is an idea in the past, a business is something you have made.
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Old 20.11.2007, 12:54
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Re: Learning German = Better English?

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business, like hapinness, loneliness expresses a state, so it is an idea in the present. in this case a business is something you do now and keep you busy.

empresa, expresses something you will start, a project, for example "tu emprendes un viaje" you leave on a travel. is an idea in the future something you'll accomplish. the idea is that a business is something you'll do.

Geschäft is the past of schaffen that means to work, to produce, so is an idea in the past, a business is something you have made.
Ok, like this I can really enjoy your examples.
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