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October 17 2011 German Culture Newsletter
THE GERMAN LANGUAGE, AND MARK TWAIN
'The Awful German Language' was Mark Twain’s description of the language of 'The Land of Poets and Thinkers'after his time in the country.
While the French writer Madame de Stael complained that it was not possible to have a good conversation in Germany, because the grammatical construction of the language always put the meaning at the end of the sentence, and therefore made impossible...................'the pleasure of interrupting, which makes discussion so animated in France.'
However it is not as complicated as its reputation, although fun and laughter at some illogical oddities can certainly add to the sense of achievement while learning it.
Despite Mark Twain's brilliant, and in many cases still accurate, observations, German is spoken in many European countries, while some emigrants from those countries continue to keep their ties to the language after many generations away from its source.
So they obviously don't agree with his thoughts from over 100 years ago about the effects of the German language upon the brain:
'It's awful undermining to the intellect, German is; you want to take it in small doses, or first you know your brains all run together, and you feel them flapping around in your head same as so much drawn butter.'
Many more articles covering 'life and living' in Germany, are to be found on germanculture.bellaonline.com, which also has a forum
Hope to hear from you, either in the forum or via email message, if you have any comments, questions or ideas for topics you would like to have featured.
German Culture Editor
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