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French and German (jara: An introduction)

From:Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Date:Thursday, June 5, 2003, 9:31
 --- Andreas Johansson skrzypszy:

> > > > > Why is it always French which suffers from such dislikes? :(((( > > Back when I and my classmates between sixth and seventh grade had to choose > to take either French or German, the pretty much universal opinion was that > German was easy but bland, French hard but exotic.
Back when I went to school, the number of people who chose German was much smaller than the number of people who chose French. In general the stereotypes/reputations were the same: English = cool and useful; very nice literature; French = nice country, much sun, difficult because words look much too different, grammar difficult because of so many forms, nice literature, etc.; German = words easy, grammar hopeless, literature boring and heavy. Perhaps that the notion "German = nazi" played a role too, even among generation who never experienced the period under German occupation (German tourists are still no too popular here in the Netherlands). As a result of all this, the German class was filled with both the most intelligent and the least intelligent pupils of the school.
> Being not particularly interested in languages then, I chose German.
Hehe. I was interested in languages, and I choose them all six ;)) . But what I really liked was the grammar part; I had a hard time to swallow the literature. But I had wonderful teachers for French, so there it came easiest to me; as a result, I read almost everything that L.F. Céline ever wrote, in French.
> Now, eight years older and particularly interested in languages, I'm glad I > chose so - I find German much more aesthetically appealing than French, for a > start.
I don't know. Depending on who pronounces it, both can be utterly beautiful and dead ugly.
> For some reason, I've lately heard alot of flak against German's supposed > orthographical horrors. I don't really see why - it may be less regular than > French, but the system is certainly alot less exotic to someone used to > Swedish orthography (which in turn is more erratic than German), and at any > rate it's way simpler than English.
Again, I don't know. Spelling was not really the issue, I think. The problem with a language so close to your own, is that you easily fall into the trap of producing Germanised Dutch instead of proper German, without even knowing it. Most texts can be understood without much trouble, but building even a simple sentence is a tough job. As a result, only very few people in this country can really speak German, making sentences like "Es ist kauss baussen" (It is cold outside) instead. BTW I experience the same kind of thing with Poles speaking Russian or vice versa. No, in French at least you know what you know. Jan ===== "Originality is the art of concealing your source." - Franklin P. Jones __________________________________________________ Yahoo! Plus - For a better Internet experience


Sally Caves <scaves@...>