If you’re interested in learning German, there are two key questions you should ask yourself:
1) Why do I want to learn German?
2) How can I learn more about German culture?
Once you’ve answered those questions in your own mind, the best way for beginners to learn German is to move on with a personal learning plan that works best to meet those goals.
Why Is German so Hard to Learn?
This is a question you may have heard more than once, but it’s a bit of a misguided question. Is German hard to learn? Is walking hard to learn? Babies spend nearly two years learning how to walk, but they all succeed, right? The truth is that there is no such thing as a “hard language to learn”. Learning German is simply a matter of time and motivation. Now that said, we do not think that German is a hard language to learn at all. Why? Read on below…
English vs. German
If you’re reading this, then chances are you understand English. If that’s the case, then you should know that the differences between German and English are not as great as you might think. Roughly 80% of English vocabulary words have Germanic roots. In fact, when it comes to basic sentence structure and grammar, the differences between German and English are slight when compared to other languages.
Introduction to the German Language
The German language evolved from the regions of Eastern and Western Europe where modern-day Germany is located. It is a member of the Germanic family of languages. Modern German language evolved from dialects of High and Low German dating back to the 6th century. Today, the German language is spoken as the official language in 6 countries and is spoken by large populations across Europe and the Americas.
History of German
The history of German is as deep and old as Europe itself. Like many modern-day Indo-European languages, German finds evolved from West Germanic Language. Historically, there were two main dialects, High German and Low German, which evolved and integrated into modern-day German, which started to gain prominence in the 18th century.
The history of German finds its roots in the 6th century, though it wasn’t until the 16th century that people came to speak a language resembling what we’d identify as modern German.
One of the most important parts of learning a language is understanding its culture, and German is no exception. Of course, if you want to learn about German culture, you first must ask yourself an important question: how do you define German culture? Is this the culture of the country of Germany, or the cultures of the many other countries that count German as their official languages? Then again, let’s not forget countries like the United States, where German is not an official language, but there are still over 1M German speakers.
Our point about German culture notwithstanding, there are a number of German customs shared across many German-speaking cultures. For example, despite the wide variety of norms across Europe, there are many German customs that are nearly universal; chiefly family values and the holiday traditions share strong roles in German customs across many different German cultures.