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Interresting DOS forum in german (Announce)

posted by marcov(R), 11.09.2018, 16:48

> Sorry for this off-topic rant, but I find it vaguely interesting!
>
> The German language is supposedly harder (for a native [American] English
> speaker like me) to learn than others (see Language Difficulty Ranking
> here).

True, but that is mostly based on speaking/writing, not understanding.

> So it's like an entire level above the more obvious choices. This is
> despite English being Germanic itself (but a lot has changed since
> Beowulf, the whole Norman French
> invasion and all). Supposedly J.R.R. Tolkien (a German name) was an expert
> in Old English. Of course let's not forget the Battenbergs/Mountbattens!
> The Swedes and Dutch are apparently fairly close, too (among others).

Frisian is closest. Dutch and German should be closer than Swedish, since both West Germanic languages, while Swedish is North-Germanic.

(fun fact: name 6 West Germanic languages with some form of official state recognition)

The roots you quote are often quoted for this difference (e.g. Wikipedia), but somehow totally bypasses the fact that Shakespearian Era English is far more Germanic than current. I think a mostly bilingual nobility in the 18th and 19th century is as much to "blame" as the influences you name.

The Battenberg bit is just one side of the interconnection of nobility and royalty. The strange bit is always that the major royalty in WW-I were closely related (Russian Tsar and the German Emperor were both first cousins of the English King), which makes WW I the biggest family row ever!

> Apparently there was at least one very famous Czech (Austria/Bohemia?)
> immigrant to the U.S. who spoke German natively (among other languages).
> But that was a fairly long time ago, and I don't live near that part, so
> it's a bit obscure for me. Still intriguing!

German was the major language of science before WWII, and central Europe indeed spoke a lot of German due to the Austrian Empire. Still, there are more first language German speakers in Europe than English speakers.

Note that it I've had to decrypt 1900-1910 chemical articles, and while my German is somewhat decent, that is a whole different ballpark. The (Gothic-like) fonts alone are a horror.

> Sorry, I just try to pretend to understand and connect the dots. It's a big
> world, it's a small world, whatever. I was never well-traveled, so my
> curiosity is a bit worthless.

Language comparison is fun, but it works best if you have at least a working knowledge of a few. Sometimes that goes faster than you would expect. One of the more flabbergasting things I found out was when a Frenchman from the northern parts (Lille) learned to understand and speak Dutch in about 6 weeks.

Very impressive, specially because the languages are in different families. I never got to ask however if he had Dutch speaking relatives though.

 

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