bear drinking beer

Let’s face it: German adjectives are unnecessarily complex.

If you’ve reached that part of your German studies, you’ll be nodding in pain and frustration at this statement. If you haven’t, come back when you’ve had a glimpse of it.

Alternatively, here’s an overview: there are three kinds of declensions, depending on what is being referred to; each declension includes an ending for 4 cases, 3 genders, and 2 numbers (singular/plural).

It really seems like this was designed to mess with learners. But since German is a natural language, not the creation of a madman, there has to be a reason for this mess. Throughout history, German speakers have collectively decided that this makes sense and is necessary.

I don’t know what that reason is, but I have some guesses myself. And my own justification has been immensely helpful for me to remember these complex endings. Now, I’m going to tell you why that is, and how to remember the endings without learning by rote.

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Subtitles available in English and Cantonese. German transcript below.

Ich bin heute auf eine deutsche Seite gestoßen, die versucht, die Beziehung zwischen Kantonesisch und Mandarin, oder dem Begriff Chinesisch, zu erklären. Spoiler Alert: diesen Artikel finde ich total Quatsch. Er behauptet, Kantonesisch sei ein Dialekt von Chinesisch, und Mandarin sei Hochchinesisch.Diese Art Kategorisierung ist ganz politisch motiviert, und von einem rein sprachwissenschaftlichen Standpunkt ist sie sehr problematisch.

In diesem Video werde ich versuchen, als ein Sprachenliebhaber, ein Amateursprachwissenschaftler und ein Sprecher von drei sinitischen bzw. chinesischen Sprachen, zu erklären, was ein Dialekt in diesem Zusammenhang wirklich bedeutet, und abgesehen von der Politik, was Kantonesisch eigentlich ist, und wie man überhaupt diese Sprachen betrachten soll.

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Reading signs in Prague

After documenting around a week of my journey – granted, at a terrible pace – I’d like to take a short break from travel blogging. Instead, I’ll write my first blog post on language learning here! Fact is, I’ve been taking some time to settle in Lund, Sweden, after 1.5 months of non-stop travelling. Now that I’m not gonna be back in Germany again any time soon, it’s time to reflect what I’ve gained linguistically – and I still can’t believe how much my German has improved compared to two month ago, especially in the spoken aspect. Therefore I decided it’s time I jotted down a few thoughts on what I did right over this period to kick my skills up a notch, and hopefully help you gain some insights too.

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