The German language is notorious for being difficult to learn, and it can be said that this reputation is based on factual evidence. However, those who don’t have a deeper understanding of German shouldn’t be so quick to misinterpret the details.
One of the first rules of German is that nouns are always capitalized and have three genders, not just two (masculine and feminine), as is the case with Romance languages, for example. German has masculine, feminine and neuter, each of which comes with its own variations. In order to know what the correct declination is, one must know the four principal cases: the nominative, the accusative, the dative and the genitive. The difference among these four cases is the following: in the nominative case the noun alone is appointed or designated without any interaction with another object. In the accusative it makes a reference that the noun is involved in some kind of action or movement. The dative usually involves the location of the object or subject. Finally, the genitive refers to origin or ownership. Some verbs require the use of one case, while others require the use of another, and the only way to learn it is through memorization, otherwise we are doomed to make endless mistakes.
Grammar and sentence structure are often a challenge for those who decide to start studying this language. There really are a lot of rules, but the good news is that they’re logical and are followed; you just have to have a good memory to remember them all.
German is also a constructive language in which words can be joined (indefinitely?) to create more specific descriptions or definitions of things. One such word is “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften” which means “insurance companies providing legal protection” … and, believe it or not, this isn’t the longest word in the German language.
It can be hard to get used to the inverted sentence order, depending on the type of preposition or construction that is used. For example, “Diese sind die Freunde, die ich in Europa kennengelernt habe” would be translated as “These are the friends that I in Europe have met”, if the order is maintained in German.
Even when a person studies the language for many years and achieves an excellent level of fluency and understanding, they still have to deal with all the different German dialects (not to mention all the different accents) that exist in every region of Germany, Austria, parts of Switzerland and Italy and even in former German colonies in Africa. The difference between some of these dialects is so extreme that many native German-speakers may even need subtitles to understand television programs from their own country, because the dialects are so different from one another.
It is difficult, but not impossible to learn German. It is a playground for those who love a good challenge. And for those who don’t have the time or the means to study, they can always count on the support provided by translation agencies in order to interact with German speakers and get in touch with their culture.