Rather than learning languages for academic or professional reasons, I do it to vastly improve my travel experience by allowing me to socialise almost entirely with residents of the country I am visiting.
Even though all the studying I did in for my exam in Berlin prevented me from socialising as much as I would have liked, after spending four months there I can say that I have a better understanding of German (and in particular Berlin) culture and I am ready to challenge the silly stereotypes that too many people have of the Germans and the German language.
German sounds horrible!
It might be true that more typical languages that English learners tend to go for like French and Spanish can sound pleasant to listen to even if you don’t understand them, but it’s better to think outside of those limitations. Comparing German to Italian, for example, is like comparing ice cream to pizza. The most enjoyable food doesn’t have to be “hot” and certain aspects of communicating in German can be more pleasant than in other languages.
English and German are in the same language family (Germanic), so a lot of what makes German sound “different” can actually be its similarities that we don’t notice in English and may not expect to encounter in other languages. Listen to this video of what English sounds like to non-natives (from an Italian perspective) and you’ll get a better idea of how strange it can be!
Note from me: when I was younger and knew only a few words in English, I heard the song and did not notice that it was not really English. You should listen to, if only because the song makes a good mood and Adriano Celentano is grandiose.
About the Song: “Prisencolinensinainciusol” is a song composed by Adriano Celentano, and performed by Celentano and his wife Claudia Mori. A very popular performance of the song, broadcasted by RAI, shows Celentano with showgirl Raffaella Carrà, who is dancing and lip-synching to Mori’s vocals. It was first released as a single on November 3, 1972, and later on his album Nostalrock. The song is deliberately meant to sound like English spoken with an American accent, but the lyrics are actually pure gibberish, with the exception of the words “all right.”.
English also has weird strings of consonants that can cause problems to non-natives but seem totally normal to us. Words like catchphrase and thousandths have several consecutive consonants together that German doesn’t outdo much (definitely not as much as a language like Czech).
The tone and musicality of German is actually something that makes it much easier to understand and leaves less room for misinterpretation, as is the case in other languages. The clear separation of words vastly helps you to understand them (compared to French for example where words are merged together when spoken). I find the discussion of whether this is “pretty” or not to be totally irrelevant myself. We may as well argue about which colour is the “best”.
This superficial argument is like saying you understand what the elephants are thinking as you see them through binoculars on safari. Without the right context and understanding of how German works, any conclusions you might make may amount to nothing remotely close to the truth. The clear way that Germans speak is something that…..
Read a lot more about the topic on: fluentin3months.com