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The German Language Series: Part II - The Variations and Similarities Between the English and German Language

Updated on September 9, 2011

While Part I of the German Language Series highlighted the German roots of multiple English words (another image is provided below of these cognates), this section is intended to touch on additional similarities, mainly concentrated around grammar. The differences mentioned below will be touched on with each successive hub of this series.

As far as similarities are concerned, the most obvious may be that both German and English utilize the Latin alphabet. Beyond this given, the syntax also generally follows the subject-verb order, with the indirect object falling before the direct object.

E.g. Ich gab meine Freundin das Buch.

In English, this sentence translates as "I gave my friend the book". In this sentence, "Ich" serves as the subject, "gab" as the verb, "meine Freundin", a feminine noun, as the indirect object, and "das Buch", a neuter noun, as the direct object.

Both languages also feature nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, interjections, and conjunctions.

The differences between German and English are a bit more extensive, but easy to learn and manage. One of the most evident variations is the fact that each noun has a gender, being either masculine, feminine, or neuter (der, die, das, respectively). The endings of adjectives respond solely to the form of the noun which they modify.

E.g. Der guter Man. A good man.

Die schöne Frau. The pretty woman.

Das altes Haus. The old house.

All nouns are also capitalized, regardless of whether or not the word is considered a pronoun. German additionally features many more verb forms than English and does not utilize helping verbs.

E.g. der Junge (the boy),die Blume (the flower), das Mädchen (the girl)

Punctuation follows much stricter rules in German, as do manners in which to address individuals (either formal or informal).

E.g. Sie hat ein Buch gekauft. "Sie" is the formal way to address another.

Du hast ein Buch gekauft. "Du" is the informal way to refer to another.

Again, each point mentioned above will be explored in further hubs. This should serve simply as an introduction.


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    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      rjsadowski:

      I have never given Hungarian a try, honestly. I'm sure therein lies a definite challenge.

      Currently, I'm trying to master the basics of Arabic, but Rosetta Stone is slowly giving up on me. :-)

      -Lilith

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting! I enjoy learning about the grammar of various languages. If you think that German is complicated, try learning Hungarian.

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Craig,

      I have a selection of OTHER German expressions to direct towards you, which are a far cry from "happy birthday".

      Use your imagination.

      Yet, because I am a firm believer in karma, allow me to still say once more "THANK YOU" for the obvious attention you are directing towards my aging process.

      Men.

      -Lilith

    • Craig Suits profile image

      Craig Suits 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hiya Lilith....

      In German, how do you say....---HAPPY BIRTHDAY---

      Gees, your gettin so old, it won't be long from now as an anthropologist...YOU'LL BE ABLE TO STUDY YOURSELF.

      Have one on me Kiddo...

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      kschimmel,

      It is such an excellent field. I hope this and all future hubs will help him.

      -Lilith

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Well said, asmaiftikhar.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I will send this link to my son. He wants to study linguistics when he graduates from high school.

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      dear i just believe in using words for others benefits not using words for the sake of words.so thats why i appreciate your hub.keep writing to benefit the world.

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Thank you asmaiftikhar!

      I'm very glad to know that these hubs are serving a purpose.

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      a very very informative and useful hub.keep it up ,voted up.

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