oops

Aug. 30th, 2017 03:56 pm
kindkit: Sailing ship at sea. (Fandomless: Blue ship)
I forgot to do my Duolingo practice yesterday and lost a 153-day streak. *sadface*
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
I now have a 100 day streak on Duolingo!

I find that gratifying in two different directions. First, of course, it's good to feel that I've stuck with my German, practiced regularly and not given up. On the other hand, 100 days is only a little over three months, so when I feel frustrated with my progress I can remind myself how little time it's actually been.
kindkit: Man sitting on top of a huge tower of books, reading. (Fandomless--book tower)
I've finally found one area in which German is superior to French (by which I mean, easier for me as a native English speaker). It's numbers. German numbers seem to work mostly like English ones, but French numbers make you do math. (ETA: They do in the standard French of France; apparently it is not universal and other varieties of French do it differently.) Well, numbers from 70 to 99. 70 in French is "soixante-dix," literally sixty-ten. 71 is "soixante-onze," sixty-eleven. 80 is "quatre-vingt," or four twenties. 90 is "quatre-vingt-dix," four twenties and ten, and so on up to 99, "quatre-vingt-dix-neuf," or four twenties and nineteen.

My French is not too bad, apart from not having a full adult vocabulary, but I still have to stop and think when hearing or speaking French numbers.

This is especially fun in the context of telephone numbers, because the French don't say telephone numbers digit by digit like American English speakers do, they divide them into groups of two. So if somebody's telephone number includes the combination 97, they will say "quatre-vingt-dix-sept," and the unsuspecting English speaker will write down 4 (quatre) and only then realize they've got it wrong, and have to go back and correct while their French interlocutor is now several numbers ahead. You can guess how I know this.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand all this is probably interesting to no one but me, but I was happy to find a context in which German is simple and straightforward. Unlike its ten million billion pronoun forms.
kindkit: The Second Doctor and Jamie clutch each other in panic; captioned "oh noes" (Doctor Who: Two/Jamie oh noes)
Today I have spent a couple of decades hours making flashcards for German possessive pronouns, and crying.

Okay, not literally crying, but crying on the inside.

German pronouns CHANGE. They change like Mystique on a busy day. First of all, they agree with the subject, like in English but more so, so there are different forms for my, your (singular), his, her, its, our, your (plural), and their. But then they also agree with the object in gender and number, so there are different forms of "mine" depending on whether the thing that's yours is masculine or feminine or neuter or whether you have more than one.

That's already more complicated than the other languages I know well, English and French. French has both kinds of agreement, but at least it doesn't distinguish between, say, "her book" and "his book" (both are "son livre," because the pronoun agrees in gender only with the object).

But are German possessive pronouns content to be slightly more complicated than French? No, they are not! The bastards also have four cases! And the case declensions vary, of course, according to the gender and number of the object.

Here, have a chart so you can feel my pain.

Okay, yeah, the variation is regular and I will get the hang of it with practice. But my brain was not prepared for this. Plus, in the Duolingo lesson tree all this came right after a cool fun thing, the -zeug ending which means roughly "stuff" and which you find in words like Spielzeug, "toy," or literally "play stuff." I was briefly charmed.
kindkit: Medieval image of a mapmaker constructing a globe (Fandomless: Mapmaker)
Dear German language,

Why is your possessive pronouns for "hers" the same word as your ordinary pronoun for the plural "you"? Do you really believe that's a good idea?

And don't you think you're just a little overcomplicated? Three noun genders? Four declensions? Other languages get by perfectly well without all that. I mean, look at your cousin, English. It doesn't have any declensions. It doesn't even have grammatical gender! But look how successful it is.

Look at your life, Deutsch. Look at your choices.

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kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
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