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It may sound like an old two-stroke engine to you, but it is a language. In fact, if you are an English speaker, you may be surprised to learn that your native tongue has its roots in Germany. Northwest Germany to be exact.
In the fifth century AD, a tribe called the Angles set foot on English soil, shooed away the celtic speaking inhabitants and thus laid the foundation to modern English. Even today, the accent used by people in the part of Germany that was once home to the Angles, resembles English spoken in southern Britain.
German is perceived by most foreigners as a difficult language to learn. There are a lot of sounds that are hard to emulate and that seem to have their origin deep down in your throat. Others may be mistaken as a wild animal's uttering just before attacking you from behind and sinking its teeth into your neck.
Then there are the umlauts. Umlauts have those funny dots on top of them, such as “ä”, “ö” and “ü”. They are very important, however, and learning to pronounce them is vital if you want to speak German fluently, and not be laughed at too much.
Generally, though, it can be said that Germans are very proud of their language and supportive of anyone who endeavors to learn it.
If you have absolutely no desire to do that, you may be relieved to know that English will get you almost anything and anywhere in Germany. Just slow your pace a little and give it a shot.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|