Many beginner level language students have the misconception that German is an almost impossible language to learn.Seemingly endless compound words and the concept of noun genders is often enough to scare people off learning German for good.
One of the main reasons German isn’t all that hard to learn is that German and English originate from the same language families and share more similarities than you probably realise.
Both German and English are Indo-European languages that stem from the Germanic family of languages.
About 40% of German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary, which is good news for native English speakers!
Pronunciation is also more straightforward than you might think and grammar is easy to pick up thanks to easily recognisable patterns. Along with a few tips and tricks, you can learn German in no time at all.
When we form plurals in English, we usually just add an -s.
In German however, it can seem intimidating when you have to choose between an -e, -er, -n, -en, -s, or no ending at all.
However, there are a few tricks to help you determine which ending to use:
- Masculine nouns – most take an -e ending or -¨e, as in Mann (man) and Männer (men). Some words double the ‘n’ before endings. Most nouns ending in -er, -el, or -en have no endings.
- Feminine nouns – almost all feminine nouns have an -n or -en ending. In some cases, the ‘n’ is doubled for words ending in -in, for example, Studentin(nen). As with masculine nouns, some words take an -¨, as in Nacht, Nächte (night, nights) and Hand, Hände (hand, hands).
- Neuter nouns – neuter nouns often use an -s ending after words adopted from English and French. For example, Hotel(s), Restaurant(s), Team(s). The -er ending is also a popular choice for neuter nouns and also often requires an umlaut on the stem vowel as in das Haus, die Häuser(the house, the houses).