Is German Easy To Learn For English Speakers?


Whether or not German is easy to learn for English speakers is a complex question. There are many factors to consider, such as the level of similarity between the two languages, the learner's motivation and previous experience with learning languages.

Overall, German can be a challenging language for English speakers to learn. However, there are also many similarities between the two languages which can make German easier to pick up than other languages. With some effort and dedication, any English speaker can learn German.

The similarities between German and English: grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation

As mentioned above, the German and English languages have a lot in common in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

One major similarity is that both languages use the Latin alphabet. This makes it easier for English speakers to learn German than some other languages such as Russian for example.

Vocabulary-wise, there are many words in German that are similar to English words with different meanings. For example, das Haus means "house" but die Haus means "home".

The differences between German and English: word order, gender, and pluralization

One of the main differences between German and English is word order. In a German sentence, the verb always comes second, while in an English sentence, it typically comes first. This means that when you are translating something, the sentence structure has to be changed in order for it to make sense in English. This can be a difficult rule to remember when speaking German, and can often trip up English speakers who are not used to it.

The other big difference is that German uses a lot of compound nouns, whereas English tends to use a single noun. For example, in German you have the word Erbsenpüree (pea soup), but in English it's just "pea soup". This can result in some seriously long words in the German language (see the Long Words in German section below!)

Another difference between the two languages is gender. The German language has three genders (male, female, and neutral). This can make learning German vocabulary more difficult for English speakers, as they must remember which gender each word belongs to.

In German, there are also different verb tenses for speaking about the past. For example, a sentence like "I saw him" can be said in German as "Ich sah ihn", or "Ich sah es". German and English also have different ways of saying the same thing. For example, "I am writing a letter" can be said in German as "Ich schreibe einen Brief", or using the infinitive "Ich schreibe".

In German, you do not have to repeat the indefinite article in front of every noun. For example, "Ich sehe einen Hund" (I see a dog) does not mean that there is more than one dog. Instead, it means I am seeing one particular dog.

The plural in German is very similar to the singular. In most cases, you simply add an -e to the end of the word. For example, the plural of Hund (dog) is Hunde, and the plural of Tisch (table) is Tische.

As with all languages however, there are numerous exceptions to watch out for, which is something to keep in mind when learning German!

Long Words in German

German has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn. This is partially due to the fact that German words are often very long. In fact, the unofficial longest word in the German language is Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft, which clocks in at a staggering 80 letters, and translates into English as "Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services".

While this may seem daunting at first, there is some good news. A majority of these long words are actually compound words, made up of smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, the previously mentioned word can be broken down into four smaller parts: Dampf (steam), Schiff (ship), Elektrizität (electricity), and Hauptbetriebswerk (main power plant).

Some Other Long German Words

Just for interest, below is a list of some other really long German words. In reality, many of them are, like the example above, obscure and will not be needed if you are learning German.

  • Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labelling of beef) - Introduced during the BSE outbreak in the late 1990s, it is no longer recognized now that this regulation has been dropped.

  • Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung (a regulation requiring a prescription for an anesthetic)

  • Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister (head district chimney sweep)

  • Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften (legal protection insurance companies)

  • Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung (motor vehicle indemnity insurance)

The Different German Dialects

The different German dialects can be a challenge for English speakers. As well as accents developed by speakers in other countries, there are four main German dialects:

  • Low German
  • High German
  • Upper Saxon
  • East Franconian

Each dialect has its own unique features. Low German is spoken in the north of Germany and is known for its guttural sounds. High German is spoken in the south and is known for its softer sounds. Upper Saxon is spoken in the east and is known for its slang words. East Franconian is spoken in the west and is known for its fast speech.

High German is the most used dialect in German. It is the only dialect that has official status as a national language. High German is also the standard written form of the language. This makes it easier for foreigners to learn because they can learn one dialect and understand all dialects.

German dialects are the result of a centuries-long language development. In addition to influences from geography, German dialects were also influenced by political boundaries, religious differences and neighbouring languages.

As is the case for most peoples, many Germans have emigrated over the centuries, which means that there are communities of German speakers in most countries. One of the largest such communities of German speakers outside the German borders is actually to be found in Brazil, South America, where some 500,000 people speak German as their native language.

Strategies for learning German: finding a tutor, joining a class, or using online resources

Whether you are looking to travel to a German-speaking country, want to read German literature in its original, untranslated form, want to write a letter to a German friend, or want to learn the language for business reasons, it is important to find the learning method that works best for you. Some people prefer learning in a classroom setting, while others find one-on-one tutoring more effective. There are also many online resources available if you prefer to learn independently.

One of the best ways to learn German (or any language for that matter) is to immerse yourself in it as much as possible. If you can, try spending some time in a German-speaking country. This will allow you to pick up the language quickly and get used to using it in everyday conversation.

If this isn't possible, try watching German TV shows or movies, listening to German music, or reading German books and newspapers. This will allow you to practice your German while being entertained at the same time. You can also try watching subtitled films in German, which is a great way to see how words are pronounced and get used to hearing the language spoken at normal speed.


No two languages are alike, and each one comes with its own unique set of difficulties. German is no exception.

For English speakers, German can pose some particular challenges. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn. With enough motivation and the right approach, anyone can start speaking German.