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German Language

German speakers do not “put” everything…

The Economist’s blog on issues of language, politics, etc. has a witty entry on the differences between English and Germanic irregular verbs. I like the end especially:

Worse, German, Dutch and Danish don’t usually use catch-all verbs that save English-speakers a lot of trouble. Take put. We can put a book on a table, put a candlestick next to it, and put a picture on the wall. A German-speaker must legen a flat thing on the table, stellen a tall thin thing, and hängen a picture on the wall. Similar for Danish and Dutch. Once in place, these objects can’t usually justbe there: a German book must liegen, a candlestick must stehen and a picture must hängen.


Hey, that’s the beauty of it all, right? Read more:




About GG

Gundolf Graml is Associate Prof. and Dir. of German Studies at Agnes Scott College. He has a Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Minnesota and has published articles on German and Austrian film and tourism. He is currently writing a book about tourism and Austrian national identity after 1945. Other research projects include critical whiteness studies and, most recently, investigations into the connection between memory and nature. At ASC, Gundolf Graml teaches courses on a broad range of topics, from German 101 to German and Austrian Cinema and Afro-German History and Culture.


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