18 Sep 2012

The Magic of Berlin

Author: VisitBerlinTips | Filed under: Magic of Berlin


I hate cities.

Berlin isn’t necessarily a city though, in my view.  It’s more like a huge park criss-crossed by more canals than you can count… and they sneak the buildings in between the parks.

I don’t feel hemmed in in Berlin.

This is good, because even I will admit that cities occasionally have their uses.

Heaven, for me, is an uninhabited stretch of Montana, or Wyoming… or even better yet, Alaska.   Just me and my gear, swinging along to see something nobody else does.

But how do I go see an opera?  Or find a decent sushi place?

I didn’t believe it at first, but Berlin can actually solve this “problem” for me.  Any kind of music… or culture… or food… that I could possibly want is there for the asking… and if the crowds or buildings get to be too much, around the next corner there’s always another park.

Even more important than the food or the music is the education: there are schools all over Berlin, begging to teach me any subject I want… including making me an expert in the German language.

Think of all the new books I’ll be able to read!

…and best of all, for a curmudgeon like me…

This place is dirt cheap!!


            See you there.


PS: If you want to learn German I’ll strongly recommend to learn it in Berlin. I went to this school: Kapitel Zwei. Deutsch-Sprachschule Berlin or http://kapitel-zwei.de/en.

18 Sep 2012

Learning German is not Easy

Author: VisitBerlinTips | Filed under: Learn German

           Learning to speak German as a second language is often challenging… but it is important, as we will see.

            Modern, “standard” German is spoken as the majority language in Germany itself, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein, making German the largest first-use language in the entire European Union, ahead of both English and French (interestingly, Lichtenstein is the only country on Earth which has German as its sole official language, since Germany itself accepts the minority tongues of Danish, Frisian, Romany and Sorbian for official use).

            German is also used to write 7.7% of all the web pages on Earth, and Google reports that fully 12% of users connect through the German language portal, making German the second language, after only English among the European group, of the information age.

When it comes to technical papers, German’s use is even greater.  Granted, German has often simply adopted English words for various IT objects and processes.  The German words “internet,” “blog,” and “instant messaging,” are spelled and pronounced exactly the same as the English originals.

In older and more established sciences however, the word adoption is often the other way ‘round.  German terms such as “angst,” “automat,” “blitz,” “doppelganger,” and “gedankenexperiment” have been imported without change into English.

More problematic for the English speaker—especially one who speaks no other language—who wishes to learn German is its still-complex grammar.  That’s actually not quite true… the grammar of English and German is virtually identical… but in English, grammar is mostly only implied, whereas in German, as with its Indo-European cousins Latin, French, and Spanish, cases, genders, and tenses are explicitly stated… and the average English-only speaker doesn’t know how to deal with them.  When English split off from German and skittered off to its new Island home, German lost its dental fricatives (such as the “th” sound), but English lost most of its tenses, and all of its genders and cases except for a fossil few in the personal pronouns.

The English-only speakers are almost certainly going “What?  Cases? Genders?  Who dat?”

Sigh.  That’s the problem… and that’s what you’re going to have to learn.

Fortunately for you, there are affordable  (translation: “cheap”) language schools all over Berlin with many, many years of experience teaching you in this subject… and far better than I can do in this short article.

…and the rewards are legion.



“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller