Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Die schreckliche deutchtsche Sprache” as Want to Read:
Die schreckliche deutc...
Mark Twain
Rate this book
Clear rating

Die schreckliche deutchtsche Sprache

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Mark Twain speaks about his experience about learning german and a few improvements that he would make to this language.
Published 1996 (first published 1880)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Die schreckliche deutchtsche Sprache, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Die schreckliche deutchtsche Sprache

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 693)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Though the book is really funny and entertaining it is hard not to contradict. Twain’s complaint against the inventor of the German language shows that he never had to learn his own language like I did.

Klar ist das Buch komisch und unterhaltsam,, aber ich kann doch nicht widerstehen, ihm zu widersprechen. Twains Angriffe gegen den Erfinder der deutschen Sprache lassen deutlich erkennen, dass er seine eigene Sprache nie selber (richtig) lernen musste.

Admittedly: Der-die-das instead of the-the-th
I love my mother tounge. This essay dwells on all those little absurdities that make it so loveable. If you learn German, read it, you will find a soulmate in your difficulties. If you are German, read it, it makes you feel grateful that you don't have to learn it... ;-)
Mms Mamdouh
I really enjoyed it.
Mark grasped the several points concerning the difficulty and awkwardness of the German language from English speaker in a tremendously funny way.
Malsam  - ملسم
للقراءة مرة ثانية ... بعد البدء بدراسة اللغة

"A little learning makes the whole world kin".

لا أدري إن كان هذا صحيحا بالنسبة للغة الالمانية :)

فكما يقول مارك توين في كتابه، إن كان من الممكن لشخص موهوب دراسة اللغة الانجليزية في 30 ساعة والفرنسية في 30 يوم، إذن الالمانية ستأخذ 30 عاما !!!
هذا وأنه يعتبر قراءة صحيفة المانية لغير الالمان شيء مستحيل !!
كما أنه ينصحنا بالتخلي عن اتخاذ صديق الماني لأن ذلك سيربكنا !!
كثيرة هي التعقيدات في اللغة (تشابه الصوت والشكل وإختلاف المعنى، طول الكلمات
المرعب، ح
Arthur Thomas
One of the funniest essays ever written.
May 16, 2014 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humor, Twain lovers
Recommended to Jason by: Gutenberg Project
Dammit, Twain. Yesterday you steered me away from reading anything by James Fenimore Cooper, at least for a while. Today my zeal to learn German one day, which is something I've wanted to do for about 20 years and just haven't gotten around to yet, is greatly lessened. Between this and Jerome K. Jermoe's take on German which I read a couple of weeks ago in Three Men in a Boat, (“I don't understand German myself. I learned it at school, but forgot every word of it two years after I had left, and ...more
Nov 10, 2009 Ruby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I did really enjoy reading it, but! I think it's funnier when you are English, because we have some of the weird construction things they have in German in Dutch too. I also don't agree with limiting German to the words "Zug", "Schlag" and "also" even though it would be nice. And I also wouldn't like it if the Dativ would be thrown away, because I like that case. (But the Genitiv is my favourite) Tale of the fishwise and its sad fate made me laugh out loud!
Prattle On, Boyo
Jul 18, 2013 Prattle On, Boyo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Prattle On, by: Movies, music, tech, sun, sand, surf, mt. biking.
Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen. Alterthumswissenschaften.
Kinderbewahrungsanstalten. Unabhängigkeitserklärungen.
Wiedererstellungbestrebungen. Waffenstillstandsunterhandlungen.

But Schlag & Zug sums up just about everything you need to know in German.

That and playing Wolfenstein.


Mark Twain's "The Awful German Language" is an awesome read. Link to full text.
I loved it. I read it while in a plane and other passengers ( German btw) were puzzled and at times annoyed because i could not help laughing out loud. I am not an english native speaker but i could feel the pain of Mr. Twain. A fun read and totally recommended for those learning, or struggling, with the German language. Thanks Mario for the gift.
Soobie's confused
Work in Progress

I really don't know which language I should write this in. The edition I've read was bilingual and I took the chance to savor some German with a useful facing-page translation. In addition, it should be easier writing about German grammar in German... To settle things once and for all, you'll find an English Review below the German one.


Dank GR habe ich dies Büchlein entdeckt. Ich wusste nicht, dass Mark Twain versuchte, Deutsch zu lernen. Seiner Meinung nach ist Deutsch e
A short read that you can get through in just a couple of hours. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it is not only humorous, but quite true. I am sure it is of more use and greater enjoyment to those that have studied the German language for at least a certain amount of time. I have studied it off on and for years, so I was at one time just as frustrated by it as Twain was. I assume many, if not all languages have those little idiosyncrasies to adapt to, and German is interesting in all the ways th ...more
Craig Williams
Much to my surprise, I enjoyed this brief essay, or rather full blown attack, on the German language by Mark Twain. I should have known better than to doubt Twain by now, but I just wasn't sure the subject of German would make for an entertaining, or even intellectually stimulating, read. I know nothing about the German language, except that it sounds angry all the time, but I actually learned something by reading this, such as: did you know that Germans capitalize all nouns? Did you know that t ...more
Gifted to me by a German couchsurfer, this book would have been way funnier if I knew German but I still enjoyed the quick funny read about the ridiculousness of the language (from an English speaker's perspective of course). I can relate because about once every French class I think "this language is stoopid."

I feel that I should note to complete strangers that I speak fluent Spanish so I'm not a complete philistine hating on other languages...just frustrated.
This book describes Mark Twain's view of the German language. In the beginning of the book, there were some funny insights, which I could relate to, because I am still learning German. However, as the book went on, there wasn't much that impressed me. I didn't agree with some of his conclusions or recommendations. At the end I was glad it was a short book. Perhaps if you have just started learning German, you would like it a lot more.
Mayar Magdi
i loved this .. this a very funny book by mark twain and a pretty short read too it only took me an hour to finish
in it he enlists some of the reasons learning german can be a real challenge
he made note that there's acase where you add an e after words and this i had no idea about
David Campbell
Slam-dunk the funniest book I have ever read... It's more like an essay, but you'll miss so very much of the humor in this brilliant read if you haven't TRULY attempted to master the language. I'm not talking about the casual traveler who knows how to say "Ein Pils, bitte..." If you're a bona fide member of an English speaking country and have grappled with that hyper-complex, rule-bound, and bi-polar b*tch known as the German language (I think Twain calls it the same epithet at one point), and ...more
Tom King
In college I had to take two years of a foreign language. I should have taken Spanish, living, as I did in Texas, but there was this girl of German descent and she knew a few words of the language from her grandmother and I wanted to whisper sweet German nothings in her ear.

So I chose German. Some of the words looked almost like English so I thought, "How hard can it be?"

I should have read Twain's essay. You have to read it with that Hal Holbrook Southern accent. If you want to listen to it, the
Thom Swennes
Brimming with country humor, The Awful German Language by Mark Twain is guaranteed to leave almost everyone in stitches. The possible exceptions could be those that use this language in their daily life. In all honesty I must admit that Twain looked at this language as an English (American) speaking person with the attitude that all languages must conform to it. I have read similar narratives criticizing languages (English and Dutch) and many humorous truisms but the Clements’ homespun logic add ...more
Das ist sehr gut! Foi um livro muito divertido e interessante de ler...e não me "afastou" do Alemão,mesmo com as suas difíceis particularidades! :p "I would rather decline two drinks than a German adjective!" (Mark Twain)
Marwa  Errayes
wo war dieses Buch bevor ich die Absicht habe,Deutsch zu lernen. :D

i'm stuck with this language,,i love it but i can't use it properly ,,i need a lot to learn
Nargiz Alizade
It was good to know that i m not the only who has a hard time to understand some grammatik stuff in german. I love this language despite difficulties.
Mohammed Al-bulushi
Mark Twain's roast of German language :)

This is a little book ( a very long essay in fact) by mark twain about his suffrage with German language learning

Ironically, he wrote this is in German language. with his usual wit and sarcasm, Twain explains how how arduous task is to lean German with all its declinations,
long complex words and how he lost 3 teachers during his long course of learning:-)
Hilariously wry. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying! Wonderful
Tryin to learn German myself, I just couldn't say it better!
Robert Batson
you need background in German to understand most of the jokes.
Even though the entire premise is based on a very English-centered perspective, this is undeniably funny - at least (and especially) if you've learned German like myself.

The 'logic' that Twain applies to the language produces some really funny discussions, such as the gender of nouns (which, logically, of course is nonsense and Twain doesn't distinct between sex and gender, but hilarious nonetheless) and a few of the 'translations' produce some really funny passages. Very enjoyable satire.
I listened to this on audio and the company had this German guy reading it, which made it funnier because he would laugh every now and then. I've briefly took interest in German and based off what I noticed and what Mr.Twain made me feel better about myself haha. Amusing, have to be slightly familiar with German or actually learning a language in general. Good read.
Nixie Larue
This story is hilarious. One of the funniest ever written. EVER. Love it. Cheers me up every time. Highly Highly recommend.
Quite hilarious at times, although at others hopelessly exaggerated.. even if that's probably most of the charm! It was funny alright, although I really don't agree with his solutions.. My favourite bits were about Hölle & Goddamn. Those were brilliant.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 23 24 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Limits of Language: Almost Everything You Didn't Know You Didn't Know about Language and Languages
  • You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity
  • Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World
  • Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid
  • Nero Corleone
  • Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do about It
  • The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention
  • 1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think
  • Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works
  • Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing Vol. 2
  • Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959: Building for Democracy
  • The Harmless People
  • L'italiano: lezioni semiserie
  • Selected Poems
  • What Language Is (And What it Isn't and What it Could Be)
  • All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals
  • Spice & Wolf, Book 5
  • Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Share This Book

“There are ten parts of speech and they are all troublesome.” 5 likes
More quotes…