Is German right for me? (Ist deutsch die richtige Wahl für mich?) That might be the question that you are currently asking yourself. Asking this question is alright as many people say that learning German is very difficult. Of course, German has advantages and disadvantages like every language. The advantages first: There is a very regular pronunciation. You can guess the pronunciation of an unknown word while reading it. And also, you don't have to pay too much attention on choosing the right tense. Many Germans do not do this themselves. As well you are freely variable with the sentence structure.
Now the only disadvantage: The grammar is very irregular. So it might be the best choice to trust your language feeling. This is exactly the aim of this book.
As an introduction, let's look the translations of this simple sentence. (Als Einleitung wollen wir uns die Übersetzung dieses einfachen Satzes näher ansehen.)
Is = ist (like the English to be, the German sein is irregular: I am (ich bin), you are (du bist), he / she / it is (er / sie / es ist), we are (wir sind), you are (ihr seid), they are (sie sind))
German = deutsch (language names are always written with a small letter at the beginning in the German language)
right = richtig (richtige for the female word Wahl)
If you ask whether something is the right choice, you ask "ob (whether) etwas (something) die (the = der (male), die (female), das for neutral) richtige (right = richtig, as it is female, we use richtige with e at the end) Wahl (choice, Wahl has got a female gender)" ist (is) -> you should have realized the different sentence structure.
choice = Wahl
What is also possible, but not the best expression: Ist (is) deutsch (German) richtig (right) für (for) mich (me)?
I = ich; me = mich (accusative); me = mir (dative)
You see, there are four cases: 1. Fall Nominativ, 2. Fall Genitiv, 3. Fall Dativ, 4. Fall Akkusativ.
Numerations: 1. instead of 1st; 2. for 2nd; ...
Nouns are always written with a capital letter at the beginning.
I will always translate some sentences in this book so that you can explore and develop a language feeling.
First, there are four daily used non-alphabetic letters in German: ä (Ä), ö (Ö), ü (Ü), ß. "ß" can be spoken like "s". "ä" is like the "a" in "ambulance". "ö" and "ü" are new and you have to learn them. "th" in German words is spoken like a simple "t" without "h".
The German R is realized different from the English R. First have a look at the graphic in the margin. To realize a German R, forget that you want to say "R". Can you do this? Yes, you can, but it's hard to do this while speaking. But just try again and again and I'm sure, you can manage it. Now, in the center of your mouth, the tongue should touch the palate. At the front, the tongue should tough the very bottom of your mouth, deeper than your teeth! The actual sound comes from the throat.
Similarly to the R, the hard German ch (which follows after a, ä, o, ö, e) is managed with the fact that you have to try to make a "h".
And last, the German W is pronounced when you try to take the position of the English W. But the teeth of your upper jaw should touch your bottom lip. The sound is very nasal.
The German A is always pronounced like the English "A" in "car".
The German E is always pronounced like the English "A" in "blame", but more clearly (without the I at the end). German vowels are always having the same sound, while e.g. an English "A" tempts to sound like "I" at the end.
The German I is always pronounced like the English "ee" in "deep". The same about "ie".
The German U is always pronounced like the English "oo" in "zoom".
The German Ei or Ai both are pronounced like the English "eye".
German Au: Like "ou" in "loud". But not Ä-O but A-U
Every sound is said, also an e at the end of a word.
Translations (helpful if you learn them): car: (das) Auto; blame: (die) Schuld; deep: tief; zoom: (der) Zoom (pronounced like the English one, maybe with a more clear oo); eye: (das) Auge
If you decided to learn German, do not hesitate to read the first lesson!