Don’t Take It Personal: Dear German (Deutsch)

[This is the second in a series of posts called “Don’t Take it Personal.” I will be writing letters to languages that have not been selected in this project, giving reasons for why I decided to “move on.” These will appear between regular posts, adding a more “comedic” spin to the blog.]


Dear German,

It’s been forever. I always wondered what you were up to since we last saw each other.

I know we didn’t end things on such amicable terms. I remember how bored I was with Japanese in high school. I was talking with some friends and I remember seeing your slightly goofy, yet secure smile across the room. When we first met, I was immediately drawn to your Umlauts and sharp s (ß). We shared an instant, if not rapid, connection when I learned you were related to English. Although your accent sounded funny, I had always thought it was adorable. I was intrigued.

But then I learned about your agglutinative side. I found out how you liked to form long compound words, sometimes in ways that seemed unnecessary. My love of your definite articles was eclipsed by my hate of your three genders. Even worse, I was lost in your conjugation in the worst possible way. How could a cousin of English, my first love, be so familiar and confounding at the same time?

I grew cold and distant. I despised hearing your voice and grew sick of all your words, which reminded me of overstuffed English . I wondered how anyone could admire you, as you seemed to say nothing but “achs” and “unds.” It drove me insane, so I left and I never came back.

I am forever searching for my life and my love and I’m glad you got to be part of both. However, my feelings for you have gone. While this is awkward for me, this letter has been something I’ve yearned to share with you for a long time. I’m happy I can move on.

Please be well. Or, as you would say, Tschüß.



10 thoughts on “Don’t Take It Personal: Dear German (Deutsch)

  1. I really like the German language for precisely the reasons you fell out of love with it. The und’s and ack’s, and the ungodly long words. Then again, the long words are probably why I will never be a fluent speaker of German. I love your letter, and your efforts to learn languages.

    1. Amy, I’m glad you stopped by! I had no idea you were into languages, let alone this one (at one point). Thanks for checking it out! 😀

  2. Hello Keith – I just discovered your fascinating project (via PRI’s The World). Bravo!

    I have been engaged in a less ambitious study of idioms from around the world. Through which for example I have discovered that…

    in German living the ‘Life of Riley’ can be expressed as ‘living like a maggot in bacon’.

    I’m not pulling your leg – or as the Russians say
    “I’m Not Hanging Noodles on your Ears”

    1. Wow, thank you for reading my blog and listening to my interview! But honestly, your project sounds really, really cool! I’m going to add your link to my blog if you don’t mind. You’ve got yourself a new reader! 🙂

      1. Keith – I would be honoUred – to be linked to your amazing polyglot project.

        PS – that is not a misspelling – I suffer from irritable vowel syndrome (an irrational nostalgia for English spelling as practiced in England – causes occasionally swelling of othewise ommited vowels).

  3. It took me years of German classes and a semester abroad in Germany to appreciate the sound of the German language. Now I think it is beautiful in its own way. But this post makes me laugh. German is a difficult language.

    1. Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading. Perhaps if I were to visit, I would find some beauty in it myself.

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