German – Reloaded (Or: Why German Should’t Scare You)
German language is relatively easy. “All those of us that know a derived language from Latin like Portuguese language and are used to conjugate some verbs can learn it quickly…” That’s what the German language teacher said at the first lesson.
Let’s go… To illustrate such a simplicity, imagine that we will study an example. First, we take a book in German, in this case a magnificent and beautiful leathered book, published in Dortmund, and that is about the uses and way of life of the Australian Indians Hotentotes (in German, “Hottentotten“). I could swear that those Hotentotes were from Africa, well… I could be wrong, at last.
The book teaches that the kangaroos (Beutelratten) are captured and put in cages (Kotter) covered with a canvas (Lattengitter) to protect them from the elements. Those cages, in German, are called “cages covered with canvas” (Lattengitterkotter) and, when they have inside a kangaroo, we call all the group as “cage covered with canvas with a kangaroo” (Lattengitterkotterbeutelratten).
One day, the hotentotes arrested a murderer (Attentäter), accused of having killed the Hotentote (Hottentotter) mother (Mutter) (a Hottentottermutter) of a deaf and mute boy (Stottertrottel). That woman, in German, is called Hottentottenstottertrottelmutter and, her murderer, we call easily Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterattentäter.
In the book, the Indians caught him and, without having where to put him, they used a kangaroo cage (Beutelrattenlattengitterkotter). But, incidentally, the prisoner escaped. After they began the search, quickly came up a Hotentote warrior screaming:
- We caught the murderer (Attentäter)!
- What?? - asked the chief.
- Lattengitterkotterbeutelratterattentäter - the warrior answered.
- Who? The murderer that was in the cage of kangaroos covered with canvas? - the chief of the Hotentotes asks.
- Yes - answers the native with great difficulty - Hottentottenstottertrottelmutteratentäter (The murder of the deaf and mute boy’s mother).
- Ah - the chief says - you could have said since the beginning that you had caught the Hottentotterstottertrottelmutterlattengitterkotterbeutelrattenattentäter!