Take It Easy and Learn German! Posted by Sten on Jul 17, 2016 in Culture, Language, Literature, Practice, vocabulary
There are many ways to learn a language, but German is sometimes hard to start with. Fortunately, there are initiatives such as Leichte Sprache, which can make things a lot easier. Read on!
“(1) Hält ein Gericht ein Gesetz, auf dessen Gültigkeit es bei der Entscheidung ankommt, für verfassungswidrig, so ist das Verfahren auszusetzen und, wenn es sich um die Verletzung der Verfassung eines Landes handelt, die Entscheidung des für Verfassungsstreitigkeiten zuständigen Gerichtes des Landes, wenn es sich um die Verletzung dieses Grundgesetzes handelt, die Entscheidung des Bundesverfassungsgerichtes einzuholen. Dies gilt auch, wenn es sich um die Verletzung dieses Grundgesetzes durch Landesrecht oder um die Unvereinbarkeit eines Landesgesetzes mit einem Bundesgesetze handelt.”
This is the first paragraph of Article 100 of the German Constitution, the Grundgesetz. It is a good example of how German can be quite complicated! Now, I will admit, legal language is often enough hard to grasp, but I think German excels in making it difficult. I am sure you have experienced this during your time learning German! Hence the saying, deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache.
If you have difficulties with the complex sentence structures, long and difficult words, you are not alone. In fact, there is an organization, called Leichte Sprache, that converts difficult language into easy language. Sentences are short, using common words and are often accompanied by pictures to explain the text. The idea behind it is actually a great cause. It was conceived for people with learning difficulties, so that also they can understand and participate everywhere.
Of course, even if you don’t have learning difficulties, simplified language when learning a language, especially at the beginning, is very welcome! It has been used as a learning tool recently as well for Flüchtlinge (refugees) that have entered Germany to learn German more easily.
Where can you find leichte Sprache?
On their website, they provide some Bücher (books) that they made in leichte Sprache. But since they have a Gütesiegel (quality seal) for texts that are written in Leichte Sprache, they are easier to identify. You will see either the seal on the right, or the one on the left, which is most common. They have rules that leichte Sprache needs to follow. There is even a language proofing tool that will highlight parts of a text that are problematic for it to be considered leicht.
One example is Hurraki, a dictionary in leichte Sprache.
Newspapers, such as the Augsburger Allgemeine write articles in leichte Sprache. The Austrian newspaper Kurier offers articles in einfacher Sprache, which is similar to leichte Sprache. It is a bit more difficult, by also using more advanced words.
If you don’t mind spending some money on getting a book, there are whole novels written in leichte and einfache Sprache. Here is a list of some examples.
And this is just a small part of all that’s out there. There is so much more!
So, take it easy and learn German! Enjoy 🙂