Forget pitfall of German grammar

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From: H Marjorie Gill, Clarence Drive, Menston.

SEVERAL of your correspondents have remarked about the difficulty in learning the German language.

As a girl, I was sent to live with a German family in Cologne. The father and daughter were both school teachers so I could not have had better instructors.

Unfortunately, I have a very poor memory (for instance when I was there, I forgot my English) so from the practical point of view it was a mistake. However, although I agree that learning German is extremely difficult in some respects, it is easy both to read and speak and understand.

The obvious difficulty comes with the absurd grammatical situations which occur in every aspect of German speech. As a child, of course I made many mistakes, but people could perfectly understand me even if they smilingly thought I was an ignoramus.

So what I would suggest to the people who wish to have business contacts with their German counterparts is a little discussion on whether it would be possible to forget these tiresome grammatical obstacles and, perhaps, we would forgive their inability to master the English spelling which is equally difficult?

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

THE older I get the more I believe that, despite all the familiar complaints, this is still the best country in the world to live.

I admire Germany in many ways but it is an over-regulated society, eg washing machines can only be used at certain times etc.

I well remember when I was doing my Open University degree course and we had a discussion group on the set book by D H Lawrence. Some Germans were in attendance and they expressed admiration for what we were doing. One of them said he loved all the gardens over here; of course, many Germans live in flats or apartments.

The moral of this is, I suppose, that we should count our blessings because we have a distinctive lifestyle. Yes, we may not be great shakes in economic terms but there are more things in life than worldly wealth.

From: Rodney Atkinson, Meadowield Road, Stocksfield, Northumberland.

GERMANY has not been “European” or supportive of the rest of Europe – it has selfishly and disastrously pursued a ruthless economic game.

Over the last 10 years since the founding of the euro, it has built up a 750bn euro trade surplus with the rest of the eurozone and its exports have risen eight-fold to 47 per cent of GDP – a gross, unheard of and unsustainable level. This trade largesse resulting from Germany’s artificially low currency has not done Germans any good. I have been going to Germany for more than 40 years and have never seen the German consumer or German infrastructure in a worse condition. High streets have empty shops, rural railway stations are in poor condition, savings are (by German standards) being decimated. Even German industry cannot find enough skilled workers.

The only way out for Germany happens to be the only way out for the rest of Europe – the break up of the euro and the return of national currencies.

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Acomb, York.

THANK you so much for printing the large number of readers’ letters about Germany. It is so good to see how positive and appreciative most of them are about the successes of modern Germany.

I have been saying these things for decades, but only very recently have others joined in.

It’s a grin up North

From: Ken Hartford, Durham Mews, Butt Lane, Beverley.

AS a Londoner who has lived in Yorkshire since the 1960s, I should like to thank Yorkshire people, particularly the comedians throughout the county, for helping to maintain my own sense of humour since before the Second World War – I was born in 1926.

I should never have survived this long without that northern, particularly Yorkshire and Geordie and to some extent Lancashire, sense of humour. Probably all the best comedians and comediennes have been reared in one of these three main counties of “fun and games” – the games being cricket, football and rugby, of course – in that order for me.

John Cleese’s film Clockwise, starting at Hull railway station, must be one of the most amusing films I have ever seen and all the best television serials have been based on one of these three areas, I think.

It is not that I don’t like some southern humour, but West End theatre has rarely been as amusing as any northern counties entertainment of any kind.

Indeed, do not the southerners come north to make the best films (of any kind)?

Digital signal from ‘home’

From: N Taylor, Winton Road, Northallerton.

ONE can only commiserate with M P Fitzgerald (Yorkshire Post, December 5) for his inability to get a decent digital TV signal. I live but a half mile from him, in a bungalow, with a standard 10 element Yagi, and since digital we now get perfect reception from Yorkshire TV and have finally got rid of the Geordie mob from Newcastle.

Although we can get an equally good signal from Bilsdale through the back element, our aerial is directed to Yorkshire TV and channels 1 and 2 are respectively Yorkshire TV, Newcastle being relegated to the 800s. So, it’s goodbye to the “harraway mi bonny lads”.

After all, Northallerton is the county town of North Yorkshire and it is time Christa and Harry stopped cutting their map off at Thirsk and let the northern Northyorkers cum ‘ome now that digital is the final outcome of the changes. So come on BBC, Mr Fitzgerald is right – he’s a Yorkshireman so get him a decent signal, it’s what he pays for.