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question about: the german language
Thread poster: Jamann
Jamann
English
Jan 4, 2005

How many German words does a person has to know before one can say they are a speaker of the german language? The reason I didn't put down the German language as a language that I speak in my profile, is because I don't know if I Legally Speak German, with knowing 150-175 words in German.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
You're Illegal Jan 5, 2005

I don't know German at all, but in order to claim that you speak any language, not only do you need a wide vocabulary, you also need to have a decent mastery of the grammar and be able to use it properly without hestitation, as well as a decent accent when speaking and a good knowledge of the standard, accepted patterns of the language. You also need to have a good understanding of what people are saying to you, plus reading and writing.

I am not saying native fluency which few if any learners could ever attain, but at least enough to get along pretty well. If you know less than that, then you know "some" German (or whatever language).

There are tests and rating scales for different levels of language fluency, but a vocabulary of less than 200 words would not put you on any scale.

I would say that to translate out of any language your fluency should be near-native, and to go into it it should be equal to native.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Probably not Jan 5, 2005

A person might memorize the entire dictionary and still not be a speaker of the language in question. It is not only a matter of vocabulary but also how to put the words together. Thus mere word count is not enough to judge a person's ability to speak the language, whether it is German or any other language.

As for your particular case, could you go through your entire day speaking German, i.e. could you carry out all your usual everyday communication in German? Could you pass a high school course in, say, history or biology in German, writing all the assignments and exams in German? It seems unlikely that anyone could do so with a vocabulary of less than 200 words. So I would guess that you are not ready to call yourself a German speaker yet.

ProZ is a site for professional translators, but it is not so helpful for language learners. There are many other sites that may be more useful to you for building your German vocabulary and communication skills, for example, http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang_inhalt.htm, http://german.about.com/, and http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/index.shtml.

[Edited at 2005-01-05 02:39]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:55
German to English
question about: the german language Jan 5, 2005

Jamann wrote:

How many German words does a person has to know before one can say they are a speaker of the german language? The reason I didn't put down the German language as a language that I speak in my profile, is because I don't know if I Legally Speak German, with knowing 150-175 words in German.


Hi Jamann, what do you want to accomplish with your profile? Are you a translator? If so, what is your native language and what language do you translate into? If you're a language learner, then I agree with GoodWords that other sites are much more suitable for learning a language than ProZ.com. We would be in a better position to help you with your question if you told us a little more about your goals.
Cheers, Kim


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xxxHirschmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:55
English to German
+ ...
Sorry to see how my colleagues have become victims of a buffoon Jan 5, 2005

Obviously, this guy who claims to know 150 to 175 words of German has taken you for a ride.

[Edited at 2005-01-05 20:44]


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Jamann
English
TOPIC STARTER
Very sorry Jan 5, 2005

I'm sorry I didn't mean to offend anyone, please forgive me. I still have alot to learn. I Stopped studying German. I feel quite ashame of myself for trying to learn german. Once
again I'm sorry.

[Edited at 2006-03-29 08:44]


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