A Simplified Version of the German Language

A Parody

A man on the surface of the moon next to his shuttle
In 2016 the world (of German learners) is going to change. fStop Images - Caspar Benson @getty

Due to many complaints about German being too difficult to learn, the German Institute for Efficiency in International Relations (Bundesinstitut für Effizient in internationalen Relationen, short: BIER) has initiated an Initiative to improve the learnability of German. A commission consisting of renowned experts has already published some very promising suggestions. Among them:

One (Article and Case) to Rule them All

The articles, namely der, das, die, den, dem, des, shall be reduced to just one form: de 
e.g.

De Mann ist alt. Ich liebe de Mann. Ich möchte mit de Mann sprechen.

The cases then can be eliminated (see example above)

Prepositions do not have to be learned with their respective cases anymore
e.g. De Schlüssel liegt auf de Tisch. Was machst du mit de Schlüssel?

Adjectives will not require any ending anymore and simply be used in their infinite form.
e.g. De neu Auto war teuer. Ich möchte auch ein neu Auto. Fahren wir mit dein neu Auto?

Goodbye Capitalization

Another idea is to eliminate that nasty capitalization of nouns. Unlike in English, Germans tend to capitalize a lot of words. "the house" becomes "das Haus". Actually any word that could use a  "the" in English is being capitalized by the Germans. And there are quite a few exceptions, like "Mir wird angst und bange." meaning: I am scared. But it's "die Angst", so why is it not capitalized? You don't want me to go into detail here. Just learn it as an exception, that will be far easier than to understand the thoughts of those linguists who have simplified the German language in 1996.

But soon the only words that will be capitalized will be the first letters of the first word in a sentence:

  • "Die Deutsche Sprache ist die schönste Sprache der Welt." will then become:
  • "Die deutsche sprache ist die schönste sprache der welt." 

Simple, isn't it? And forget those, who complain about those absurd situations, where capitalization makes a difference.

Those are rare enough to be ignored and you will certainly understand the meaning of those sentences with help of their context. Just some examples:

  • "Der gefangene Floh." means: The captured flea.
  • "Der Gefangene floh." means: The inmate fled.

Hard to mistake one for the other, right? Another example:

  • "Er hat in Berlin liebe Genossen." means: He has got lovely companions in Berlin.
  • "Er hat in Berlin Liebe genossen." means: He has enjoyed love in Berlin.

Let's just get rid of those capital letters once and for almost all.

More examples can be found here.

A Single Plural

The German plural forces you to handle 8 possible changes to the noun. Here they are in an overview (order: Singular-Plural):

  1. das Kind = die Kinder (adds an "-er")
  2. das Land = die Länder (adds an "-er" and gets an Umlaut)
  3. das Auto = die Autos (adds an "-s")
  4. das Fenster = die Fenster (doesn't change)
  5. der Vater = die Väter (doesn't change but gets an Umlaut)
  6. die Lampe = die Lampen (adds an "-(e)n)
  7. der Tisch = die Tische (adds an "-e")
  8. der Sack = die Säcke (adds an "-e" but gets an Umlaut)
  9. Whenever the plural does not already end in "-s" "-n" or belongs to groups 4 or 5, it will get an additional "-n" if it is in the dative case.

We Germans are very proud of our sophisticated grammar.

Please find me another language with nine options for the plural. And those are just the nouns. Imagine adding adjectives to those! 

But as we are also very empathic and feel your pain, in the future you will only be confronted with one form: "-(e)s" almost like in Englisch. Some examples. Can you make sense of them?

  •  Die Kindes waren all fröhlich.
  • All Landes brauchen Touristes.
  • Ich habe all Fensters geputzt.
  • Ich habe mit viel Vaters gesprochen.
  • In mein Wohnung stehen fünf Tisches.

There's no need for Irregular Verbs

Although there's only about a hundred irregular German verbs and in the end they are not THAT irregular, it simply doesn't make any sense to keep them alive. And despite all kinds of creative efforts to teach them in memorable ways, learners and natives, who have to hear non-natives speak broken German, still suffer from them.

Then there is this brain-breaking auxiliary verb "sein" that has to be used with some verbs in the Perfekt-past which will also be eradicated. In the future you will not hear sentences like the following but their updated versions:

Old version
Ich bin gestern früher von der Arbeit nach Hause gegangen.
= I have left work earlier and went home. 
New version 
Ich habe gestern früher von de Arbeit nach Hause gegeht.

Old version
Ich habe dich ja lange nicht mehr gesehen.
= I haven't seen you in a while.
New version
Ich habe dich ja lang nicht mehr geseht.

Old version
Hast du die Schlüssel mitgenommen?
= Have you taken the keys?
New version
Hast du de Schlüssel mitgenehmt?

Much easier, right?

A Tiny Step for a (Ger)man

Those might be tiny steps for a German but huge steps for any non-German. If you are thinking of learning German any time soon, maybe wait until these rules are in place as it will become a lot easier. 

Please note: This article was originally published on April Fools' Day and should be read accordingly.