The Aweful German Language by Mark Twain

Mark Twain
The aweful German language
Manuscriptum (2004)
 Book review | The Aweful German Language by Mark Twain | 5 stars



– This book didn’t have a synopsis on the cover –

In this non-fiction book, Twain points out all the reasons why the German language is horrible, and suggests reforms.


I know, I know, my synopsis sounds horrible. How can something like that have gotten five stars? Well, if I’d have made it any longer it would’ve already been a review, which then makes a separate review pointless, doesn’t it?

To the point: if you know English and any German, you’ll probably love this book. I know I did. Twain points out all the things in the German language that are terrible in a very funny, yet also concise manner. It is so recognizable: things like cases, or tremendously long words (compound words) are discussed.

Additionally to this, in my copy, the English text was translated on the next page into German. Almost as to compare the truth of what Twain was saying. The last half of the book includes some rhymes Twain translated from Heinrich Hoffmanns (those of Struwwelpeter, for those who know that). The rhymes aren’t literally translated, but instead stay true to the cadence of the original rhymes. They’re a nice addition, though I’m not much of a fan of poetry.

At the very end (in this copy) there is a short discussion (in German). It highlights Twain’s travel through Germany and what he wrote while travelling.

All in all, I thought this was a very funny and recognizable discussion of the German language. If you see a copy, pick it up!


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