The Awful German Language

Read by Rainer

(4 stars; 131 reviews)

If you’ve ever studied German (and maybe even if you haven’t), you’re likely to find this short essay to be hilarious. Published as Appendix D from Twain’s 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, this comedic gem outlines the pitfalls one will encounter when trying to wrap one’s mind around the torturous German cases, adjective endings, noun genders, and verb placement.

(Summary by Kara) (1 hr 3 min)


Part 1 15:53 Read by Rainer
Part 2 20:51 Read by Rainer
Part 3 26:31 Read by Rainer


wonderful! And oh-so relatable

(4.5 stars)

I have recently begun the grueling task of learning German on my own. After a particularly frustrating lesson, I saw the title of this and decided, 'eh, what the heck.' Mark Twain hits upon some of the most discouraging and infuriating hangups for a learner of this language. Do you use masculine, Feminine, or Neutral? How many different meanings can the Godforsaken 'sie' have? And Why must simple verbs be made so difficult? This is a hilarious work that is made possibly more so by the genuine German accent of the fellow reading it. A must for all German learners!

Humorous, true:)

(4.5 stars)

Slowly trying to learn the German language for years, this short writing by Twain really tickled me; it is the awful truth! I laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes! A good reading, an amusing story, and definitely worth the listen! Thank you!

lovely little gem

(4 stars)

I stumbled across this little gem one evening and so glad I did. It was very amusing, funny at moments. Its read by a native German speaker and I can only imagine his amusement with the piece. As an adult I learned a Germanic language so this was very familiar and amusing.

Also, so good

(5 stars)

Mark Twain was such a witty writer, and Rainer’s reading, with his accent and occasional not-unexpected mispronunciations, was brilliant. Comedy is always funnier when it’s true, and being able to laugh at oneself is a wonderful gift. Five stars!

The Awful German Language

(2.5 stars)

The book is excellent, but the reader should at least be able to speak and pronounce proper English. His reading was hard to understand and unfortunately I was not able to get through the whole book.

very entertaining

(5 stars)

This is a very funny essay on German language. Read by a native German speaker. His English pronunciation has some flaws, but all the same it was a very entertaining reading.

(5 stars)

Still so very, very true. I laughed out loud several times during this reading. It sounds like it is read by a native German with a good command of English.

(4 stars)

Fun look at a language I’m puzzling over. Native speaker reading it in English, so sometimes hard to understand.. which enhances Mark Twains humor