Am Anfang hat Judith schlecht Spanisch gesprochen.

In a test, I was given the above sentence and should mark the following statement as true or false:

Judith hatte keine Probleme mit der Sprache.

I marked this as falsch, but according to my teacher that’s a bad solution.

Does schlecht mean that she had problems with the language? In my opinion, schlecht means poor, for example schlechtes Englisch means poor English. Am I correct?

  • And I think if someone speaks poor English that isn't determines that this person has problems with the language. Feb 11, 2016 at 21:39
  • 3
    Your answer is correct. The second statement is wrong according to the original statement. Therfore "falsch" is the only correct answer.
    – jonatbergn
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


I tried to find an explanation for the apparently strange statement of your teacher, I hope you get what I mean:

Am Anfang hat Judith schlecht Spanisch gesprochen.

Could be translated as: At the beginning (or at first) Judith had spoken in a poor/bad Spanish

This statement does not necessary means she had Problems with the language itself, for example maybe she could understand it well, but had very basic vocabulary.
But if one could deduce that she had pronunciation problems … syntax problems … I’d rather agree with you and say she had problems with that language.
Well as we know, when we learn a new language at the beginning most of us keep thinking in our own, so as a German I would build for example Spanish sentences according a German sentence structure and so on. It’s really hard to say that these problems have nothing to do with the language. But maybe somebody who is learning a language and having such “problems” would say “no I have no problems”, as this is usual at a beginner status!

Judith hatte keine Probleme mit der Sprache.

This simply means: Judith didn’t have any problems with the language!

As you see the margin allowing us to mark this statement as richtig according to the first one is very thin but it could to some extent be accepted. While marking it as falsch seems clearly favorable! Espacially as anything that would come in mind when reading the first statement to explain why the second could be correct could be objected because of the word keine/any!


Whilst not being a particulary elegant solution, yes, you can use schlecht in that context. I’d still prefer something like:

Am Anfang hatte Judith Probleme mit der spanischen Sprache.

as your solution is very basic and its not necessary to dodge having problems.

  • 1
    As far as I understand the question, neither of the two sentences are by the OP. Both were given to them in a test, and the "solution" consists exclusively of determining whether they are contradictory or not. Feb 12, 2016 at 20:50

It means, she spoke it poorly/badly, had no skills.

  • 1
    Please elaborate how this relates to the teacher’s opinion of whether OP’s second sentence is true or false given the context of OP’s first sentence.
    – Jan
    Feb 13, 2016 at 18:30
  • This information wasn't provided when I wrote my answer. The question was heavily altered as you can see here german.stackexchange.com/posts/28140/revisions Mar 7, 2016 at 16:24
  • In that case, feel free to edit your answer to fit it to the actual question ;)
    – Jan
    Mar 20, 2016 at 20:09
  • So, in your opinion, I should check ALL questions I answered on a regular basis, just to see, if they were altered to adjust my answer? Mar 23, 2016 at 20:09
  • Not necessarily. But you should check/edit them if you are pinged by a comment imho. Also, the question was asked and edited within 12 hours, there have been no edits since. It’s not like it took forever and German.SE is known for moving rather slowly …
    – Jan
    Mar 30, 2016 at 23:05

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