I am interested in learning German since I am fascinated about the German automation machines and I want to study in a German university. I want to know whether learning German directly helps in learning other european languages.

Are there any other languages similar enough to German that knowing German will be a major help in learning those other languages?

  • 2
    I'm not quite sure right now, if I'll vote for close, because not constructive. However, here's my opinion: I think not. I could imagine it might be easier to learn a second Romance language if you already speak another one. But I doubt that German will help you learning those languages. On the contrary, if you speak German well, it will be easier learning Dutch and English but at the very least you already know one of them ;)
    – Em1
    Sep 11, 2012 at 7:02
  • This would also depend on what your native language is. Are you already familiar with cases and grammatical gender? If you aren't, learning German will teach you these concepts and you will be able to use that knowledge when you learn another language that has these concepts.
    – elena
    Sep 11, 2012 at 9:08
  • @Em1: In my opinion this question is constructive, it is just off topic. But you and elena basically answered it. Sep 11, 2012 at 12:34
  • 1
    I know this has been closed, and I agree that it probably is off topic. But I just want to say that I disagree with the approach most people are taking in their answers: I think that learning ANY language helps in learning ANY other language, because you learn more about languages by learning a language different from your own. I know the question says 'directly helps', but I think that is a direct help.
    – Tara B
    Sep 12, 2012 at 14:45
  • I have clarified the question and wonder if it can be reopened in its current form.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 6, 2014 at 18:56

3 Answers 3


You can check this site: Languages similar to German

If you learn German it may be easier for you to learn a language that is similar to it or that share some grammar principles with it. The site I indicated show you some languages that are similar to German and how hard it will be to learn some other similar languages if you speak German.


As a native speaker in German I have to say German is a very difficult language (in comparison to Spanish for example). It will definitely not help you with learning French as they don't have anything in common. It might help you with languages that have different genders as already mentioned, although you have to learn the gender for each word by heart in German (for example in Latin you can mostly tell it by the ending of the word -us is male, -a is female and so on, there are no such rules in German).

I'm sure it will not help you with learning tenses, I don't think they are so highly developed in German.

What is your native language?

  • In Latin you have to learn the declension class for every noun by heart, too. At least, in German we don't have five of them and the casus (not casi!) are a little less in numbers, too... Sep 12, 2012 at 5:54
  • 1
    Adding to what @Alex said, "there are no such rules in German" is plain wrong. Nouns ending in -keit and -heit are feminine, those ending in -chen and -lein are neuter; the agent-noun suffix -er is masculine, while -erin is feminine. And so on and so forth. Also, Latin has seven cases, while German only has four, of which only 2½ are ever used. You fail to realize all this precisely because you're a native speaker and never had to learn German as a second language. There will always be things completely invisible to you that are immediately apparent to non-native speakers.
    – RegDwight
    Sep 24, 2012 at 14:55
  • People often forget that there are cases in French as well (even if almost only the pronouns are declined), and learning a language where their use is as clear as it is in German will help you understand the French grammar. In French schools pupils who study German as their first foreign language instead of English often have better grades in French class.
    – Yves
    Aug 7, 2014 at 16:54

German is not a difficult language (especially compared to French, or even to Spanish) and because of its very clear structure, grammar and pronunciation, you can learn it quickly.

A lot of German grammar structures are very close to Latin, so it will help you learn other Latin languages. It can help you to learn French, because you will have a clear structure in mind. However, the vocabulary is totally different, and there are some (but not many) major differences in the use of tenses. French has also a lot of specific difficulties. As a good speaker of both languages I would say it helps if you learn German first, but if you want to learn French, it will be easier if you start with another Latin language than if you start with German.

On studying automation in Germany, you should rather do it in English, because the Germans have a lot of industrial, engineering or scientific concepts in their language (check wikipedia.de...) which are different from the English or American ones (though it's okay with automation), and I mean words that you cannot simply translate into English. In French for example you're more likely to have an English word for every French word. This can make things more difficult.

  • 2
    "A lot of German grammar structures are very close to Latin, so it will help you learn other Latin languages." - Citation needed. While German shares some properties with Latin, the Romance languages are much more similar to Latin, and many of the features that both languages have in common (case system, tenses, ...) also occur in many other Indo-European languages. Aug 7, 2014 at 16:18
  • Some grammar structures similar to Latin and Latin languages (if you need details): Declension and cases, tense structures and conjugation, participle tenses and adjectivation, adjective declension, substantive declension (even if mostly old-fashioned in everyday life).
    – Yves
    Aug 7, 2014 at 16:48
  • Allow me to disagree. German is my native language, and I found the grammatical structure of Latin and German to be quite different. Sure, there are similarities, and if you speak a language that doesn't have, e.g., noun cases, learning that aspect of Latin will complicate things. But staying with the example, the Latin noun case system seemed to be way more complex to me, and knowing things from German didn't help much. Aug 7, 2014 at 18:20
  • Tenses: Latin:French = basically 1:1, same for the other contemporary Latin languages. I'm German and I studied first Latin, then French, then Italian, and I never get it when people from Latin countries explain to me how German is so similar to Latin … In my experience it is not at all. Ceterum censeo: Everybody should learn Latin, at least a bit!
    – Lumi
    Aug 7, 2014 at 21:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.