The Awful German Language (version 2)

Read by Kirsten Wever

(4.7 stars; 69 reviews)

This long essay is a work of mock philology, one of several appendices to Twain’s travel novel, A Tramp Abroad. In it, Twain explains, complains about, and shows how one might improve upon various aspects of the (awful) German language. His examples of precisely how the German language is awful include the famed “separable verb” – which allows one to put the first part of a given verb at the beginning – and its second part at the end – of a given clause or sentence (which may, indeed, be very long). He also makes fun of the extreme length of certain compound nouns (which are created by tacking two – or more – words together, without using hyphens to clarify where one ends and the next begins), as well as the many noun and verb forms one must master (memorize) in order to use German cases properly.
As the essay progresses, Twain includes a few hilarious passages that are partly or mostly in (his own, awful) German. Nevertheless, the work is easily understandable even by people who don’t know any German at all.
(In the novel, A Tramp Abroad, Twain details his journey with his friend, Harris, through Germany, the Alps, and Italy, where he encounters various ridiculous situations. Here, much of the humor lies in his silly, often over-stated characterization of the circumstances as quickly grasped and easily explained by such a seasoned tourist as himself, while he also make plain throughout the profoundly strange nature of many of his experiences, and the various pitfalls he and Harris run into as they try to navigate their unfamiliar terrain.) (Introduction by Kirsten Wever) (1 hr 2 min)


Section 01 6:09 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 02 7:43 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 03 17:13 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 04 4:08 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 05 7:40 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 06 7:12 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 07 6:44 Read by Kirsten Wever
Section 08 6:03 Read by Kirsten Wever



(5 stars)

I don't speak a word of German, but I decided to give this book a try based on its reviews. My only complaint is that instead of lulling me to sleep as it was meant to it kept me in stitches until the whole book was finished. I literally laughed til I cried (and now the morning after I am crying that I didn't get more rest!) Awesome reading for her great pronunciation and the very appropriate wry Twain-esque tone. Thank you!

I laugh me DEAD! (great, funny essay and a fantastic reader!)

(5 stars)

For whatever reason when doing English and German Studies at university I niemals came across this fantastischer Text! Mein Gott! What a delicious and mind - nourishing piece of literature I have missed! But tonight I devoured this "amuse-gueule" twice!!! After laughing myself 3 or 4 times nearly to death, I had to listen to it a second time. This is also due to the fantastic "she - reader", or would it be a "readeress", who hat an awesome reading done!

Reader is great; book is hilarious

(5 stars)

The reader is fantastic. She perfectly brings out Twain’s dry humor and character. She also reads the German parts very well and with a natural accent, which helped me as a non-native German speaker understand the German.

thumbs up

(5 stars)

this is my first audio book and it was Super funny! I loved the tone of the reader, also in the German parts. Thanks for sharing this!

(5 stars)

Kirsten reads this work well, including the many German passages, which would be difficult for most English speakers. It is a short but very entertaining story

awesome german

(5 stars)

good fun. i never tire of mark twain's languid, good natured (usually) irony. nicely captured by the reader as well. recommended.


(5 stars)

well read by Kirsten! it makes me want to take the challenge to learn German

what a funny language

(5 stars)

Very amusing to listen to. Very well read by reader.