English is crisp, elegant, and terse.
I once said to a friend, “English is like a bonsai tree. German is like…a wild overgrown forest.” So I could only nod and smile when I came across this piece in The Germans by Gordon A. Craig: “…the most frequent cause of foreign misunderstanding is not the sometimes clumsy form assumed by written and spoken German but rather the difficulty of determining what is actually being said. The non-German reader has the impression of trying to cut his way through the jungle of words, many of which have no precise meaning, a good percentage of which are clearly redundant, and some of which appear to be superfluous.”
German will never be known for its succinctness.
German’s worth lies in its strength, its passion.
Due to the inherent differences in the languages they evoke quite different feelings in the listener or reader. And some things just naturally sound better in one rather than the other. There is a reason why Germany is not known for its comedies. But drama! The German language was made for drama- and the more dramatic the better.
So what better book to try reading next than my beloved Wuthering Heights? How will it fare?
Entitled Die Sturmhöhe in German, here is a piece that you will probably be able to recognize:
“Mein Liebe zu Linton ist wie das Laub im Walde: die Zeit wird sie änderen, ich bin mir dessen bewußt, wie der Winter die Bäume verändert. Meine Liebe zu Heathcliffe gleicht den ewigen Felsen dort unten; sie ist eine Quelle kaum wahrnehmbarer Freuden, aber sie ist notwendig. Nelly, ich bin Heathcliffe! Ich habe ihn immer, immer im Sinn, nicht zum Vergnügen, genausowenig, wie ich mir selbst stets ein Vergnügen bin, sondern als mein eigenes Sein.”