I need to learn Spanish and German for my short novel and I need to learn the language fast.

One thing I wanted to do is to learn the 100 most used connector words and learn to write short and simple sentences with them.

My character is an American in Europe and he speaks in broken German and Spanish, but in order to make sure he speaks broken German and Spanish I need to know how to not speak in broken German and Spanish.

By connector words I mean words that allows to tie two phrases together like: because, however, but, moreover, therefore, since, nevertheless, instead of, earlier than, later than, considering that, etc.

Is there a way to do this? Are there resources like dictionaries using machine learning for this purpose?

3 Answers 3


Seriously, your best bet is to team up with someone good at German and Spanish (can be two different people) and have them check your German and Spanish lines for you, or even translate from the meaning you give. Learning a language well is a task for years and you sure won't achieve it by teaching yourself without any live practice.

If you have to do with dictionaries, standard practice is to list from the most common variant down: But; though; however. Or at least it used to be before the dawn of internet community-made dictionaries that seem to list in no particular order.

What's worse, dictionaries aren't likely to help you much with grammar: picking the right case, the right preposition for a phrase, the right verb tense (different languages often have very different systems of tenses, and even if they look similar, don't expect "ich habe gesagt" to have the same range of application as "I have said"), the right person regarding formal/informal address, arranging the words in a natural-sounding word order, knowing when you can (and should!) omit a pronoun. Even just remembering which words you have to decline can be tricky. And when it comes to style levels, you're up the creek without a paddle. Absolutely can't recommend.

If you really have no other option, do two things:

One, look up the back translation. If it doesn't fit, your translation is probably wrong.

Two, run your lines (or simpler clauses and phrases they're built from, in case of a more complex sentence) through Google. If few occurences show up, or the occurences that do show up belong to a very different context, then it's likely this isn't how one would say what you're trying to say.

You won't catch all mistakes that way, but at least some.

  • "Sie" isn't the polite form. It is the form you use formally. "Du" is for family and friends. If you were to say "Du Arschloch" in an argument with stranger, that would be like taking that person into your group of friends.
    – JRE
    Dec 13, 2022 at 18:20
  • @JRE I'll defer to you on that, but I still think it's amusing because that isn't how it works in any of the languages that I do speak. In those, address in the formal person is a performative sign of respect, and in a situation that would otherwise call for it, dropping it is the first thing you do to express you don't have any respect for your, uh, partner in conversation; namecalling optional. I guess it goes to show the deeper point here - never take it for granted that anything works the same between two languages.
    – Divizna
    Dec 20, 2022 at 18:43

I'm not sure if it's exactly what you searh for but there is this website for the top 1000 words in german where you will find some connector words by the way.

You might need to check if you want to practice the spanish from Spain of from America, there is some differences.


As an American who speaks broken German, German does have the benefit that your sentence structure is going to look the same as it does in English. From my progress, German does tend to be a bit more ridged about word order than English, where Yoda-isms are correct, so long as your subject preceeds your verb, your predicate can go anywhere (i.e. "Judge me by my size do you?" is asking the same thing as "Do you judge me by my size?") or Spanish (any Romantic language really) which doesn't need any order of words so long as you use the right suffixes (though the verb usually is used last in a sentence, this just looks nice). The good news is that most of those words in German will not be gendered, so you only have to use it once.

I'd recommend "Google Translate" and switch the input to English, and output to German. While there are a lot of words both languages share, these aren't commonly shared words so if you input and output look the same, try to find something else. An American with basic understanding of the language will say something that is going to look like google translate just because it's harder to learn proper grammar than it is memorizing vocabulary.

One of the more problematic issues with German is that it's a gendered language (as is English, but we tend to use gender following logical order: If a noun has a biological sex, it's gender will always be related to the thing's sex. If it is incapable of having a sex, then it is neutral. Thus a Man, Boy, Dog (male hound), and Fisherman are all male, while a Woman, Girl, Bitch (female hound), and Fisherman's Wife (the German word corresponds to Fishwife) are all female and The Fish, the Scales (of a fish), the turnip, and a non-specific gendered Hound are neutral. Logical, simple.

The Germans not so much: Man, Boy, Hounds (both dogs and bitches), Fishermen, Fish and Turnips are all male, The Woman, and scale are female, and fishwife and girl and neutral. Mark Twain actually got the Germans to laugh (No one takes comedy as seriously as the Germans) by pointing this out by using the "correct" pronouns to tell "The tale of the Fishwife and it's sad life" which is a bout a fishwife who is descaling a fish when "one of his (the fish) scales falls in it's (the fishwife's) eyes and it (the fishwife) cannot get her (the scale) out." (In modern German, when there is a specific person identified as a fishwife, they would use female pronouns rather than neutral pronouns) He also concludes the following quip:

In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl.

This isn't a problem with just German but also Romantic Languages and Russian have issues with this... Twain was learning german when he wrote the essay. It still is difficult for English speakers because we don't tend to veiw English as a gendered language (it is... it's just that we use it in correspondence to sex) and it looks rather bizzare in german because it only changes which articles you use with the word ("The" and "a/an" In English "the" covers all nouns, "a" is used for all nouns unless the word starts with a vowel sound, then it's "an". In German, it's "der(m), Die (f), Das (n)" and "Einer(m), Eine(f), and Ein(n)". In case your wondering, yes, it does translate to "The Bart The" and is pronounced Dee not Di... and the confusion over Eine and Ein led to JFK famously telling the people of Berlin that "I am a jelly donut." ("Ich bin ein Berliner"). Except not really... Kennedy did say the proper "eine" for a person from the city of Berlin (which is female) and his non-native accent over the tv sounded like "ein". Additionally, to the people of Berlin, Berliner only refers to "one from Berlin". The term "Das Berliner" is a jelly donut, but it's not the term "die Berliners" use for the treat... much like how in the United States, the place you grew up in will determine if you call a carbonated beverage "soda", "pop", or "coke" (in the case of the later, coke is a generic term for any fizzy drink... even if it's Pepsi).

English speakers who barely know German will always give themselves away by stumbling over gender in the german language, so don't be afraid to call the girl by neutral pronouns when discussing a girl in view. I speak from personal experience that, while traveling in Germany, the Germans were instantly able to pick me out as a native English speaker because of my poor command of proper gender (though they incorrectly guessed that I was from England... which is the most common source of native English speakers Germans are likely to encounter. And when they learned I was an American, they loudly proclaimed that this was "even better." Modern Germans, especially older millenials, are tend to view Americans more favorably then what is sterotypical of Europeans. Helps that for most of the cold war, they really wanted to get into the American side of the wall and East Berlin was practically bombarded by Western culture in the 80s and 90s).

Just to vouch my ability to speak German, I can ask for basic directions and order food in German fairly well, occasionally mentally count in German, and can understand what the bad guys in any movie set in WWII are saying reasonably well without the use of subtitles. I still for some reason speak in an amusing Bavarian accent (as a German exchange student in my high school noted, it was mostly weird because the entire school used the Bavarian accent, which to English speakers, is like going to a foreign country's English language classes and have the entire class talk in the American Southern accent. The exchange student was from Berlin).

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