Sprachgefühl

Sprachgefühl

ˈSHpräkɡəˌf(y)o͞ol

Noun

  • Intuitive feeling for the natural idiom of a language.
  • The essential character of a language.

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Example Sentences

“My flashcards couldn’t teach me the Sprachgefühl of the language, so I joined a conversation group.” 

“He had to study French for 10 years to begin to grasp its Sprachgefühl.”

“I gained a better sense of the Sprachgefühl of the language after I lived in the country for a year.”

Word Origin

German, early 20th century

Why this word?

This word originated in German from a combination of the words “Sprache” (“speech, a language”) and “Gefühl” (“feeling”). Sprachgefühl is one way experienced wordsmiths instinctively know that something sounds off. Practice working with words, as well as familiarity with the language as a whole, allows a writer to intuit that a certain pause might require a comma, or that the order in a list might need to be rearranged.

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