On EL&U community, no beginner question is welcome and such questions are usually humiliated, not tolerated, and closed immediately. That's why ELL was proposed. So my question is if the same behavior exists on GL&U. Is it possible to ask novice questions here without being treated the same way?

3 Answers 3


While I personally think it's wrong to ridicule users for not understanding the language, I also think it's wrong to ask questions that can be answered by a minute of googling. Especially word meaning, synonym and translation questions can often be answered by consulting the Duden or Leo or dict.cc or OpenThesaurus and the like.

So yeah, I'm all for not tolerating the most basic questions but this does not equal humiliation.

However if a question requires experience of a native speaker, even basic questions are very welcome. Spoken language differs from formal definitions after all. Sometimes a lookup in a dictionary just doesn't cut it.

  • 2
    That's right, but if the person tried to find an answer in a dictionary etc., he should document his effort and tell us, why the dictionary didn't help. Feb 1, 2013 at 16:20
  • I think here on the german stackexchange site, it's very fair and from beginner to expert questions are tolerated. But when go and have a look at stackoverflow...well you better think twice there, before you answer a "beginner" question. Anyway I think these Q&A pages should be open for any skill level in every topic. But still...google first, ask second...
    – WayneEra
    Jul 17, 2015 at 13:38

From our FAQ we do not exclude beginner questions. In fact we do have many questions from or for beginners.

Look around to get an idea on the scope of questions we may ask and may get answered. A starting point for this may be searching the tags or .

We do expect however some research effort before asking. Questions that can easily be looked up in a dictionary as well as questions that have been asked here before are likely to be closed very soon. The same holds true for questions that obviously ask for a homework to be done.

In case you just want a quick confirmation whether your research was right, or if you need to know if a question you have would be on topic don't hesitate and visit our chat room. There you can find people who will be happy to help you.

The easiest to find out however is just ask. The worst that can happen is the one or other downvote or that your question will be closed.


I am an American "learner," and I haven't felt unwelcome on the site. But there are ways to ask. In one of my other meta posts, I spelled out some requirements:

All other things being equal:

1) Shorter passages are preferred over longer ones.

2) English to German is preferred over German to English (except for fine language nuances in German).

3) "Is my (self-worked) translation correct/appropriate?" is preferred to "Please translate this for me" (without any effort on my part).

Basically, you should demonstrate SOME knowledge of German, even at a basic level, and give evidence that you have worked the exercise in German yourself, or consulted a dictionary/Google translate. Then it is appropriate to ask if your work is correct, and if not, what is a better way.

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