German

The History and Usage of The German Language in The World

The German language or Deutsch is the official language of Germany, Austria, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and one of the three official languages of Switzerland. It belongs to the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language and is native to more than 90 million people in the world. According to statistics. In the United States, there are 1.06 million people who speak the German language, and over 50 million Americans claim German ancestry forming the largest ethnic group in the US. Overall, German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

History and Origins of The German Language

The first recorded use of the Germanic languages dates back to the 1st century BC when the speakers of these languages came in contact with the Romans. Over time, as with all languages, the Germanic became one single language with some minor differences as dialects. In the 6th century AD, a single German language is being mentioned, the High German.

The German Language in The World

The German Language is now one of the major languages of the world, spoken by more than 90 million people worldwide. When it comes to the European continent, it is the second most widely spoken native language, together with French.

The most similar languages to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish.

Many dialects exist in the spoken German which are divided in the High German or Low German dialectal groups. The difference between the two groups is in the sound system, especially in the consonants. Other than that, written German can be understood by speakers of the both.

Facts To Know

  • German is famous for its extensive use of long words. The longest word, now obsolete, is Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, which means “the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef”
  • The language has its own unique words that cannot be translated into other languages except for the literal translation, and are good to know by people learning the language: Luftschloss: this word literally means “castle in the sky” and is used to describe someone’s unrealistic dream. Blaumachen: similar to the expression “Blue Monday”, this words means ditching school or work. Heimat: both a positive word and a very German concept, it describes the relationship between a person and his/her homeland.
  • German words have three genders. Germans use the neuter gender for words that they find as neither masculine nor feminine.
  • All nouns in German are written with capital letters, throughout an entire text.

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