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German: A language with a special letter

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10 facts about the German language

01

The German language is the most spoken native language among the countries in the European Union.

02

The German language is the official language of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg and Switzerland.

03

German is the 11th most spoken language in the world with over 130 million speakers.

04

The Bavarian German dialect is considered the most difficult German dialect to learn and understand.

05

In the German language, all nouns are capitalized unlike English, which only capitalizes proper nouns.

06

German has a special letter “ß’” known as "Eszett;" it acts as a double-s in words.

07

The German language underwent major changes twice- in 1998 and in 2006.

08

German has three genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter for words without a gender.

09

The German language shares 60% of its vocabulary with the English language and is very closely related to it.

10

There are many unique words in German that do not have adequate translations in any other language.

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Origin of the language

German emerged in Northern Germany.

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History of the language

German can trace its origins to the Nordic Bronze Age (1700 BC).

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Learning the language

It takes English speakers about 750 hours to learn German.

German language diversity

German is the official language or co-official language of 7 countries: Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium and Namibia. German is also spoken in South Tyrol, Italy.

Other European countries also have some regions where German is spoken, such as Poland, Hungary and Romania. German dialects can vary greatly from one another; often, regional dialects are difficult to understand for speakers from different regions or countries where they also have a unique dialect.

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Did you know?

The group of countries and regions where German is an official or co-official language and the first language of the majority of the speakers is called the German Sprachraum.

The most commonly used letter across all German dialects is “e” while “q” is the least commonly used.

Gemütlichkeit (coziness) was voted the most beautiful word in German, followed closely by lieben which means “to love.”

According to a vote among children, libelle, which means “dragonfly,” is the most beautiful German word.

German dialects are divided into Hochdeutsch (high German) and Niederdeutsch (low German).

Language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in German:

Hello: Hallo
Laugh: Lachen
Yes: ja
No: nein
Thank you: Danke
Good: gut
Beautiful: schön
Happy: glücklich
Family: Familie
Germany: Deutschland

Quotes

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Playwright, novelist, poet, scientist, statesman and critic

Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.

Thomas Mann

Playwright, writer and novelist

Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.

Immanuel Kant

Philosopher, social critic and writer

Fun facts about the German language

The longest German word

The longest German word is Donaudampfschifff- ahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunter- beamtengesellschaft, which is the title for the Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services.

The Language of great thinkers

Numerous well-known philosophers and writers wrote in German; Immanuel Kant, Freidrich Nietzsche and Goethe are just a few.

First printed book

The first printed book in the world, the Gutenberg Bible, was written in German, dating back to 1454.

Gendered nouns

In German, each noun has a gender which also changes some in form depending on the grammar of a phrase.

Multiple words for “why”

In German, there are up to six ways you can say the word “why”, depending on context and connotation.

Long compound words

The German language is well-known for having long compound words that are actually very specific phrases.

Letters Sound Different?

The German alphabet uses Latin letters and is similar to the English alphabet; however, some letters are pronounced differently. For example, “v” sounds much more like “f.”

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