12 Amazing Facts About the German Language
It’s not easy to learn German because every noun has a gender, and just when you think you’re getting the hang of it, a new rule breaks your language bubble. It might be hard to get around, but the language is full of strange words and poetic descriptions that make it interesting for language lovers to learn. Here are some interesting facts about one of the most hard to understand languages in the world.
German is spoken in many places
Wikipedia says that about 1.4% of the world’s population speaks German, making it the 11th most spoken language in the world. Mandarin is number one, and English is number three.
Both English and German are related to each other
German is a West Germanic language, just like English and Dutch. When people who speak English learn German, they will find that a lot of words in both languages are the same. Be careful though, because some words look and sound the same but mean something completely different. In German, the word “gift” means poison, which has nothing to do with what it means in English, which is a present or a blessing.
Some German proverbs are strange and funny
Some of our favorite German sayings are: “Everything has an end, but sausage has two,” “Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof,” which means “I only understand train station,” and “Das ist nicht dein Bier!” which means “none of your business!”
All nouns are capitalised
If you ever read a German newspaper, you might be confused by all the long words written in capital letters throughout the text. That’s because in German, all nouns start with a capital letter, and it’s not an option.
German is often called the “language of writers and thinkers.”
German has been called the language of the Dichter und Denker (writers and thinkers) many times. For example, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote the epic Faust, is seen as one of Germany’s greatest national treasures. Kant, Marx, Humboldt, and Nietzsche are also known as important German thinkers.
There are words in German that don’t exist in English
One of the best things about the German language is that it is very good at making up new, very specific words that describe life better than any English word could. For example, Schadenfreude is the feeling of happiness that comes from someone else’s bad luck, pain, or injury. Torschlusspanik is the perfect word to describe the fear that comes with getting older and realizing that time is passing, making you feel like you need to do or get something before it’s too late. Click here to learn more about these amazing German words.
Compound nouns are common in German
If you see a long, scary German word, don’t worry. It’s likely made up of smaller, more common nouns that you already know. German often makes new words out of old ones. For example, the English word hand is joined with the German word for shoes, Schuhe, to make the noun Handschuhe, which means “hand shoes” or “gloves” in English.
Not just in Germany, it’s official
German is the official language of Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, as well as one of the official languages of Luxembourg. This makes it the most widely spoken native language in the European Union.
Where you are makes a big difference in how you speak
Wherever you go in Germany, you’ll hear a different dialect that your high school German class probably didn’t prepare you for. People have even made jokes about the Bavarian accent and dialect, calling it the “German that even Germany doesn’t understand.”
Each noun has its own gender
German nouns can be either masculine or feminine, or they can be neutral. At first glance, German gender doesn’t seem to make much sense because it doesn’t always match the gender of the thing it names; it’s just a matter of grammar. Mark Twain once said, “In German, a young lady doesn’t have sex, but a turnip does.”
The world’s longest word
To add to the last point, the 63-letter word Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz was once part of the German language. But this word, which means “the law about the delegation of duties for supervising the marking of cattle and the labeling of beef,” was too hard to say, even for German bureaucrats, so it is no longer used.
Is that in German?
Up until the middle of the 20th century, German was written with the Latin alphabet’s Fraktur script. From the 1600s until the end of the Second World War, this gothic calligraphy was used.
Topic: 12 Amazing Facts About the German Language
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By: Travel Pixy