The Info List - German Language

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No official regulation ( German orthography
German orthography
regulated by the Council for German Orthography[4]).


ISO 639-1 de

ISO 639-2 ger (B) deu (T)

ISO 639-3 Variously: deu – German gmh – Middle High German goh – Old High German gct – Colonia Tovar German bar – Bavarian cim – Cimbrian geh – Hutterite German ksh – Kölsch nds – Low German[a] sli – Lower Silesian ltz – Luxembourgish[b] vmf – Mainfränkisch mhn – Mócheno pfl – Palatinate German pdc –  Pennsylvania
German pdt – Plautdietsch[c] swg – Swabian German gsw – Swiss German uln – Unserdeutsch sxu – Upper Saxon wae – Walser German wep – Westphalian hrx – Riograndenser Hunsrückisch yec – Yenish

Glottolog high1287  High Franconian[6] uppe1397  Upper German[7]


further information 52-AC (Continental West Germanic) > 52-ACB (Deutsch & Dutch) > 52-ACB-d ( Central German
Central German
incl. 52-ACB–dl & -dm Standard/Generalised High German) + 52-ACB-e & -f ( Upper German
Upper German
& Swiss German) + 52-ACB-h (émigré German varieties incl. 52-ACB-hc Hutterite German & 52-ACB-he Pennsylvania
German etc.) + 52-ACB-i (Yenish); Totalling 285 varieties: 52-ACB-daa to 52-ACB-i

  (Co-)Official and majority language   Co-official, but not majority language   Statutory minority/cultural language   Non-statutory minority language

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode
characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

German (Deutsch [dɔʏtʃ] ( listen)) is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and (co-) official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol
South Tyrol
(Italy), the German-speaking Community
German-speaking Community
of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg. The languages which are most similar 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. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English. One of the major languages of the world, German is the first language of almost 100 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union.[2][8] Together with French, German is the second most commonly spoken foreign language in the EU after English, making it the second biggest language in the EU in terms of overall speakers.[9] German is also the second most widely taught foreign language in the EU after English at primary school level (but third after English and French at lower secondary level),[10] the fourth most widely taught non- English language
English language
in the US[11] (after Spanish, French and American Sign Language), and the second most commonly used scientific language[12] as well as the third most widely used language on websites (after English and Russian).[13] The German-speaking countries are ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books, with one tenth of all books (including e-books) in the world being published in the German language.[14] In the United Kingdom, German and French are the most-sought after foreign languages for businesses (with 49% and 50% of businesses identifying these two languages as the most useful, respectively).[15] German is an inflected language with four cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), and strong and weak verbs. German derives the majority of its vocabulary from the ancient Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A portion of German words are derived from Latin
and Greek, and fewer are borrowed from French and English. With slightly different standardized variants (German, Austrian, and Swiss Standard German), German is a pluricentric language. Like English, German is also notable for its broad spectrum of dialects, with many unique varieties existing in Europe
and also other parts of the world.[2][16] Due to the limited intelligibility between certain varieties and Standard German, as well as the lack of an undisputed, scientific difference between a "dialect" and a "language",[2] some German varieties or dialect groups (e.g. Low German
Low German
or Plautdietsch[5]) are alternatively referred to as "languages" and "dialects".[17]


1 Classification 2 History

2.1 Old High German 2.2 Middle High German 2.3 Early New High German 2.4 Austrian Empire 2.5 Standardization

3 Geographic distribution

3.1 Europe
and Asia

3.1.1 German Sprachraum 3.1.2 Outside the Sprachraum

3.2 Africa

3.2.1 Namibia 3.2.2 South Africa

3.3 North America 3.4 South America

3.4.1 Co-official statuses of German or German varieties in Brazil

3.5 Oceania 3.6 German as a foreign language

4 Standard German

4.1 Varieties of Standard German

5 Dialects

5.1 Low German 5.2 Low Franconian 5.3 High German

5.3.1 Central German 5.3.2 High Franconian 5.3.3 Upper German Alemannic Bavarian

6 Grammar

6.1 Noun inflection 6.2 Verb inflection

6.2.1 Verb prefixes

6.3 Word order

6.3.1 Auxiliary verbs 6.3.2 Modal verbs 6.3.3 Multiple infinitives

7 Vocabulary

7.1 English–German cognates

8 Orthography

8.1 Present 8.2 Past 8.3 Reform of 1996

9 Phonology

9.1 Vowels 9.2 Consonants

9.2.1 Consonant spellings 9.2.2 Consonant shifts

10 Literature 11 German loanwords in the English language 12 Organisations

12.1 Goethe-Institut 12.2 Verein Deutsche Sprache 12.3 Deutsche Welle

13 See also 14 References 15 Notes 16 Bibliography 17 External links

Classification[edit] Modern Standard German
Standard German
is a West Germanic language descended from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Germanic languages are traditionally subdivided into three branches: North Germanic, East Germanic, and West Germanic. The first of these branches survives in modern Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese, and Icelandic, all of which are descended from Old Norse. The East Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are now extinct, and the only historical member of this branch from which written texts survive is Gothic. The West Germanic languages, however, have undergone extensive dialectal subdivision and are now represented in modern languages such as English, German, Dutch, Yiddish, Afrikaans, and others.[18]

The Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in Europe

Within the West Germanic language dialect continuum, the Benrath and Uerdingen
lines (running through Düsseldorf-Benrath
and Krefeld-Uerdingen, respectively) serve to distinguish the Germanic dialects that were affected by the High German
High German
consonant shift (south of Benrath) from those that were not (north of Uerdingen). The various regional dialects spoken south of these lines are grouped as High German dialects
German dialects
(nos. 29–34 on the map), while those spoken to the north comprise the Low German/Low Saxon (nos. 19–24) and Low Franconian (no. 25) dialects. As members of the West Germanic language family, High German, Low German, and Low Franconian
Low Franconian
can be further distinguished historically as Irminonic, Ingvaeonic, and Istvaeonic, respectively. This classification indicates their historical descent from dialects spoken by the Irminones
(also known as the Elbe
group), Ingvaeones (or North Sea Germanic group), and Istvaeones (or Weser- Rhine
group).[18] Standard German
Standard German
is based on Thuringian-Upper Saxon dialects (no. 30 on the map), which are Central German
Central German
dialects (nos. 29–31), belonging to the Irminonic High German
High German
dialect group. German is therefore most closely related to the other languages based on High German
High German
dialects, such as Luxembourgish
(based on Central Franconian dialects
Central Franconian dialects
– no. 29), and Yiddish. Also closely related to Standard German
Standard German
are the Upper German
Upper German
dialects spoken in the southern German-speaking countries, such as Swiss German
Swiss German
(Alemannic dialects – no. 34), and the various dialects spoken in the French region of Grand Est, such as Alsatian (mainly Alemannic, but also Central- and Upper Franconian (no. 32) dialects) and Lorraine Franconian ( Central Franconian
Central Franconian
– no. 29). After these High German
High German
dialects, standard German is (somewhat less closely) related to languages based on Low Franconian
Low Franconian
dialects (e.g. Dutch and Afrikaans) or Low German/Low Saxon dialects (spoken in northern Germany
and southern Denmark), neither of which underwent the High German
High German
consonant shift. As has been noted, the former of these dialect types is Istvaeonic and the latter Ingvaeonic, whereas the High German
High German
dialects are all Irminonic; the differences between these languages and standard German are therefore considerable. Also related to German are the Frisian languages—North Frisian (spoken in Schleswig-Holstein
no. 28), Saterland Frisian (spoken in Lower Saxony – no. 27), and West Frisian (spoken in the Netherlands
– no. 26)—as well as the Anglic languages of English and Scots. These Anglo-Frisian dialects are all members of the Ingvaeonic family of West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
which did not take part in the High German consonant shift. History[edit] Main article: History of German Old High German[edit] Main article: Old High German The history of the German language
German language
begins with the High German consonant shift during the migration period, which separated Old High German (OHG) dialects from Old Saxon. This sound shift involved a drastic change in the pronunciation of both voiced and voiceless stop consonants (b, d, g, and p, t, k, respectively). The primary effects of the shift were the following:

Voiceless stops became long (geminated) voiceless fricatives following a vowel Voiceless stops became affricates in word-initial position, or following certain consonants Voiced stops became voiceless in certain phonetic settings.[19]

Voiceless stop following a vowel Word-initial voiceless stop Voiced stop

/p/→/ff/ /p/→/pf/ /b/→/p/

/t/→/ss/ /t/→/ts/ /d/→/t/

/k/→/xx/ /k/→/kx/ /g/→/k/

While there is written evidence of the Old High German
High German
language in several Elder Futhark
Elder Futhark
inscriptions from as early as the 6th century AD (such as the Pforzen buckle), the Old High German
High German
period is generally seen as beginning with the Abrogans
(written c.765–775), a Latin-German glossary supplying over 3,000 OHG words with their Latin equivalents. Following the Abrogans
the first coherent works written in OHG appear in the 9th century, chief among them being the Muspilli, the Merseberg Incantations, and the Hildebrandslied, as well as a number of other religious texts (the Georgslied, the Ludwigslied, the Evangelienbuch, and translated hymns and prayers).[19][20] The Muspilli
is a Christian poem written in a Bavarian dialect offering an account of the soul after the Last Judgment, and the Merseberg Incantations are transcriptions of spells and charms from the pagan Germanic tradition. Of particular interest to scholars, however, has been the Hildebrandslied, a secular epic poem telling the tale of an estranged father and son unknowingly meeting each other in battle. Linguistically this text is highly interesting due to the mixed use of Old Saxon
Old Saxon
and Old High German
High German
dialects in its composition. The written works of this period stem mainly from the Alamanni, Bavarian, and Thuringian groups, all belonging to the Elbe
Germanic group (Irminones), which had settled in what is now southern-central Germany and Austria
between the 2nd and 6th centuries during the great migration.[19] In general, the surviving texts of OHG show a wide range of dialectal diversity with very little written uniformity. The early written tradition of OHG survived mostly through monasteries and scriptoria as local translations of Latin
originals; as a result, the surviving texts are written in highly disparate regional dialects and exhibit significant Latin
influence, particularly in vocabulary.[19] At this point monasteries, where most written works were produced, were dominated by Latin, and German saw only occasional use in official and ecclesiastical writing. The German language
German language
through the OHG period was still predominantly a spoken language, with a wide range of dialects and a much more extensive oral tradition than a written one. Having just emerged from the High German
High German
consonant shift, OHG was also a relatively new and volatile language still undergoing a number of phonetic, phonological, morphological, and syntactic changes. The scarcity of written work, instability of the language, and widespread illiteracy of the time thus account for the lack of standardization up to the end of the OHG period in 1050. Middle High German[edit]

The Germanic-speaking area of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
around AD 962.

  Old Frisian (Alt-Friesisch)    Old Saxon
Old Saxon
(Alt-Sächsisch)   Old Franconian (Alt-Fränkisch)   Old Alemannic (Alt-Alemannisch)   Old Bavarian (Alt-Bairisch)

Main article: Middle High German While there is no complete agreement over the dates of the Middle High German (MHG) period, it is generally seen as lasting from 1050 to 1350.[21][22] This was a period of significant expansion of the geographical territory occupied by Germanic tribes, and consequently of the number of German speakers. Whereas during the Old High German period the Germanic tribes extended only as far east as the Elbe
and Saale
rivers, the MHG period saw a number of these tribes expanding beyond this eastern boundary into Slavic territory (this is known as the Ostsiedlung). Along with the increasing wealth and geographic extent of the Germanic groups came greater use of German in the courts of nobles as the standard language of official proceedings and literature.[22][23] A clear example of this is the mittelhochdeutsche Dichtersprache employed in the Hohenstaufen
court in Swabia
as a standardized supra-dialectal written language. While these efforts were still regionally bound, German began to be used in place of Latin for certain official purposes, leading to a greater need for regularity in written conventions. While the major changes of the MHG period were socio-cultural, German was still undergoing significant linguistic changes in syntax, phonetics, and morphology as well (e.g. diphthongization of certain vowel sounds: hus (OHG "house")→haus (MHG), and weakening of unstressed short vowels to schwa [ə]: taga (OHG "days")→tage (MHG)).[24] A great wealth of texts survives from the MHG period. Significantly, among this repertoire are a number of impressive secular works, such as the Nibelungenlied, an epic poem telling the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried (c. 13th century), and the Iwein, an Arthurian verse poem by Hartmann von Aue
Hartmann von Aue
(c. 1203), as well as several lyric poems and courtly romances such as Parzival
and Tristan. (Also noteworthy is the Sachsenspiegel, the first book of laws written in Middle Low German
Low German
(c. 1220)). The abundance and (secular) character of the literature of the MHG period demonstrate the beginnings of a standardized written form of German, as well as the desire of poets and authors to be understood by individuals on supra-dialectal terms. The Middle High German
High German
period is generally seen as ending with the decimation of the population of Europe
in the Black Death
Black Death
of 1346–1353.[21] Early New High German[edit] Main article: Early New High German

German- Dutch language
Dutch language
area before and after the flight and expulsion of Germans
(1944-1950) from much of eastern and central Europe. Areas in the east where German is no longer spoken are marked by lighter shades.

Modern German begins with the Early New High German
High German
(ENHG) period, which the influential German philologist Wilhelm Scherer
Wilhelm Scherer
dates 1350–1650, terminating with the end of the Thirty Years' War.[21] This period saw the further displacement of Latin
by German as the primary language of courtly proceedings and, increasingly, of literature in the German states. While these states were still under the control of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
and far from any form of unification, the desire for a cohesive written language that would be understandable across the many German-speaking principalities and kingdoms was stronger than ever. As a spoken language German remained highly fractured through this period with a vast number of often mutually-incomprehensible regional dialects being spoken throughout the German states; the invention of the printing press c.1440 and the publication of Luther's vernacular translation of the Bible in 1534, however, had an immense effect on standardizing German as a supra-dialectal written language. The ENHG period saw the rise of several important cross-regional forms of chancery German, one being gemeine tiutsch, used in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, and the other being Meißner Deutsch, used in the Electorate of Saxony
Electorate of Saxony
in the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg.[25] Alongside these courtly written standards, the invention of the printing press led to the development of a number of printers' languages (Druckersprachen) aimed at making printed material readable and understandable across as many diverse dialects of German as possible.[26] The greater ease of production and increased availability of written texts brought about increased standardization in the written form of the German language.

The widespread popularity of the Bible translated into German by Martin Luther
Martin Luther
helped establish modern German

One of the central events in the development of ENHG was the publication of Luther's translation of the Bible into German (the New Testament in 1522 and the Old Testament, published in parts and completed in 1534). Luther based his translation primarily on the Meißner Deutsch of Saxony,[27] spending much time among the population of Saxony
researching the dialect so as to make the work as natural and accessible to German speakers as possible. Copies of Luther's Bible featured a long list of glosses for each region that translated words which were unknown in the region into the regional dialect. Concerning his translation method Luther says the following:

One who would talk German does not ask the Latin
how he shall do it; he must ask the mother in the home, the children on the streets, the common man in the market-place and note carefully how they talk, then translate accordingly. They will then understand what is said to them because it is German. When Christ says 'ex abundantia cordis os loquitur,' I would translate, if I followed the papists, aus dem Überflusz des Herzens redet der Mund. But tell me is this talking German? What German understands such stuff? No, the mother in the home and the plain man would say, Wesz das Herz voll ist, des gehet der Mund über.[28]

With Luther's rendering of the Bible in the vernacular German asserted itself against the dominance of Latin
as a legitimate language for courtly, literary, and now ecclesiastical subject-matter. Further, his Bible was ubiquitous in the German states with nearly every household possessing a copy.[29] Nevertheless, even with the influence of Luther's Bible as an unofficial written standard, it was not until the middle of the 18th century after the ENHG period that a widely accepted standard for written German appeared.[30] Austrian Empire[edit]

Ethnolinguistic map of Austria-Hungary, 1910, with German-speaking areas shown in red

German was the language of commerce and government in the Habsburg Empire, which encompassed a large area of Central and Eastern Europe. Until the mid-19th century, it was essentially the language of townspeople throughout most of the Empire. Its use indicated that the speaker was a merchant or someone from an urban area, regardless of nationality. Some cities, such as Prague
(German: Prag) and Budapest
(Buda, German: Ofen), were gradually Germanized in the years after their incorporation into the Habsburg domain. Others, such as Pozsony (German: Pressburg, now Bratislava), were originally settled during the Habsburg period, and were primarily German at that time. Prague, Budapest
and Bratislava
as well as cities like Zagreb
(German: Agram), and Ljubljana
(German: Laibach), contained significant German minorities. In the eastern provinces of Banat
and Transylvania
(German: Siebenbürgen), German was the predominant language not only in the larger towns – such as Temeswar (Timișoara), Hermannstadt (Sibiu) and Kronstadt (Brașov) – but also in many smaller localities in the surrounding areas.[31][32] Standardization[edit]

The Deutsches Wörterbuch
Deutsches Wörterbuch
(1854) by the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
helped to standardize German orthography.

The most comprehensive guide to the vocabulary of the German language is found within the Deutsches Wörterbuch. This dictionary was created by the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
and is composed of 16 parts which were issued between 1852 and 1860.[33] In 1872, grammatical and orthographic rules first appeared in the Duden
Handbook.[34] In 1901, the 2nd Orthographical Conference ended with a complete standardization of the German language
German language
in its written form and the Duden Handbook
Duden Handbook
was declared its standard definition.[35] The Deutsche Bühnensprache (literally, German stage language) had established conventions for German pronunciation in theatre (Bühnendeutsch[36]) three years earlier; however, this was an artificial standard that did not correspond to any traditional spoken dialect. Rather, it was based on the pronunciation of Standard German
Standard German
in Northern Germany, although it was subsequently regarded often as a general prescriptive norm, despite differing pronunciation traditions especially in the Upper-German-speaking regions that still characterize the dialect of the area today – especially the pronunciation of the ending -ig as [ɪk] instead of [ɪç]. In Northern Germany, Standard German
Standard German
was a foreign language to most inhabitants, whose native dialects were subsets of Low German. It was usually encountered only in writing or formal speech; in fact, most of Standard German
Standard German
was a written language, not identical to any spoken dialect, throughout the German-speaking area until well into the 19th century. Official revisions of some of the rules from 1901 were not issued until the controversial German orthography reform of 1996
German orthography reform of 1996
was made the official standard by governments of all German-speaking countries.[37] Media and written works are now almost all produced in Standard German (often called Hochdeutsch, "High German") which is understood in all areas where German is spoken. Geographic distribution[edit] Main article: Geographical distribution of German speakers

Approximate distribution of native German speakers (assuming a rounded total of 95 million) worldwide.    Germany
(78.3%)    Austria
(8.4%)    Switzerland
(5.6%)    Italy
(South Tyrol) (0.4%)   Other (7.3%)

Due to the German diaspora
German diaspora
as well as German being the second most widely spoken language in Europe
and the third most widely taught foreign language in the US[11] and the EU (in upper secondary education)[38] amongst others, the geographical distribution of German speakers (or "Germanophones") spans all inhabited continents. As for the number of speakers of any language worldwide, an assessment is always compromised by the lack of sufficient, reliable data. For an exact, global number of native German speakers, this is further complicated by the existence of several varieties whose status as separate "languages" or "dialects" is disputed for political and/or linguistic reasons, including quantitatively strong varieties like certain forms of Alemannic (e.g., Alsatian)[2] and Low German/Plautdietsch.[5] Mostly depending on the inclusion or exclusion of certain varieties, it is estimated that approximately 90–95 million people speak German as a first language,[2][17][39] 10-25 million as a second language,[2][17] and 75–100 million as a foreign language.[2][3] This would imply approximately 175–220 million German speakers worldwide.[40] It is estimated that also including all persons who are or were taking German classes, i.e., regardless of their actual proficiency, would amount to about 280 million people worldwide with at least some knowledge of German.[2]

Approximate distribution of native speakers of German or a German variety outside Europe (according to Ethnologue
2016[41] unless referenced otherwise) Numbers of speakers should not be summed up per country, as they most likely overlap considerably. Table includes varieties with disputed statuses as separate language.

Standard German Hunsrik/Hunsrückisch Low German & Plautdietsch Pennsylvania
Dutch Hutterite

Argentina 400,000 N/A 4,000 N/A N/A

Australia 79,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Belize N/A N/A 9,360 N/A N/A

Bolivia 160,000 N/A 60,000 N/A N/A

Brazil 1,500,000 3,000,000 8,000 N/A N/A

Canada 430,000 N/A 80,000 15,000 23,200

Chile 35,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Costa Rica N/A N/A 2,000 N/A N/A

Israel 200,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Kazakhstan 30,400 N/A 100,000 N/A N/A

Mexico N/A N/A 40,000 N/A N/A

Namibia 22,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A

New Zealand 36,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Paraguay 166,000 N/A 40,000 N/A N/A

Russia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

South Africa 12,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Uruguay 28,000 N/A 2,000 N/A N/A

United States 1,104,354[42] N/A 12,000 118,000 10,800

Sum 4,597,392 3,000,000 357,360 133,000 34,000

and Asia[edit]

The German language
German language
in Europe:   "German Sprachraum": German is official language (de jure or de facto) and first language of the majority of the population   German is a co-official language, but not the first language of the majority of the population   German (or a German dialect) is a legally recognized minority language (Squares: Geographic distribution too dispersed/small for map scale)   German (or a variety of German) is spoken by a sizeable minority, but has no legal recognition

German Sprachraum[edit] Main article: List of territorial entities where German is an official language In Europe, German is the second most widely spoken mother tongue (after Russian) and the second biggest language in terms of overall speakers (after English). The area in central Europe
where the majority of the population speaks German as a first language and has German as a (co-)official language is called the "German Sprachraum". It comprises an estimated 88 million native speakers and 10 million who speak German as a second language (e.g. immigrants).[2][17] Excluding regional minority languages, German is the only official language of

(de facto, not specified in the constitution), Austria
(de jure), 17 cantons of Switzerland
(de jure), and Liechtenstein
(de jure).

It is a co-official language of the

Italian Autonomous Province of South Tyrol
South Tyrol
(also majority language), Belgium
(as majority language only in the German-speaking Community), four cantons of Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

Outside the Sprachraum[edit] Although expulsions and (forced) assimilation after the two World Wars greatly diminished them, minority communities of mostly bilingual German native speakers exist in areas both adjacent to and detached from the Sprachraum.[2] Within Europe
and Asia, German is a recognized minority language in the following countries:

Bosnia and Herzegovina[43] (see also: Donauschwaben) Czech Republic[43] (see also: Germans
in the Czech Republic) Denmark[43] (see also: North Schleswig Germans) Hungary[43] (see also: Germans
of Hungary) Italy[44] (outside of South Tyrol; see also: Cimbrian, Mòcheno/Fersentalerisch, Walser German) Kazakhstan[45][46] (see also: Germans
of Kazakhstan) Poland[43] (see also German minority in Poland; German is auxiliary language in 31 communes;[47]) Romania[43] (see also: Germans
of Romania) Russia[48] (see also: Germans
in Russia) Slovakia[43] (see also: Carpathian Germans) Ukraine[43] (see also: Germans
in Ukraine)

In France, the High German
High German
varieties of Alsatian and Moselle Franconian are identified as "regional languages", but the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages of 1998 has not yet been ratified by the government.[49] In the Netherlands, the Limburgish, Frisian, and Low German
Low German
languages are protected regional languages according to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages;[43] however, they are widely considered separate languages and neither German nor Dutch dialects. Africa[edit] Namibia[edit]

Examples of German language
German language
in Namibian everyday life

Main article: German language
German language
in Namibia Namibia
was a colony of the German Empire
German Empire
from 1884 to 1919. Mostly descending from German settlers who immigrated during this time, 25–30,000 people still speak German as a native tongue today.[50] The period of German colonialism in Namibia
also led to the evolution of a Standard German-based pidgin language called "Namibian Black German", which became a second language for parts of the indigenous population. Although it is nearly extinct today, some older Namibians still have some knowledge of it.[51] German, along with English and Afrikaans
was a co-official language of Namibia
from 1984 until its independence from South Africa
South Africa
in 1990. At this point, the Namibian government perceived Afrikaans
and German as symbols of apartheid and colonialism, and decided English would be the sole official language, claiming that it was a "neutral" language as there were virtually no English native speakers in Namibia
at that time.[50] German, Afrikaans
and several indigenous languages became "national languages" by law, identifying them as elements of the cultural heritage of the nation and ensuring that the state acknowledged and supported their presence in the country.[2] Today, German is used in a wide variety of spheres, especially business and tourism, as well as the churches (most notably the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia
(GELK)), schools (e.g. the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek), literature (German-Namibian authors include Giselher W. Hoffmann), radio (the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation produces radio programs in German), and music (e.g. artist EES). The Allgemeine Zeitung is one of the three biggest newspapers in Namibia
and the only German-language daily in Africa.[50] South Africa[edit] Mostly originating from different waves of immigration during the 19th and 20th centuries, an estimated 12,000 people speak German or a German variety as a first language in South Africa.[52] One of the largest communities consists of the speakers of "Nataler Deutsch",[53] a variety of Low German, concentrated in and around Wartburg. The small town of Kroondal
in the North-West Province also has a mostly German-speaking population. The South African constitution identifies German as a "commonly used" language and the Pan South African Language
Board is obligated to promote and ensure respect for it.[54] The community is strong enough that several German International schools are supported such as the Deutsche Schule Pretoria. North America[edit] Main articles: German language
German language
in the United States, Pennsylvania German language, Plautdietsch, and Hutterite German In the United States, the states of North Dakota
North Dakota
and South Dakota
South Dakota
are the only states where German is the most common language spoken at home after English.[55] German geographical names can be found throughout the Midwest region of the country, such as New Ulm and many other towns in Minnesota; Bismarck (North Dakota's state capital), Munich, Karlsruhe, and Strasburg (named after a town near Odessa in Ukraine)[56] in North Dakota; New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Weimar, and Muenster in Texas; Corn (formerly Korn), Kiefer and Berlin
in Oklahoma; and Kiel, Berlin, and Germantown in Wisconsin. Between 1843 and 1910, more than 5 million Germans
emigrated overseas,[57] mostly to the United States.[58] German remained an important language in churches, schools, newspapers, and even the administration of the United States
United States
Brewers' Association[59] through the early 20th century, but was severely repressed during World War
World War
I. Over the course of the 20th century, many of the descendants of 18th century and 19th century immigrants ceased speaking German at home, but small populations of speakers are still found in Pennsylvania (Amish, Hutterites, Dunkards and some Mennonites
historically spoke Hutterite German and a West Central German
Central German
variety of German known as Pennsylvania
German or Pennsylvania
Dutch), Kansas
( Mennonites
and Volga Germans), North Dakota
North Dakota
(Hutterite Germans, Mennonites, Russian Germans, Volga Germans, and Baltic Germans), South Dakota, Montana, Texas
( Texas
German), Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Ohio (72,570).[60][citation needed] A significant group of German Pietists in Iowa
formed the Amana Colonies
Amana Colonies
and continue to practice speaking their heritage language. Early twentieth century immigration was often to St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh
and Cincinnati.

German-language newspapers in the U.S. in 1922

The dialects of German which are or were primarily spoken in colonies or communities founded by German-speaking people resemble the dialects of the regions the founders came from. For example, Hutterite German resembles dialects of Carinthia. Texas
German is a dialect spoken in the areas of Texas
settled by the Adelsverein, such as New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. In the Amana Colonies
Amana Colonies
in the state of Iowa, Amana German is spoken. Plautdietsch
is a large minority language spoken in Northern Mexico
by the Mennonite
communities, and is spoken by more than 200,000 people in Mexico. Pennsylvania
German is a West Central German dialect spoken by most of the Amish
population of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana
and resembles Palatinate German dialects.[citation needed] Hutterite German is an Upper German
Upper German
dialect of the Austro-Bavarian variety of the German language, which is spoken by Hutterite communities in Canada
and the United States. Hutterite is spoken in the U.S. states of Washington, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota; and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Its speakers belong to some Schmiedleit, Lehrerleit, and Dariusleit Hutterite groups, but there are also speakers among the older generations of Prairieleit (the descendants of those Hutterites who chose not to settle in colonies). Hutterite children who grow up in the colonies learn to speak Hutterite German before learning English, the standard language of the surrounding areas, in school. Many of these children, though, continue with German Grammar
School, in addition to public school, throughout a student's elementary education.[citation needed] In Canada, there are 622,650 speakers of German according to the most recent census in 2006,[61] with people of German ancestry (German Canadians) found throughout the country. German-speaking communities are particularly found in British Columbia
British Columbia
(118,035) and Ontario (230,330).[61] There is a large and vibrant community in the city of Kitchener, Ontario, which was at one point named Berlin. German immigrants were instrumental in the country's three largest urban areas: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver; post-Second World War immigrants managed to preserve a fluency in the German language
German language
in their respective neighborhoods and sections. In the first half of the 20th century, over a million German-Canadians made the language Canada's third most spoken after French and English. In Mexico
there are also large populations of German ancestry, mainly in the cities of: Mexico
City,[62] Puebla, Mazatlán, Tapachula, Ecatepec de Morelos, and larger populations scattered in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Zacatecas.[63][64] South America[edit]

Municipalities where East Pomeranian
East Pomeranian
is co-official in Espírito Santo, Brazil.

Main articles: Brazilian German
Brazilian German
and Colonia Tovar dialect In Brazil, the largest concentrations of German speakers are in the states of Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
(where Riograndenser Hunsrückisch developed), Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo
São Paulo
and Espírito Santo.[65] There are also important concentrations of German-speaking descendants in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru
and Bolivia.[52] Co-official statuses of German or German varieties in Brazil[edit]

Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo
(statewide cultural language)[65][66][67][68]

Domingos Martins Laranja da Terra Pancas Santa Maria de Jetibá Vila Pavão

Rio Grande do Sul[65]

Santa Maria do Herval Canguçu

Santa Catarina[65]

Antônio Carlos Pomerode

Oceania[edit] In Australia, the state of South Australia
experienced a pronounced wave of immigration in the 1840s from Prussia (particularly the Silesia
region). With the prolonged isolation from other German speakers and contact with Australian English, a unique dialect known as Barossa German has developed and is spoken predominantly in the Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley
near Adelaide. Usage of German sharply declined with the advent of World War
World War
I, due to the prevailing anti-German sentiment in the population and related government action. It continued to be used as a first language into the twentieth century but now its use is limited to a few older speakers.[citation needed] German migration to New Zealand
New Zealand
in the 19th century was less pronounced than migration from Britain, Ireland, and perhaps even Scandinavia. Despite this there were significant pockets of German-speaking communities which lasted until the first decades of the 20th century. German-speakers settled principally in Puhoi, Nelson, and Gore. At the last census (2006), 37,500 people in New Zealand spoke German, making it the third most spoken European language after English and French and overall the ninth most spoken language.[citation needed] There is also an important German creole being studied and recovered, named Unserdeutsch, spoken in the former German colony of German New Guinea, across Micronesia
and in northern Australia
(i.e. coastal parts of Queensland
and Western Australia), by a few elderly people. The risk of its extinction is serious and efforts to revive interest in the language are being implemented by scholars.[69] German as a foreign language[edit]

Knowledge of German as a foreign language in the EU member states (+Turkey), in per cent of the adult population (+15), 2005.

Like French and Spanish, German has become a classic second foreign language in the western world, as English (Spanish in the US) is well established as the first foreign language.[3][70] German ranks second (after English) among the best known foreign languages in the EU (on a par with French)[3] as well as in Russia.[71] In terms of student numbers across all levels of education, German ranks third in the EU (after English and French)[38] as well as in the United States
United States
(after Spanish and French).[11][72] In 2015, approximately 15.4 million people were in the process of learning German across all levels of education worldwide.[70] As this number remained relatively stable since 2005 (± 1 million), roughly 75–100 million people able to communicate in German as foreign language can be inferred assuming an average course duration of three years and other estimated parameters.[2] According to a 2012 survey, 47 million people within the EU (i.e., up to two thirds of the 75–100 million worldwide) claimed to have sufficient German skills to have a conversation. Within the EU, not counting countries where it is an official language, German as a foreign language is most popular in Eastern and Northern Europe, namely the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden
and Poland.[3][38] German was once and, to some extent, is still, a lingua franca in those parts of Europe.[73] Standard German[edit] Main article: Standard German Standard German
Standard German
originated not as a traditional dialect of a specific region but as a written language. However, there are places where the traditional regional dialects have been replaced by new vernaculars based on standard German; that is the case in large stretches of Northern Germany
but also in major cities in other parts of the country. It is important to note, however, that the colloquial standard German differs greatly from the formal written language, especially in grammar and syntax, in which it has been influenced by dialectal speech. Standard German
Standard German
differs regionally between German-speaking countries in vocabulary and some instances of pronunciation and even grammar and orthography. This variation must not be confused with the variation of local dialects. Even though the regional varieties of standard German are only somewhat influenced by the local dialects, they are very distinct. German is thus considered a pluricentric language. In most regions, the speakers use a continuum from more dialectal varieties to more standard varieties according to circumstances. Varieties of Standard German[edit]

The national and regional standard varieties of German.[74]

In German linguistics, German dialects
German dialects
are distinguished from varieties of standard German. The varieties of standard German refer to the different local varieties of the pluricentric standard German. They differ only slightly in lexicon and phonology. In certain regions, they have replaced the traditional German dialects, especially in Northern Germany.

German Standard German Austrian Standard German Swiss Standard German

In the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, mixtures of dialect and standard are very seldom used, and the use of Standard German
Standard German
is largely restricted to the written language, though about 10% of the Swiss residents speak High German
High German
(aka Standard German) at home, but mainly due to German immigrants.[75] This situation has been called a medial diglossia. Swiss Standard German is used in the Swiss education system, whereas Austrian Standard German
Austrian Standard German
is officially used in the Austrian education system. A mixture of dialect and standard does not normally occur in Northern Germany
either. The traditional varieties there are Low German, whereas Standard German
Standard German
is a High German
High German
"variety". Because their linguistic distance to it is greater, they do not mesh with Standard German the way that High German
High German
dialects (such as Bavarian, Swabian, Hessian) can. Dialects[edit] Main article: German dialects

The continental West Germanic dialects

German is a member of the West Germanic language of the Germanic family of languages, which in turn is part of the Indo-European language family. The German dialects
German dialects
are the traditional local varieties; many of them are hardly understandable to someone who knows only standard German, and they have great differences in lexicon, phonology and syntax. If a narrow definition of language based on mutual intelligibility is used, many German dialects
German dialects
are considered to be separate languages (for instance in the Ethnologue). However, such a point of view is unusual in German linguistics.[2] The German dialect continuum is traditionally divided most broadly into High German
High German
and Low German, also called Low Saxon. However, historically, High German
High German
dialects and Low Saxon/ Low German
Low German
dialects do not belong to the same language. Nevertheless, in today's Germany, Low Saxon/ Low German
Low German
is often perceived as a dialectal variation of Standard German
Standard German
on a functional level even by many native speakers. The same phenomenon is found in the eastern Netherlands, as the traditional dialects are not always identified with their Low Saxon/ Low German
Low German
origins, but with Dutch.[76] The variation among the German dialects
German dialects
is considerable, with often only neighbouring dialects being mutually intelligible. Some dialects are not intelligible to people who know only Standard German. However, all German dialects
German dialects
belong to the dialect continuum of High German
High German
and Low Saxon. Low German[edit] Main article: Low German

The Low German/Low Saxon (yellow) and Low Franconian
Low Franconian
(orange) dialects

Middle Low German
Low German
was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League. It was the predominant language in Northern Germany
until the 16th century. In 1534, the Luther Bible
Luther Bible
was published. The translation is considered to be an important step towards the evolution of the Early New High German. It aimed to be understandable to a broad audience and was based mainly on Central and Upper German
Upper German
varieties. The Early New High German
High German
language gained more prestige than Low German
Low German
and became the language of science and literature. Around the same time, the Hanseatic League, based around northern ports, lost its importance as new trade routes to Asia
and the Americas
were established, and the most powerful German states of that period were located in Middle and Southern Germany. The 18th and 19th centuries were marked by mass education in Standard German in schools. Gradually, Low German
Low German
came to be politically viewed as a mere dialect spoken by the uneducated. Today, Low Saxon can be divided in two groups: Low Saxon varieties with a reasonable Standard German influx[clarification needed] and varieties of Standard German with a Low Saxon influence known as Missingsch. Sometimes, Low Saxon and Low Franconian
Low Franconian
varieties are grouped together because both are unaffected by the High German
High German
consonant shift. However, the proportion of the population who can understand and speak it has decreased continuously since World War
World War
II. The largest cities in the Low German area are Hamburg
and Dortmund. Low Franconian[edit]

The Low Franconian
Low Franconian

The Low Franconian
Low Franconian
dialects are the dialects that are more closely related to Dutch than to Low German. Most of the Low Franconian dialects are spoken in the Netherlands
and in Belgium, where they are considered as dialects of Dutch, which is itself a Low Franconian language. In Germany, Low Franconian
Low Franconian
dialects are spoken in the northwest of North Rhine-Westphalia, along the Lower Rhine. The Low Franconian dialects spoken in Germany
are referred to as Meuse-Rhenish or Low Rhenish. In the north of the German Low Franconian
Low Franconian
language area, North Low Franconian
Low Franconian
dialects (also referred to as Cleverlands or as dialects of South Guelderish) are spoken. These dialects are more closely related to Dutch (also North Low Franconian) than the South Low Franconian
Low Franconian
dialects (also referred to as East Limburgish and, east of the Rhine, Low Bergish), which are spoken in the south of the German Low Franconian
Low Franconian
language area. The South Low Franconian dialects are more closely related to Limburgish
than to Dutch, and are transitional dialects between Low Franconian
Low Franconian
and Ripuarian (Central Franconian). The East Bergish
East Bergish
dialects are the easternmost Low Franconian dialects, and are transitional dialects between North- and South Low Franconian, and Westphalian (Low German), with most of its features however being North Low Franconian. The largest cities in the German Low Franconian
Low Franconian
area are Düsseldorf
and Duisburg. High German[edit] Main article: High German
High German

The Central German
Central German

The Franconian dialects (Low Franconian, Central- and Rhine Franconian, and High Franconian)

The High German
High German
dialects consist of the Central German, High Franconian, and Upper German
Upper German
dialects. The High Franconian dialects are transitional dialects between Central- and Upper German. The High German varieties spoken by the Ashkenazi Jews have several unique features, and are considered as a separate language, Yiddish, written with the Hebrew alphabet. Central German[edit] The Central German
Central German
dialects are spoken in Central Germany, from Aachen in the west to Görlitz
in the east. They consist of Franconian dialects in the west (West Central German), and non-Franconian dialects in the east (East Central German). Modern Standard German
Standard German
is mostly based on Central German
Central German
dialects. The Franconian, West Central German
Central German
dialects are the Central Franconian dialects (Ripuarian and Moselle Franconian), and the Rhine Franconian dialects (Hessian and Palatine). These dialects are considered as

German in Germany
and Belgium Luxembourgish
in Luxembourg Lorraine Franconian
Lorraine Franconian
(spoken in Moselle) and as a Rhine
Franconian variant of Alsatian (spoken in Alsace bossue
Alsace bossue
only) in France Limburgish
or Kerkrade dialect in the Netherlands.

as well as the Transylvanian Saxon dialect
Transylvanian Saxon dialect
spoken in Transylvania
are based on Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian
dialects. The largest cities in the Franconian Central German
Central German
area are Cologne
and Frankfurt. Further east, the non-Franconian, East Central German
Central German
dialects are spoken (Thuringian, Upper Saxon, Ore Mountainian, and Lusatian-New Markish, and earlier, in the then German-speaking parts of Silesia also Silesian, and in then German southern East Prussia
East Prussia
also High Prussian). The largest cities in the East Central German
Central German
area are Berlin
and Leipzig. High Franconian[edit] The High Franconian dialects are transitional dialects between Central- and Upper German. They consist of the East- and South Franconian dialects. The East Franconian dialect branch is one of the most spoken dialect branches in Germany. These dialects are spoken in the region of Franconia
and in the central parts of Saxon Vogtland. Franconia consists of the Bavarian districts of Upper-, Middle-, and Lower Franconia, the region of South Thuringia
South Thuringia
(Thuringia), and the eastern parts of the region of Heilbronn-Franken (Tauber Franconia
and Hohenlohe) in Baden-Württemberg. The largest cities in the East Franconian area are Nuremberg
and Würzburg. South Franconian is mainly spoken in northern Baden-Württemberg
in Germany, but also in the northeasternmost part of the region of Alsace in France. While these dialects are considered as dialects of German in Baden-Württemberg, they are considered as dialects of Alsatian in Alsace
(most Alsatian dialects are however Low Alemannic). The largest cities in the South Franconian area are Karlsruhe
and Heilbronn. Upper German[edit]

The Upper German
Upper German
and High Franconian (transitional between Central- and Upper German) dialects

The Upper German
Upper German
dialects are the Alemannic dialects in the west, and the Bavarian dialects
Bavarian dialects
in the east. Alemannic[edit] Alemannic dialects are spoken in Switzerland
(High Alemannic in the densely populated Swiss Plateau, in the south also Highest Alemannic, and Low Alemannic in Basel), Baden-Württemberg
(Swabian and Low Alemannic, in the southwest also High Alemannic), Bavarian Swabia (Swabian, in the southwesternmost part also Low Alemannic), Vorarlberg (Low-, High-, and Highest Alemannic), Alsace
(Low Alemannic, in the southernmost part also High Alemannic), Liechtenstein
(High- and Highest Alemannic), and in the Tyrolean district of Reutte (Swabian). The Alemannic dialects are considered as Alsatian in Alsace. The largest cities in the Alemannic area are Stuttgart
and Zürich. Bavarian[edit] Bavarian dialects
Bavarian dialects
are spoken in Austria
(Vienna, Lower- and Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, Burgenland, and in most parts of Tyrol), Bavaria
(Upper- and Lower Bavaria
as well as Upper Palatinate), South Tyrol, southwesternmost Saxony
(Southern Vogtlandian), and in the Swiss village of Samnaun. The largest cities in the Bavarian area are Vienna
and Munich. Grammar[edit] Main article: German grammar German is a fusional language with a moderate degree of inflection, with three grammatical genders; as such, there can be a large number of words derived from the same root. Noun inflection[edit]

Declension of the German definite articles (all equivalent to English "the").

Further information: Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
in German German nouns inflect by case, gender and number:

four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Word endings sometimes reveal grammatical gender: for instance, nouns ending in -ung (-ing), -schaft (-ship), -keit or heit (-hood, -ness) are feminine, and nouns ending in -chen or -lein (diminutive forms) are neuter and nouns ending in -ismus (-ism) are masculine. Others are more variable, sometimes depending on the region in which the language is spoken; and some endings are not restricted to one gender, e.g. -er (-er), e.g. Feier (feminine), celebration, party, Arbeiter (masculine), labourer, and Gewitter (neuter), thunderstorm. two numbers: singular and plural.

This degree of inflection is considerably less than in Old High German and other old Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
such as Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit, and it is also somewhat less than, for instance, Old English, modern Icelandic, or Russian. The three genders have collapsed in the plural. With four cases and three genders plus plural, there are 16 permutations of case and gender/number, but there are only six forms of the definite article, which together cover all 16 permutations. In nouns, inflection for case is required in the singular for strong masculine and neuter nouns, in the genitive and sometimes in the dative. Both of these cases are losing ground to substitutes in informal speech. The dative noun ending is considered somewhat old-fashioned in many contexts and is often dropped, but it is still used in proverbs and the like, in formal speech and in written language. Weak masculine nouns share a common case ending for genitive, dative and accusative in the singular. Feminine nouns are not declined in the singular. The plural has an inflection for the dative. In total, seven inflectional endings (not counting plural markers) exist in German: -s, -es, -n, -ns, -en, -ens, -e. In German orthography, nouns and most words with the syntactical function of nouns are capitalised to make it easier for readers to determine the function of a word within a sentence (Am Freitag ging ich einkaufen. – "On Friday I went shopping."; Eines Tages kreuzte er endlich auf. – "One day he finally showed up.") This convention is almost unique to German today (shared perhaps only by the closely related Luxembourgish language
Luxembourgish language
and several insular dialects of the North Frisian language), but it was historically common in other languages such as Danish (which abolished the capitalization of nouns in 1948) and English. Like the other Germanic languages, German forms noun compounds in which the first noun modifies the category given by the second,: Hundehütte ("dog hut"; specifically: "dog kennel"). Unlike English, whose newer compounds or combinations of longer nouns are often written in "open" with separating spaces, German (like some other Germanic languages) nearly always uses the "closed" form without spaces, for example: Baumhaus ("tree house"). Like English, German allows arbitrarily long compounds in theory (see also English compounds). The longest German word verified to be actually in (albeit very limited) use is Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, which, literally translated, is "beef labelling supervision duty assignment law" [from Rind (cattle), Fleisch (meat), Etikettierung(s) (labelling), Überwachung(s) (supervision), Aufgaben (duties), Übertragung(s) (assignment), Gesetz (law)]. However, examples like this are perceived by native speakers as excessively bureaucratic, stylistically awkward or even satirical. Verb inflection[edit] Main article: German verbs The inflection of standard German verbs includes:

two main conjugation classes: weak and strong (as in English). Additionally, there is a third class, known as mixed verbs, whose conjugation combines features of both the strong and weak patterns. three persons: first, second and third. two numbers: singular and plural. three moods: indicative, imperative and subjunctive (in addition to infinitive) two voices: active and passive. The passive voice uses auxiliary verbs and is divisible into static and dynamic. Static forms show a constant state and use the verb ’’to be’’ (sein). Dynamic forms show an action and use the verb “to become’’ (werden). two tenses without auxiliary verbs (present and preterite) and four tenses constructed with auxiliary verbs (perfect, pluperfect, future and future perfect). the distinction between grammatical aspects is rendered by combined use of subjunctive and/or preterite marking so the plain indicative voice uses neither of those two markers; the subjunctive by itself conveys secondhand information[clarification needed]; subjunctive plus preterite marks the conditional state; and the preterite alone shows either plain indicative (in the past), or functions as a (literal) alternative for either second-hand-information or the conditional state of the verb, when necessary for clarity. the distinction between perfect and progressive aspect is and has, at every stage of development, been a productive category of the older language and in nearly all documented dialects, but, strangely enough, it is now rigorously excluded from written usage in its present normalised form. disambiguation of completed vs. uncompleted forms is widely observed and regularly generated by common prefixes (blicken [to look], erblicken [to see – unrelated form: sehen]).

Verb prefixes[edit] The meaning of basic verbs can be expanded and sometimes radically changed through the use of a number of prefixes. Some prefixes have a specific meaning; the prefix zer- refers to destruction, as in zerreißen (to tear apart), zerbrechen (to break apart), zerschneiden (to cut apart). Other prefixes have only the vaguest meaning in themselves; ver- is found in a number of verbs with a large variety of meanings, as in versuchen (to try) from suchen (to seek), vernehmen (to interrogate) from nehmen (to take), verteilen (to distribute) from teilen (to share), verstehen (to understand) from stehen (to stand). Other examples include the following: haften (to stick), verhaften (to detain); kaufen (to buy), verkaufen (to sell); hören (to hear), aufhören (to cease); fahren (to drive), erfahren (to experience). Many German verbs have a separable prefix, often with an adverbial function. In finite verb forms, it is split off and moved to the end of the clause and is hence considered by some to be a "resultative particle". For example, mitgehen, meaning "to go along", would be split, giving Gehen Sie mit? (Literal: "Go you with?"; Idiomatic: "Are you going along?"). Indeed, several parenthetical clauses may occur between the prefix of a finite verb and its complement (ankommen = to arrive, er kam an = he arrived, er ist angekommen = he has arrived):

Er kam am Freitagabend nach einem harten Arbeitstag und dem üblichen Ärger, der ihn schon seit Jahren immer wieder an seinem Arbeitsplatz plagt, mit fraglicher Freude auf ein Mahl, das seine Frau ihm, wie er hoffte, bereits aufgetischt hatte, endlich zu Hause an.

A selectively literal translation of this example to illustrate the point might look like this:

He "came" on Friday evening, after a hard day at work and the usual annoyances that had time and again been troubling him for years now at his workplace, with questionable joy, to a meal which, as he hoped, his wife had already put on the table, finally at home "on".

Word order[edit] German word order is generally with the V2 word order
V2 word order
restriction and also with the SOV word order restriction for main clauses. For polar questions, exclamations and wishes, the finite verb always has the first position. In subordinate clauses, the verb occurs at the very end. German requires for a verbal element (main verb or auxiliary verb) to appear second in the sentence. The verb is preceded by the topic of the sentence. The element in focus appears at the end of the sentence. For a sentence without an auxiliary, these are some possibilities:

Der alte Mann gab mir gestern das Buch. (The old man gave me yesterday the book; normal order) Das Buch gab mir gestern der alte Mann. (The book gave [to] me yesterday the old man) Das Buch gab der alte Mann mir gestern. (The book gave the old man [to] me yesterday) Das Buch gab mir der alte Mann gestern. (The book gave [to] me the old man yesterday)

Gestern gab mir der alte Mann das Buch. (Yesterday gave [to] me the old man the book, normal order) Mir gab der alte Mann das Buch gestern. ([To] me gave the old man the book yesterday (entailing: as for you, it was another date))

The position of a noun in a German sentence has no bearing on its being a subject, an object or another argument. In a declarative sentence in English, if the subject does not occur before the predicate, the sentence could well be misunderstood. However, German's flexibile word order allows one to emphasise specific words: Normal word order:

Der Direktor betrat gestern um 10 Uhr mit einem Schirm in der Hand sein Büro. The manager entered yesterday at 10 o'clock with an umbrella in the hand his office.

Object in front:

Sein Büro betrat der Direktor gestern um 10 Uhr mit einem Schirm in der Hand. His office entered the manager yesterday at 10 o'clock with an umbrella in the hand.

The object Sein Büro (his office) is thus highlighted; it could be the topic of the next sentence.

Adverb of time in front:

Gestern betrat der Direktor um 10 Uhr mit einem Schirm in der Hand sein Büro. (aber heute ohne Schirm) Yesterday entered the manager at 10 o'clock with an umbrella in the hand his office. (but today without umbrella)

Both time expressions in front:

Gestern um 10 Uhr betrat der Direktor mit einem Schirm in der Hand sein Büro. Yesterday at 10 o'clock entered the manager with an umbrella in the hand his office.

The full-time specification Gestern um 10 Uhr is highlighted.

Another possibility:

Gestern um 10 Uhr betrat der Direktor sein Büro mit einem Schirm in der Hand. Yesterday at 10 o'clock the manager entered his office with an umbrella in his hand.

Both the time specification and the fact he carried an umbrella are accentuated.

Swapped adverbs:

Der Direktor betrat mit einem Schirm in der Hand gestern um 10 Uhr sein Büro. The manager entered with an umbrella in the hand yesterday at 10 o'clock his office.

The phrase mit einem Schirm in der Hand is highlighted.

Swapped object:

Der Direktor betrat gestern um 10 Uhr sein Büro mit einem Schirm in der Hand. The manager entered yesterday at 10 o'clock his office with an umbrella in his hand.

The time specification and the object sein Büro (his office) are lightly accentuated.

The flexible word order also allows one to use language "tools" (such as poetic meter and figures of speech) more freely. Auxiliary verbs[edit] When an auxiliary verb is present, it appears in second position, and the main verb appears at the end. This occurs notably in the creation of the perfect tense. Many word orders are still possible:

Der alte Mann hat mir heute das Buch gegeben. (The old man has me today the book given.) Das Buch hat der alte Mann mir heute gegeben. (The book has the old man me today given.) Heute hat der alte Mann mir das Buch gegeben. (Today has the old man me the book given.)

The main verb may appear in first position to put stress on the action itself. The auxiliary verb is still in second position.

Gegeben hat mir der alte Mann das Buch heute. (Given has me the old man the book 'today'.) The bare fact that the book has been given is emphasized, as well as 'today'.

Modal verbs[edit] Sentences using modal verbs place the infinitive at the end. For example, the English sentence "Should he go home?" would be rearranged in German to say "Should he (to) home go?" (Soll er nach Hause gehen?). Thus, in sentences with several subordinate or relative clauses, the infinitives are clustered at the end. Compare the similar clustering of prepositions in the following (highly contrived) English sentence: "What did you bring that book that I do not like to be read to out of up for?" Multiple infinitives[edit] German subordinate clauses have all verbs clustered at the end. Given that auxiliaries encode future, passive, modality, and the perfect, very long chains of verbs at the end of the sentence can occur. In these constructions, the past participle in ge- is often replaced by the infinitive.

Man nimmt an, dass der Deserteur wohl erschossenV wordenpsv seinperf sollmod One suspects that the deserter probably shot become be should. ("It is suspected that the deserter probably had been shot")

Er wusste nicht, dass der Agent einen Nachschlüssel hatte machen lassen He knew not that the agent a picklock had make let

Er wusste nicht, dass der Agent einen Nachschlüssel machen lassen hatte He knew not that the agent a picklock make let had

("He did not know that the agent had had a picklock made")

The order at the end of such strings is subject to variation, but the latter version is unusual. Vocabulary[edit]


Österreichisches Wörterbuch, Austrian Dictionary.

Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the European language family.[citation needed] However, there is a significant amount of loanwords from other languages, in particular from Latin, Greek, Italian, French[77] and most recently English.[78] In the early 19th century, Joachim Heinrich Campe
Joachim Heinrich Campe
estimated that one fifth of the total German vocabulary was of French or Latin origin.[79] Latin
words were already imported into the predecessor of the German language during the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and underwent all the characteristic phonetic changes in German. Their origin is thus no longer recognizable for most speakers (e.g. Pforte, Tafel, Mauer, Käse, Köln from Latin
porta, tabula, murus, caseus, Colonia). Borrowing from Latin
continued after the fall of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
during Christianization, mediated by the church and monasteries. Another important influx of Latin
words can be observed during Renaissance humanism. In a scholarly context, the borrowings from Latin
have continued until today, in the last few decades often indirectly through borrowings from English. During the 15th to 17th centuries, the influence of Italian was great, leading to many Italian loanwords in the fields of architecture, finance, and music. The influence of the French language
French language
in the 17th to 19th centuries resulted in an even greater import of French words. The English influence was already present in the 19th century, but it did not become dominant until the second half of the 20th century. At the same time, the effectiveness of the German language
German language
in forming equivalents for foreign words from its inherited Germanic stem repertory is great.[citation needed] Thus, Notker Labeo
Notker Labeo
was able to translate Aristotelian treatises in pure (Old High) German in the decades after the year 1000. The tradition of loan translation was revitalized in the 18th century, with linguists like Joachim Heinrich Campe, who introduced close to 300 words that are still used in modern German. Even today, there are movements that try to promote the Ersatz (substitution) of foreign words deemed unnecessary with German alternatives.[80] It is claimed that this would also help in spreading modern or scientific notions among the less educated and as well democratise public life. As in English, there are many pairs of synonyms due to the enrichment of the Germanic vocabulary with loanwords from Latin
and Latinized Greek. These words often have different connotations from their Germanic counterparts and are usually perceived as more scholarly.

Historie, historisch – "history, historical", (Geschichte, geschichtlich) Humanität, human – "humaneness, humane", (Menschlichkeit, menschlich)[81] Millennium – "millennium", (Jahrtausend) Perzeption – "perception", (Wahrnehmung) Vokabular – "vocabulary", (Wortschatz)

The size of the vocabulary of German is difficult to estimate. The Deutsches Wörterbuch
Deutsches Wörterbuch
(The German Dictionary) initiated by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm
already contained over 330,000 headwords in its first edition. The modern German scientific vocabulary is estimated at nine million words and word groups (based on the analysis of 35 million sentences of a corpus in Leipzig, which as of July 2003 included 500 million words in total).[82] The Duden
is the de facto official dictionary of the German language, first published by Konrad Duden
in 1880. The Duden
is updated regularly, with new editions appearing every four or five years. As of August 2013[update] it is in its 26th edition and in 12 volumes, each covering different aspects such as loanwords, etymology, pronunciation, synonyms, and so forth. The first of these volumes, Die deutsche Rechtschreibung (English: German Orthography), has long been the prescriptive source for the spelling of German. The Duden
has become the bible of the German language, being the definitive set of rules regarding grammar, spelling and usage of German.[83] The Österreichisches Wörterbuch
Österreichisches Wörterbuch
("Austrian Dictionary"), abbreviated ÖWB, is the official dictionary of the German language
German language
in the Republic of Austria. It is edited by a group of linguists under the authority of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (German: Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur). It is the Austrian counterpart to the German Duden
and contains a number of terms unique to Austrian German
Austrian German
or more frequently used or differently pronounced there.[84] A considerable amount of this "Austrian" vocabulary is also common in Southern Germany, especially Bavaria, and some of it is used in Switzerland
as well. The most recent edition is the 42nd from 2012. Since the 39th edition from 2001 the orthography of the ÖWB
was adjusted to the German spelling reform of 1996. The dictionary is also officially used in the Italian province of South Tyrol. English–German cognates[edit] This is a selection of cognates in both English and German. Instead of the usual infinitive ending -en German verbs are indicated by a hyphen "-" after their stems. Words that are written with capital letters in German are nouns.

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

English German

and und arm Arm bear Bär beaver Biber bee Biene beer Bier best best better besser blink blink- bloom blüh-

blue blau boat Boot book Buch brew brau- brewery Brauerei bridge Brücke brow Braue brown braun chirp zirp- church Kirche

cold kalt cool kühl dale Tal dam Damm dance tanz- dough Teig dream Traum dream träum- drink Getränk drink trink-

ear Ohr earth Erde eat ess- far fern feather Feder fern Farn field Feld finger Finger fish Fisch fisher Fischer

flee flieh- flight Flug flood Flut flow fließ- flow Fluss fly Fliege fly flieg- for für ford Furt four vier

fox Fuchs fruit Frucht glass Glas go geh- gold Gold good gut grass Gras grasshopper Grashüpfer green grün grey grau

hag Hexe hail Hagel hand Hand hat Hut hate Hass haven Hafen hay Heu hear hör- heart Herz heat Hitze

heath Heide high hoch honey Honig hornet Hornisse hundred hundert hunger Hunger hut Hütte ice Eis king König kiss Kuss

kiss küss- knee Knie land Land landing Landung laugh lach- lie, lay lieg-, lag lie, lied lüg-, log light (A) leicht light Licht live leb-

liver Leber love Liebe man Mann middle Mitte midnight Mitternacht moon Mond moss Moos mouth Mund mouth (river) Mündung night Nacht

nose Nase nut Nuss over über plant Pflanze quack quak- rain Regen rainbow Regenbogen red rot ring Ring sand Sand

say sag- sea See (f) seam Saum seat Sitz see seh- sheep Schaf shimmer schimmer- shine schein- ship Schiff silver Silber

sing sing- sit sitz- snow Schnee soul Seele speak sprech- spring spring- star Stern stitch Stich stork Storch storm Sturm

stormy stürmisch strand strand- straw Stroh straw bale Strohballen stream Strom stream ström- stutter stotter- summer Sommer sun Sonne sunny sonnig

swan Schwan tell erzähl- that (C) dass the der, die, das, den, dem then dann thirst Durst thistle Distel thorn Dorn thousand tausend thunder Donner

twitter zwitscher- upper ober warm warm wasp Wespe water Wasser weather Wetter weave web- well Quelle well wohl which welch

white weiß wild wild wind Wind winter Winter wolf Wolf word Wort world Welt yarn Garn year Jahr yellow gelb

English German English German English German English German English German English German English German English German English German English German

Orthography[edit] Main articles: German orthography
German orthography
and German braille

German alphabet, one of Austria's elementary school handwriting programs

German alphabet, elementary school handwriting program in some West German states

German is written in the Latin
alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlaut, namely ä, ö and ü, as well as the eszett or scharfes s (sharp s): ß. In Switzerland
and Liechtenstein, ss is used instead of ß. Since ß
can never occur at the beginning of a word, it has no traditional uppercase form. Written texts in German are easily recognisable as such by distinguishing features such as umlauts and certain orthographical features – German is the only major language that capitalizes all nouns, a relic of a widespread practice in Northern Europe
in the early modern era (including English for a while, in the 1700s) – and the frequent occurrence of long compounds. The longest German word that has been published is Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft made of 79 characters. Because legibility and convenience set certain boundaries, compounds consisting of more than three or four nouns are almost exclusively found in humorous contexts. (In contrast, although English can also string nouns together, it usually separates the nouns with spaces. For example, "toilet bowl cleaner".) Present[edit] Before the German orthography
German orthography
reform of 1996, ß
replaced ss after long vowels and diphthongs and before consonants, word-, or partial-word-endings. In reformed spelling, ß
replaces ss only after long vowels and diphthongs. Since there is no traditional capital form of ß, it was replaced by SS when capitalization was required. For example, Maßband (tape measure) became MASSBAND in capitals. An exception was the use of ß in legal documents and forms when capitalizing names. To avoid confusion with similar names, lower case ß
was maintained (so, "KREßLEIN" instead of "KRESSLEIN"). Capital ß
(ẞ) was ultimately adopted into German orthography
German orthography
in 2017, ending a long orthographic debate.[85] Umlaut vowels (ä, ö, ü) are commonly transcribed with ae, oe, and ue if the umlauts are not available on the keyboard or other medium used. In the same manner ß
can be transcribed as ss. Some operating systems use key sequences to extend the set of possible characters to include, amongst other things, umlauts; in Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
this is done using Alt codes. German readers understand these transcriptions (although they appear unusual), but they are avoided if the regular umlauts are available because they are a makeshift, not proper spelling. (In Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, city and family names exist where the extra e has a vowel lengthening effect, e.g. Raesfeld [ˈraːsfɛlt], Coesfeld [ˈkoːsfɛlt] and Itzehoe [ɪtsəˈhoː], but this use of the letter e after a/o/u does not occur in the present-day spelling of words other than proper nouns.)

German alphabet

(Listen to a German speaker recite the alphabet in German)

Problems playing this file? See media help.

There is no general agreement on where letters with umlauts occur in the sorting sequence. Telephone directories treat them by replacing them with the base vowel followed by an e. Some dictionaries sort each umlauted vowel as a separate letter after the base vowel, but more commonly words with umlauts are ordered immediately after the same word without umlauts. As an example in a telephone book Ärzte occurs after Adressenverlage but before Anlagenbauer (because Ä is replaced by Ae). In a dictionary Ärzte comes after Arzt, but in some dictionaries Ärzte and all other words starting with Ä may occur after all words starting with A. In some older dictionaries or indexes, initial Sch and St are treated as separate letters and are listed as separate entries after S, but they are usually treated as S+C+H and S+T. Written German also typically uses an alternative opening inverted comma (quotation mark) as in „Guten Morgen!“. Past[edit]

A Russian dictionary from 1931, showing the "German alphabet" – the 3rd and 4th columns of each half are Fraktur
and Kurrent respectively, with the footnote explaining ligatures used in Fraktur.

Further information: 2nd Orthographic Conference (German), Antiqua– Fraktur
dispute, and German orthography
German orthography
reform of 1944 Until the early 20th century, German was mostly printed in blackletter typefaces (mostly in Fraktur, but also in Schwabacher) and written in corresponding handwriting (for example Kurrent
and Sütterlin). These variants of the Latin
alphabet are very different from the serif or sans-serif Antiqua typefaces used today, and the handwritten forms in particular are difficult for the untrained to read. The printed forms, however, were claimed by some to be more readable when used for Germanic languages.[86] (Often, foreign names in a text were printed in an Antiqua typeface even though the rest of the text was in Fraktur.) The Nazis initially promoted Fraktur
and Schwabacher
because they were considered Aryan, but they abolished them in 1941, claiming that these letters were Jewish.[87] It is also believed that the Nazi régime had banned this script as they realized that Fraktur
would inhibit communication in the territories occupied during World War II.[88] The Fraktur
script however remains present in everyday life in pub signs, beer brands and other forms of advertisement, where it is used to convey a certain rusticality and antiquity. A proper use of the long s, (langes s), ſ, is essential for writing German text in Fraktur
typefaces. Many Antiqua typefaces include the long s also. A specific set of rules applies for the use of long s in German text, but nowadays it is rarely used in Antiqua typesetting. Any lower case "s" at the beginning of a syllable would be a long s, as opposed to a terminal s or short s (the more common variation of the letter s), which marks the end of a syllable; for example, in differentiating between the words Wachſtube (guard-house) and Wachstube (tube of polish/wax). One can easily decide which "s" to use by appropriate hyphenation, (Wach-ſtube vs. Wachs-tube). The long s only appears in lower case. Reform of 1996[edit] Main article: German orthography
German orthography
reform of 1996 The orthography reform of 1996 led to public controversy and considerable dispute. The states (Bundesländer) of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria
would not accept it. The dispute landed at one point in the highest court, which made a short issue of it, claiming that the states had to decide for themselves and that only in schools could the reform be made the official rule – everybody else could continue writing as they had learned it. After 10 years, without any intervention by the federal parliament, a major revision was installed in 2006, just in time for the coming school year. In 2007, some traditional spellings were finally invalidated, whereas in 2008, on the other hand, many of the old comma rules were again put in force. The most noticeable change was probably in the use of the letter ß, called scharfes s (Sharp S) or ess-zett (pronounced ess-tsett). Traditionally, this letter was used in three situations:

After a long vowel or vowel combination, Before a t, and At the end of a syllable

Thus Füße, paßt, and daß. Currently only the first rule is in effect, thus Füße, passt, and dass. The word Fu ß
'foot' has the letter ß
because it contains a long vowel, even though that letter occurs at the end of a syllable. The logic of this change is that an 'ß' is a single letter whereas 'ss' obviously are two letters, so the same distinction applies as for instance between the words den and denn. Phonology[edit] Main article: German phonology Vowels[edit]

Spoken German in Goethe's Faust

In German, vowels (excluding diphthongs; see below) are either short or long, as follows:


short /a/ /ɛ/ /ɛ/, /ə/ /ɪ/ /ɔ/ /œ/ /ʊ/ /ʏ/

long /aː/ /ɛː/, /eː/ /eː/ /iː/ /oː/ /øː/ /uː/ /yː/

Short /ɛ/ is realized as [ɛ] in stressed syllables (including secondary stress), but as [ə] in unstressed syllables. Note that stressed short /ɛ/ can be spelled either with e or with ä (for instance, hätte "would have" and Kette "chain" rhyme). In general, the short vowels are open and the long vowels are close. The one exception is the open /ɛː/ sound of long Ä; in some varieties of standard German, /ɛː/ and /eː/ have merged into [eː], removing this anomaly. In that case, pairs like Bären/Beeren 'bears/berries' or Ähre/Ehre 'spike (of wheat)/honour' become homophonous (see: Captain Bluebear). In many varieties of standard German, an unstressed /ɛr/ is not pronounced [ər], but vocalised to [ɐ]. Whether any particular vowel letter represents the long or short phoneme is not completely predictable, although the following regularities exist:

If a vowel (other than i) is at the end of a syllable or followed by a single consonant, it is usually pronounced long (e.g. Hof [hoːf]). If a vowel is followed by h or if an i is followed by an e, it is long. If the vowel is followed by a double consonant (e.g. ff, ss or tt), ck, tz or a consonant cluster (e.g. st or nd), it is nearly always short (e.g. hoffen [ˈhɔfən]). Double consonants are used only for this function of marking preceding vowels as short; the consonant itself is never pronounced lengthened or doubled, in other words this is not a feeding order of gemination and then vowel shortening.

Both of these rules have exceptions (e.g. hat [hat] "has" is short despite the first rule; Mond [moːnt], "moon" is long despite the second rule). For an i that is neither in the combination ie (making it long) nor followed by a double consonant or cluster (making it short), there is no general rule. In some cases, there are regional differences: In central Germany
(Hessen), the o in the proper name "Hoffmann" is pronounced long, whereas most other Germans
would pronounce it short; the same applies to the e in the geographical name "Mecklenburg" for people in that region. The word Städte "cities", is pronounced with a short vowel [ˈʃtɛtə] by some (Jan Hofer, ARD Television) and with a long vowel [ˈʃtɛːtə] by others (Marietta Slomka, ZDF
Television). Finally, a vowel followed by ch can be short (Fach [fax] "compartment", Küche [ˈkʏçə] "kitchen") or long (Suche [ˈzuːxə] "search", Bücher [ˈbyːçɐ] "books") almost at random. Thus, Lache is homographous between [laːxə] Lache "puddle" and [laxə] Lache "manner of laughing" (colloquial) or lache! "laugh!" (imperative). German vowels can form the following digraphs (in writing) and diphthongs (in pronunciation); note that the pronunciation of some of them (ei, äu, eu) is very different from what one would expect when considering the component letters:

spelling ai, ei, ay, ey au äu, eu

pronunciation /aɪ̯/ /aʊ̯/ /ɔʏ̯/

Additionally, the digraph ie generally represents the phoneme /iː/, which is not a diphthong. In many varieties, an /r/ at the end of a syllable is vocalised. However, a sequence of a vowel followed by such a vocalised /r/ is not a phonemic diphthong: Bär [bɛːɐ̯] "bear", er [eːɐ̯] "he", wir [viːɐ̯] "we", Tor [toːɐ̯] "gate", kurz [kʊɐ̯ts] "short", Wörter [vœɐ̯tɐ] "words". In most varieties of standard German, syllables that begin with a vowel are preceded by a glottal stop [ʔ]. Consonants[edit] With approximately 25 phonemes, the German consonant system exhibits an average number of consonants in comparison with other languages. One of the more noteworthy ones is the unusual affricate /p͡f/. The consonant inventory of the standard language is shown below.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal

Nasal m n


Plosive p3  b t3  d

k3  ɡ

Affricate pf ts tʃ  (dʒ)4

Fricative f  v s  z ʃ  (ʒ)4 x1 (ʁ)2 h





l j

1/x/ has two allophones, [x] and [ç], after back and front vowels, respectively. 2/r/ has three allophones in free variation: [r], [ʁ] and [ʀ]. In the syllable coda, the allophone [ɐ] is found in many varieties. 3 The voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/ are aspirated except when preceded by a sibilant, exactly as in English. 4/d͡ʒ/ and /ʒ/ occur only in words of foreign (usually English or French) origin. Where a stressed syllable has an initial vowel, it is preceded by [ʔ]. As its presence is predictable from context, [ʔ] is not considered a phoneme.

Consonant spellings[edit]

c standing by itself is not a German letter. In borrowed words, it is usually pronounced [t͡s] (before ä, äu, e, i, ö, ü, y) or [k] (before a, o, u, and consonants). The combination ck is, as in English, used to indicate that the preceding vowel is short. ch occurs often and is pronounced either [ç] (after ä, ai, äu, e, ei, eu, i, ö, ü and consonants; in the diminutive suffix -chen; and at the beginning of a word), [x] (after a, au, o, u), or [k] at the beginning of a word before a, o, u and consonants. Ch never occurs at the beginning of an originally German word. In borrowed words with initial Ch before front vowels (Chemie "chemistry" etc.), [ç] is considered standard. However, Upper Germans
and Franconians (in the geographical sense) replace it with [k], as German as a whole does before darker vowels and consonants such as in Charakter, Christentum. Middle Germans
(except Franconians) will borrow a [ʃ] from the French model. Both agree in considering each other's variant,[clarification needed] and Upper Germans
also the standard in [ç], as particularly awkward and unusual. dsch is pronounced [d͡ʒ] (e.g. Dschungel /ˈd͡ʒʊŋəl/ "jungle") but appears in a few loanwords only. f is pronounced [f] as in "father". h is pronounced [h] as in "home" at the beginning of a syllable. After a vowel it is silent and only lengthens the vowel (e.g. Reh [ʁeː] = roe deer). j is pronounced [j] in Germanic words (Jahr [jaːɐ]) (like "y" in "year"). In recent loanwords, it follows more or less the respective languages' pronunciations. l is always pronounced [l], never *[ɫ] (the English "dark L"). q only exists in combination with u and is pronounced [kv]. It appears in both Germanic and Latin
words (quer [kveːɐ̯]; Qualität [kvaliˈtɛːt]). But as most words containing q are Latinate, the letter is considerably rarer in German than it is in English. r is usually pronounced in a guttural fashion (a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] or uvular trill [ʀ]) in front of a vowel or consonant (Rasen [ˈʁaːzən]; Burg [buʁk]). In spoken German, however, it is commonly vocalised after a vowel (er being pronounced rather like [ˈɛɐ] – Burg [buɐk]). In some varieties, the r is pronounced as a "tongue-tip" r (the alveolar trill [r]). s in German is pronounced [z] (as in "zebra") if it forms the syllable onset (e.g. Sohn [zoːn]), otherwise [s] (e.g. Bus [bʊs]). In Austria, Switzerland, and Southern Germany, [s] occurs at syllable onset as well. A ss [s] indicates that the preceding vowel is short. st and sp at the beginning of words of German origin are pronounced [ʃt] and [ʃp], respectively. ß
(a letter unique to German called scharfes S or Eszett) was a ligature of a double s and of an sz and is always pronounced [s]. Originating in Blackletter
typeface, it traditionally replaced ss at the end of a syllable (e.g. ich muss → ich muß; ich müsste → ich müßte); within a word it contrasts with ss [s] in indicating that the preceding vowel is long (compare in Maßen [in ˈmaːsən] "with moderation" and in Massen [in ˈmasən] "in loads"). The use of ß
has recently been limited by the latest German spelling reform and is no longer used for ss after a short vowel (e.g. ich mu ß
and ich müßte were always pronounced with a short U/Ü); Switzerland
and Liechtenstein
already abolished it in 1934.[89] sch is pronounced [ʃ] (like "sh" in "shine"). tion in Latin
loanwords is pronounced [tsion]. th is found, rarely, in loanwords and is pronounced [t] if the loanword is from Greek, and usually as in the original if the loanword is from English (though some, mostly older, speakers tend to replace the English th-sound with [s]). v is pronounced [f] in a limited number of words of Germanic origin, such as Vater [ˈfaːtɐ], Vogel "bird", von "from, of", vor "before, in front of", voll "full" and the prefix ver-. It is also used in loanwords, where it is normally pronounced [v]. This pronunciation is common in words like Vase, Vikar, Viktor, Viper, Ventil, vulgär, and English loanwords; however, pronunciation is [f] by some people in some in the very south. The only non-German word in which "v" is always pronounced "f" is Eva (Eve). w is pronounced [v] as in "vacation" (e.g. was [vas]). y is pronounced as [y] when long, and [ʏ] when short (as in Hygiene [hyɡi̯ˈeːnə] ; Labyrinth [labyˈʁɪnt] or Gymnasium /ɡʏmˈnaːziʊm/), except in ay and ey which are both pronounced [ai]. It is also often used in loanwords and pronounced like in the original language like in Style or Recycling. z is always pronounced [t͡s] (e.g. zog [t͡soːk]), except in loanwords. A tz indicates that the preceding vowel is short.

Consonant shifts[edit] Further information: High German
High German
consonant shift German does not have any dental fricatives (as English th). The th sounds, which the English language
English language
still has, disappeared on the continent in German with the consonant shifts between the 8th and the 10th centuries.[90] It is sometimes possible to find parallels between English and German by replacing the English th with d in German: "Thank" → in German Dank, "this" and "that" → dies and das, "thou" (old 2nd person singular pronoun) → du, "think" → denken, "thirsty" → durstig and many other examples. Likewise, the gh in Germanic English words, pronounced in several different ways in modern English (as an f, or not at all), can often be linked to German ch: "to laugh" → lachen, "through" and "thorough" → durch, "high" → hoch, "naught" → nichts, "light" → leicht or Licht, "sight" → Sicht, "daughter" → Tochter, "neighbour" → Nachbar. Literature[edit] Main article: German literature The German language
German language
is used in German literature
German literature
and can be traced back to the Middle Ages, with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide
Walther von der Vogelweide
and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm
in the 19th century became famous throughout the world. Reformer and theologian Martin Luther, who was the first to translate the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. Among the most well known poets and authors in German are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine, and Kafka. Thirteen German-speaking people have won the Nobel Prize in literature: Theodor Mommsen, Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Paul von Heyse, Gerhart Hauptmann, Carl Spitteler, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, Elias Canetti, Günter Grass, Elfriede Jelinek
Elfriede Jelinek
and Herta Müller.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) Brothers Grimm (1785–1863) Thomas Mann (1875–1955) Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)

German loanwords in the English language[edit] English has taken many loanwords from German, often without any change of spelling (aside from, often, the elimination of umlauts and not capitalizing nouns):

German word English loanword Meaning of German word

abseilen abseil to descend by rope / to fastrope

Angst angst fear

Ansatz ansatz onset / entry / math / approach

Anschluss anschluss connection / access / annexation

Automat automat automation / machine

Bildungsroman bildungsroman novel concerned with the personal development or education of the protagonist

Blitz Blitz flash / lightning

Bratwurst bratwurst fried sausage

Delikatessen delikatessen / delicatessen delicate / delicious food items

Doppelgänger doppelgänger lit. "double going / living person alive", look-alike of somebody

Dramaturg dramaturg professional position within a theatre or opera company that deals mainly with research and development of plays or operas

Edelweiß edelweiss edelweiss flower

Ersatz ersatz lit. "replacement", typically used to refer to an inferior substitute for a desired substance or item

Fest fest feast / celebration

Gedankenexperiment gedankenexperiment thought experiment

Geländesprung gelandesprung ski jumping for distance on alpine equipment

Gemütlichkeit gemütlichkeit snug feeling, cosiness, good nature, geniality

Gestalt gestalt form or shape / creature / scheme; a concept of 'wholeness' (etymologically die Gestalt is the past participle of stellen used as an abstract noun, i. e. the same form as contemporary die Gestellte)[91]

Gesundheit! Gesundheit! (Amer.) health / bless you! (when someone sneezes)

Glockenspiel glockenspiel percussion instrument

Heiligenschein heiligenschein meteo. "holy shine" / halo

Hinterland hinterland lit. mil. "area behind the front-line": interior / backwoods

kaputt kaput out of order, not working

Katzenjammer katzenjammer lit. "cats' lament": hangover, crapulence

Kindergarten kindergarten lit. "children's garden" – nursery or preschool

Kitsch kitsch fake art, something produced exclusively for sale

Kohlsalat cole slaw cabbage salad (bastardized)

Kraut kraut herb, cabbage in some dialects

Leitmotiv leitmotif guiding theme (the verb leiten means "to guide, to lead")

plündern (v.) to plunder lit. "taking goods by force" (original meaning "to take away furniture" shifted in German and was borrowed by English both during the Thirty Years War)

Poltergeist poltergeist lit. "rumbling ghost"

Realpolitik realpolitik diplomacy based on practical objectives rather than ideals

Reich reich empire or realm

Rucksack rucksack backpack (Ruck → Rücken which means "back")

Sauerkraut sauerkraut shredded and salted cabbage fermented in its own juice

Schadenfreude schadenfreude taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune

Sprachraum sprachraum lit. "place/area/room of a language": area where a certain language is spoken

Über uber over, above

Übermensch übermensch superhuman, "overhuman"

verklemmt verklemmt (Amer.) lit. "jammed": inhibited, uptight

Waldsterben waldsterben lit. "forest dieback", dying floral environment

Wanderlust wanderlust desire, pleasure, or inclination to travel or walk

Weltanschauung weltanschauung lit. "perception of the world": ideology

Wunderkind wunderkind lit. "wonder child": child prodigy, whiz kid

Zeitgeist zeitgeist lit. "spirit of the times": the spirit of the age; the trend at that time

Zugzwang zugzwang chess term lit. "compulsion to move"

Organisations[edit] The use and learning of the German language
German language
are promoted by a number of organisations. Goethe-Institut[edit] Main article: Goethe-Institut


The government-backed Goethe-Institut[92] (named after the famous German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) aims to enhance the knowledge of German culture and language within Europe
and the rest of the world. This is done by holding exhibitions and conferences with German-related themes, and providing training and guidance in the learning and use of the German language. For example, the Goethe-Institut
teaches the Goethe-Zertifikat German language qualification. Verein Deutsche Sprache[edit] The Dortmund-based Verein Deutsche Sprache (VDS), which was founded in 1997, supports the German language
German language
and is the largest language association of citizens in the world. The VDS has more than thirty-five thousand members in over seventy countries. Its founder, statistics professor Dr. Walter Krämer, has remained chairperson of the association from its beginnings.[93] Deutsche Welle[edit] Main article: Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle

The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle
is the equivalent of the British BBC World Service
BBC World Service
and provides radio and television broadcasts in German and 30 other languages across the globe.[94] Its German language services are tailored for German language
German language
learners by being spoken at slow speed. Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle
also provides an e-learning website to learn German. See also[edit]

Deutsch (other) German family name etymology German toponymy Germanism (linguistics) List of German exonyms List of German expressions in English List of German words of French origin List of pseudo-German words adapted to English List of terms used for Germans Names for the German language Otto Basler Standard German


^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2010" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Ammon, Ulrich (November 2014). "Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt" (in German) (1st ed.). Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8. Retrieved 24 July 2015. [page needed] ^ a b c d e " Special
Eurobarometer 386: Europeans and their languages" (PDF) (report). European Commission. June 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2015.  ^ "Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung – Über den Rat". Rechtschreibrat.ids-mannheim.de. Retrieved 11 October 2010.  ^ a b c d Jan Goossens: Niederdeutsche Sprache: Versuch einer Definition. In: Jan Goossens (Hrsg.): Niederdeutsch: Sprache und Literatur. Karl Wachholtz, 2. Auflage, Neumünster 1983, S. 27; Willy Sanders: Sachsensprache, Hansesprache, Plattdeutsch: sprachgeschichtliche Grundzüge des Niederdeutschen. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1982, ISBN 3-525-01213-6, S. 32 f.; Dieter Stellmacher: Niederdeutsche Sprache. 2. Auflage, Weidler, Berlin
2000, ISBN 3-89693-326-4, S. 92. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "High Franconian". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Upper German". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ "German 'should be a working language of EU', says Merkel's party". The Daily Telegraph. 18 June 2013.  ^ Europeans and their Languages Archived 6 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine., Data for EU27, published in 2012. ^ "More than 80% of primary school pupils in the EU were studying a foreign language in 2013" (PDF). Eurostat. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016.  ^ a b c Modern Language
Association, February 2015, Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States
United States
Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2015. ^ "Why Learn German?". Goethe Institute. Retrieved 28 September 2014.  ^ "Usage Statistics of Content Languages for Websites, March 2017".  ^ "Why Learn German?". SDSU – German Studies Department of European Studies. Retrieved 28 September 2014.  ^ "Foreign languages 'shortfall' for business, CBI says". BBC News. 22 June 2014.  ^ Template:German L1 speakers outside Europe ^ a b c d Sum of Standard German, Swiss German, and all German dialects not listed under "Standard German" at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ a b Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English
Old English
and its closest relatives : a survey of the earliest Germanic languages. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8047-2221-6. OCLC 22811452.  ^ a b c d Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English
Old English
and its closest relatives : a survey of the earliest Germanic languages. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. pp. 239, 242. ISBN 978-0-8047-2221-6. OCLC 22811452.  ^ Calvin, Thomas. An Anthology of German Literature. D. C. Heath & co. pp. 5–6. OCLC 6128632.  ^ a b c Scherer, Wilhelm; Jankowsky, Kurt R. (1995). Zur Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache. Oxford University. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: J. Benjamins. p. 11.  ^ a b Waterman, John (1976). A history of the German language: with special reference to the cultural and social forces that shaped the standard literary language (Rev. ed.). Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-295-73807-3. OCLC 2366263.  ^ Alder, Aaron D. "A Brief History of the German Language". linguistics.byu.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-13.  ^ Salmons, Joe (2012). A history of German : what the past reveals about today's language (1st ed.). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-19-969793-9. OCLC 811323307.  ^ Keller, R.E. (1978). The German language. London: Faber. pp. 365–368. ISBN 0-571-11159-9. OCLC 4139504.  ^ Bach, Adolf (1965). Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer. p. 254.  ^ Fahlbusch, Erwin and Bromiley, Geoffrey William. The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999–2003, 1:244. ^ Super, Charles William (1893). A history of the German language. University of California Libraries. Columbus, Ohio: Hann & Adair. p. 81.  ^ Dickens, A.G. (1974). The German Nation and Martin Luther. New York: Harper & Row. p. 134.  ^ Wilhelm Scherer, Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache [On the history of the German language] ( Berlin
1868) ^ Anstalt G. Freytag & Berndt (1911). Geographischer Atlas zur Vaterlandskunde an der österreichischen Mittelschulen. Vienna: K. u. k. Hof-Kartographische. "Census December 31st 1910" ^ A magyar szent korona országainak 1910. évi népszámlálása. Első rész. A népesség főbb adatai. (in Hungarian). Budapest: Magyar Kir. Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (KSH). 1912. ^ Synopsis of the Deutsches Wörterbuch
Deutsches Wörterbuch
(in English) at the Language Research Centre, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, retrieved 27 June 2012. ^ Gerhard Weiss, Up-to-Date and with a Past: The "Duden" and Its History, 1995, The Publisher as Teacher, 6 DOI, online from jstor ^ Dieter Nerius: Die Rolle der II. Orthographischen Konferenz (1901) in der Geschichte der deutschen Rechtschreibung. In: Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie (ISSN 0044-2496), 119. Jahrgang 2000, Nr. 1, S. 30–54. ^ Theodor Siebs: Deutsche Bühnenaussprache (zuletzt als: Deutsche Aussprache. Reine und gemässigte Hochlautung mit Aussprachewörterbuch. Hrsg. von Helmut de Boor. 19., umgearbeitete Auflage. VMA, Wiesbaden 2000, ISBN 3-928127-66-7) ^ Upward, Chris (1997). "Spelling Reform in German". Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. J21: 22–24, 36. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014.  ^ a b c " Foreign language
Foreign language
learning statistics – Statistics Explained". Ec.europa.eu. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ Marten, Thomas; Sauer, Fritz Joachim, eds. (2005). Länderkunde – Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz und Liechtenstein
im Querschnitt [Regional Geography – An Overview of Germany, Austria, Switzerland
and Liechtenstein] (in German). Berlin: Inform-Verlag. p. 7. ISBN 3-9805843-1-3.  ^ "The most spoken languages worldwide (speakers and native speaker in millions)". New York, USA: Statista, The Statistics Portal. Retrieved 11 July 2015. Native speakers=105, total speakers=185  ^ Ethnologue
19th Edition (2016) ^ U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - Language
Use in the United States: 2007 ^ a b c d e f g h i Bureau des Traités. "Recherches sur les traités". Conventions.coe.int. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Autochthonous Linguistic Minorities in the Italian Alps:". Rga.revues.org. 20 December 1999. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ " Kazakhstan
– Languages". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ " Kazakhstan
– Law on Languages". Usefoundation.org. 11 July 1997. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization
of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015.  ^ "Устав азовского районного совета от 21.05.2002 N 5-09 устав муниципального". Russia.bestpravo.com. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Charte européenne des langues régionales : Hollande nourrit la guerre contre le français". Lefigaro.fr. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ a b c "Deutsch in Namibia" (PDF) (in German). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 August 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.  ^ Deumert, Ama (2003). Markedness and salience in language contact and second-language acquisition: evidence from a non-canonical contact language. Language
Sciences. 25. Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/S0388-0001(03)00033-0.  ^ a b German L1 speakers outside Europe ^ Schubert, Joachim. "Natal Germans". www.safrika.org.  ^ "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 – Chapter 1: Founding Provisions South African Government". Gov.za. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Table 5. Detailed List of Languages Spoken at Home for the Population 5 Years and Over by State: 2000" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2010.  ^ " Germans
from Russia
Heritage Collection". Library.ndsu.edu. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ Henry Steele Commager (1961). Immigration and American history: essays in honor of Theodore C. Blegen. University of Minnesota
Press. p.102. ISBN 0-8166-5735-1 ^ 49.2 million German Americans
German Americans
as of 2005 according to the United States Census Bureau. "US demographic census". Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2007. ; the 1990 census gives 57.9 million, or 23.3% of the U.S. population. ^ Documentary History of the United States
United States
Brewers' Association.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.  ^ a b "Statistics Canada
2006". 2.statcan.ca. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.  ^ Tools of Progress: A German Merchant
Family in Mexico
City, 1865–present ISBN 978-0-826-33087-1 pp. ix-8 ^ How German is Mazatlan?, tripadvisor.co.uk ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites ISBN 978-0-801-89657-6 p. 144 ^ a b c d "IPOL realizará formação de recenseadores para o censo linguístico do município de Antônio Carlos-SC IPOL". E-ipol.org. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Legislative Assembly of the state of Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo
(Commissioner for Culture and Social Communication – Addition to the constitutional amendment number 11/2009 establishing the East Pomeranian dialect as well as German as cultural heritage of the state" (PDF). Claudiovereza.files.wordpress.com. February 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ Gippert, Jost. "TITUS Didactica: German Dialects
(map)". titus.uni-frankfurt.de.  ^ "Pommern in Brasilien – LernCafe – Online-Journal zur allgemeinen Weiterbildung". www.lerncafe.de.  ^ Holm, John A. (1989). "Pidgins and Creoles: Volume 2, Reference Survey" (1st ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 616. ISBN 0-521-35940-6. Retrieved 12 June 2016.  ^ a b "Deutsch als Fremdsprache weltweit. Datenerhebung 2015 – Worldwide survey of people learning German; conducted by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Goethe Institute" (PDF). Goethe.de. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ Знание иностранных языков в России [Knowledge of foreign languages in Russia] (in Russian). Levada Centre. 16 September 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.  ^ "Foreign Language
Enrollments in K–12 Public Schools" (PDF). American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). February 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2015.  ^ von Polenz, Peter (1999). "6.5. Inter- und übernationale Beziehungen". Deutsche Sprachgeschichte vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. de Gruyter Studienbuch (in German). Band III: 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter. pp. 192–194, 196. ISBN 3-11-016426-4. Retrieved 21 August 2014.  ^ Ulrich Ammon, Hans Bickel, Jakob Ebner, et al.: Variantenwörterbuch des Deutschen. Die Standardsprache in Österreich, der Schweiz und Deutschland sowie in Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Ostbelgien und Südtirol. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin
2004. ^ "Sprachen, Religionen – Daten, Indikatoren: Sprachen – Üblicherweise zu Hause gesprochene Sprachen" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2015. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016. Zu Hause oder mit den Angehörigen sprechen 60,1% der betrachteten Bevölkerung hauptsächlich Schweizerdeutsch, 23,4% Französisch, 8,4% Italienisch, 10,1% Hochdeutsch und 4,6% Englisch  ^ nl:Nederduits ^ some of which might be reborrowings from Germanic Frankish ^ This phenomenon is known as Denglisch
in German or as Germish
or Denglish in English. ^ Uwe Pörksen, German Academy for Language
and Literature’s Jahrbuch [Yearbook] 2007 (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2008, pp. 121–130) ^ Verein Deutsche Sprache e.V. "Verein Deutsche Sprache e.V. – Der Anglizismen-Index". Vds-ev.de. Retrieved 15 March 2010.  ^ Note that menschlich, and occasionally human, may also mean "human, pertaining to humans," whereas Menschlichkeit and Humanität never mean "humanity, human race," which translates to Menschheit. ^ "Ein Hinweis in eigener Sache". Wortschatz.informatik.uni-leipzig.de. 7 January 2003. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2010.  ^ Gerhard Weiss (1995). "Up-to-Date and with a Past: The "Duden" and Its History". Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German. Wiley. 6 (1: The Publisher as Teacher): 7–21. doi:10.2307/3531328. JSTOR 3531328.  ^ Zur Definition und sprachwissenschaftlichen Abgrenzung insbesondere: Rudolf Muhr, Richard Schrodt, Peter Wiesinger (Hrsg.): Österreichisches Deutsch – Linguistische, sozialpsychologische und sprachpolitische Aspekte einer nationalen Variante des Deutschen (PDF, 407 Seiten; 1,3 MB) Archived 14 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Verlag Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, Wien 1995. Anm.: Diese Publikation entstand aus den Beiträgen der Tagung „Österreichisches Deutsch“, die mit internationalen Sprachwissenschaftlern an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
vom 22. bis 24. Mai 1995 stattfand ^ Ha, Thu-Huong. " Germany
has ended a century-long debate over a missing letter in its alphabet". Retrieved 5 December 2017. According to the council’s 2017 spelling manual: When writing the uppercase [of ß], write SS. It’s also possible to use the uppercase ẞ. Example: Straße — STRASSE — STRAẞE.  ^ Adolf Reinecke, Die deutsche Buchstabenschrift: ihre Entstehung und Entwicklung, ihre Zweckmäßigkeit und völkische Bedeutung, Leipzig, Hasert, 1910 ^ Facsimile of Bormann's Memorandum (in German) The memorandum itself is typed in Antiqua, but the NSDAP
letterhead is printed in Fraktur. "For general attention, on behalf of the Führer, I make the following announcement: It is wrong to regard or to describe the so-called Gothic script as a German script. In reality, the so-called Gothic script consists of Schwabach Jew letters. Just as they later took control of the newspapers, upon the introduction of printing the Jews residing in Germany
took control of the printing presses and thus in Germany
the Schwabach Jew letters were forcefully introduced. Today the Führer, talking with Herr Reichsleiter Amann and Herr Book Publisher Adolf Müller, has decided that in the future the Antiqua script is to be described as normal script. All printed materials are to be gradually converted to this normal script. As soon as is feasible in terms of textbooks, only the normal script will be taught in village and state schools. The use of the Schwabach Jew letters by officials will in future cease; appointment certifications for functionaries, street signs, and so forth will in future be produced only in normal script. On behalf of the Führer, Herr Reichsleiter Amann will in future convert those newspapers and periodicals that already have foreign distribution, or whose foreign distribution is desired, to normal script". ^ Kapr, Albert (1993). Fraktur: Form und Geschichte der gebrochenen Schriften. Mainz: H. Schmidt. p. 81. ISBN 3-87439-260-0.  ^ "Mittelschulvorbereitung Deutsch". Mittelschulvorbereitung.ch. Retrieved 15 March 2010.  ^ For a history of the German consonants see Fausto Cercignani, The Consonants of German: Synchrony and Diachrony, Milano, Cisalpino, 1979. ^ "Gestalt". Duden / Bibliographisches Institut GmbH. 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-20. mittelhochdeutsch gestalt = Aussehen, Beschaffenheit; Person, Substantivierung von: gestalt, althochdeutsch gistalt, 2. Partizip von stellen.  ^ "Learning German, Experiencing Culture – Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 24 January 2012.  ^ "Verein Deutsche Sprache e.V." Vds-ev.de. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  ^ "Who we are". DW.DE. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 


^ The status of Low German
Low German
as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.[5] ^ The status of Luxembourgish
as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.[2] ^ The status of Plautdietsch
as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.[5]


Fausto Cercignani, The Consonants of German: Synchrony and Diachrony, Milano, Cisalpino, 1979. Michael Clyne, The German Language
in a Changing Europe
(1995) ISBN 0-521-49970-4 George O. Curme, A Grammar
of the German Language
(1904, 1922) – the most complete and authoritative work in English Durrell, M (2006). "Germanic Languages". In Brown, Keith. Encyclopedia of language & linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 53–55. doi:10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/02189-1. ISBN 978-0-08-044299-0. Retrieved 6 February 2015. Lay summary (6 February 2015).  – via ScienceDirect (Subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries.) Anthony Fox, The Structure of German (2005) ISBN 0-19-927399-5 Harbert, Wayne (2007). The Germanic Languages. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511755071. ISBN 978-0-521-01511-0. Retrieved 26 February 2015. Lay summary – Language
(journal of the Linguistic Society of America) (26 February 2015).  König, Ekkehard; van der Auwera, Johan, eds. (1994). The Germanic Languages. Routledge Language
Family Descriptions. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-28079-2. Retrieved 26 February 2015. Lay summary (26 February 2015).  The survey of the Germanic branch languages includes chapters by Winfred P. Lehmann, Ans van Kemenade, John Ole Askedal, Erik Andersson, Neil Jacobs, Silke Van Ness, and Suzanne Romaine. W.B. Lockwood, German Today: The Advanced Learner's Guide (1987) ISBN 0-19-815850-5 Ruth H. Sanders. German: Biography of a Language
(Oxford University Press; 2010) 240 pages. Combines linguistic, anthropological, and historical perspectives in a "biography" of German in terms of six "signal events" over millennia, including the Battle of Kalkriese, which blocked the spread of Latin-based language north.

External links[edit]

Find more aboutGerman languageat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons Quotations from Wikiquote Textbooks from Wikibooks Travel guide from Wikivoyage Learning resources from Wikiversity Data from Wikidata

German edition of Wikisource, the free library

German edition of, the free encyclopedia

Texts on Wikisource:

"German Language". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  Mark Twain, The Awful German Language, 1880 Carl Schurz, The German Mothertongue, 1897 "Germany, Language
and Literature of". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. 

German (language) at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Duden, the de-facto official German dictionary Leo, free online German dictionary Translation of German words and expressions Free online and offline dictionaries for the study of German Dissemination of the German language
German language
in Europe
around 1913 (map, 300 dpi)

v t e

Languages of Germany

Official langage

Standard German

Regional/Minority languages


Danish Frisian

North Saterland

Low German Romani Sorbian

Upper Lower


Alemannic Bavarian German Sign Language Limburgish Low Rhenish Luxembourgish Ripuarian

v t e

Languages of Austria

Official language

Austrian German
Austrian German
(see also German)

Regional languages

Croatian Czech Hungarian Romani Slovak Slovene

Unofficial dialects

Alemannic Austro-Bavarian

Sign languages

Austrian Sign Language

See Also: Minority languages of Austria

v t e

Languages of Switzerland

Official languages

French German Italian Romansh

Major dialect groups

Lombard Romand Sinte Swiss German

Sign languages

Swiss-German Sign French Sign Italian Sign

v t e

Languages of South Africa

Pan South African Language
Board Commission for Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Community Rights Department of Arts and Culture


West Germanic

Afrikaans English

Southern Bantu


Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa) Southern Sotho (Sesotho) Tswana (Setswana)


Southern Ndebele (isiNdebele) Swazi (siSwati) Xhosa (isiXhosa) Zulu (isiZulu)


Tsonga (Xitsonga)


Venda (Tshivenḓa)

Recognised unofficial languages mentioned in the 1996 constitution


Bhaca Khoi Lala Lozi Nama Nhlangwini Northern Ndebele Phuthi San Tuu


German Greek Gujarati Hindi Portuguese Malay (historical) Tamil Telugu Urdu


Arabic Hebrew Sanskrit


LGBT slang

Gayle IsiNgqumo


Tsotsitaal and Camtho Oorlams Creole Fanagalo Pretoria Sotho Scamto SA Sign Language

v t e

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and dialects

West Germanic

Anglo- Frisian



dialects Yola Fingallian



East Frisian

Saterland Frisian Wangerooge Frisian Wursten Frisian

North Frisian

Söl'ring Fering Öömrang Heligolandic Mooring Halligen Frisian Strand Frisian Eiderstedt Frisian

West Frisian

Clay Frisian Wood Frisian

Low German

East Low German

Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian

Mecklenburgish West Pomeranian

Brandenburgisch East Pomeranian-West Prussian

Western East Pomeranian Eastern East Pomeranian Bublitzisch Pommerellisch

Central Pomeranian

West Central Pomeranian

Low Prussian

Low German

West Low German

Dutch Low Saxon

Stellingwarfs Tweants Gronings Drèents Gelders-Overijssels

Achterhooks Sallaans Urkers


Northern Low Saxon

East Frisian Low Saxon Schleswigsch Holsteinisch Hamburgisch Ollnborger North Hanoveranian Dithmarsch Emsländisch

Westphalian Eastphalian

Low Franconian

Standard variants

Dutch Afrikaans

West Low Franconian

Hollandic West Flemish

French Flemish

Zeelandic East Flemish Brabantian Surinamese Dutch Jersey Dutch Mohawk Dutch Stadsfries Bildts Yiddish

East Low Franconian



Southeast Limburgish

South Guelderish


Low Dietsch

High German



Namibian German Namibian Black German Brazilian German Unserdeutsch Barossa German Belgranodeutsch Parana Volga German


Eastern Western Litvish Poylish Ukrainish Galitzish Scots Yiddish Alsatian Yiddish Klezmer-loshn Ganovim Balagole Katsoves Lachoudisch

Yenish Rotwelsch


Central German

West Central German

Central Franconian



Moselle Franconian

Luxembourgish Transylvanian Saxon Hunsrückisch


Lorraine Franconian Palatine

Volga German Pennsylvania



East Central German

Thuringian Upper Saxon Lusatian-Neumarkish


Silesian High Prussian Wymysorys Pragerisch

High Franconian

South Franconian East Franconian

Main Franconian Vogtlandian

Upper German


Low Alemannic

Alsatian Coloniero

High Alemannic

Swiss German

Highest Alemannic

Walser German



Northern Bavarian Central Bavarian

Viennese German

Southern Bavarian

South Tyrolean Cimbrian Mòcheno Hutterite German


Standard German

German Standard German Austrian Standard German Swiss Standard German

North Germanic

West Scandinavian



Bergensk Kebabnorsk Sognamål Trøndersk Valdris Vestlandsk Vikværsk


Elfdalian Insular Scandinavian

Faroese Icelandic Gronlandsk Norn

East Scandinavian


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Stockholm Rinkeby Uppländska Västgötska Westrobothnian


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