German Language Facts

Interesting German Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning German it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting German language facts:

1. German is part of the West Germanic languages, along with English and Dutch

With what is today’s Germany being divided up into numerous small states for centuries, German was standardised primarily by its literature, as writers sought to be understood by as many readers as possible. As Germany’s unification started during the 19th century, standards were adopted. The Deutsches Wörterbuch, today’s largest German dictionary in existence, was begun by the Brothers Grimm in 1838.

2. German is spoken by 95 million native speakers worldwide

German is the European Union’s most widely spoken native language. German Sprachraum refers to the Central Europe German-speaking area, which includes Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is also an official language in South Tyrol (Italy), Belgium and Luxembourg, and a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Namibia.

3. German is famous for its extensive use of long words

Some German words are so long that the longest German word is now obsolete: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning “the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef”, has been deemed too unpractical for bureaucrats.

4. German has its own unique words which can’t be translated in other languages

Like most languages. Useful examples include:

  • Luftschloss: this word literally means “castle in the sky” and is used to describe someone’s unrealistic dream.
  • Blaumachen: similar to the expression “Blue Monday”, this words means ditching school or work.
  • Heimat: both a positive word and a very German concept, it describes the relationship between a person and his/her homeland.

5. Until the mid-20th century, German was written using a different script of the Latin alphabet

The script was called the Fraktur script. This form of Gothic script was introduced in the 16th century and remained in use until the Second World War.

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German Courses

An excellent way to improve your German language skills is by taking a group German language course with Cactus. We offer German languages courses online and face-to-face in over 10 locations across the UK.

Private Tuition

Cactus offers a range of options for German private tuition. You can choose one-to-one classes if you prefer online and tailored German lessons that suit your schedule and location. For more information please visit our private tuition and corporate language training division.

German Immersion Courses

An excellent way to improve your language skills is by taking a German immersive language course in the country where the language is spoken. Cactus offers courses in many cities across Germany.

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