Interesting Facts About German Language



Facts About German Language That You Didn’t Know Before

German is an amazing language with a very rich history. There are so many interesting things that we still don’t know about it. The time has come to change the situation and dig a little bit deeper. If you are learning German, want to learn it as you are tired to translate english to german online or simply curious about this amazing language then this article is definitely for you.

Down below you will discover the most interesting facts about this language. Let’s find out more about German right now!

Here are some amazing facts about this language that you probably didn’t know.

  1. It’s the 11th most widely spoken language in the world.

If you think that German is only used in Germany then you are so mistaken. This is the 11th most widely spoken language in the world. In fact, 1.4% of people in the world speak German. There are approximately 95 millions of native speakers throughout the world and so many people who are learning it ( almost 290 million) as the second language. German is the most widespread language in the EU and it’s an official language of such countries like Germany, Austria as well as one of the national languages of Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland.

  1. English and German are related.

Did you know that both German and English refer to West Germanic language group? It’s much easier for English speaking people to learn the German language as they will find lots of similar words that will be easier to memorize. German and English languages share almost 60% of their vocabularies. However, there are some words that sound likewise but have completely different meaning.

  1. In German there are three genders.

Usually, there are two genders which are male and female. It’s already challenging for English speakers and German language will be even more difficult as it has 3 genders. There is one additional neutral gender for a noun. This is a grammar notion which doesn’t refer to an actual gender (if it’s a person, for example).

  1. Each noun is capitalized.

It might seem a little bit weird to us, but all German nouns are capitalized. It’s obligatory and if you read a newspaper you will see many words starting with capital letters. There are no exceptions to this rule.

  1. German includes one additional consonant.

In German, there is one unique consonant that the English language doesn’t have despite the fact that Latin alphabet is used for both languages. The letter “ß” is also called “Eszett” and represents double “s”. One more interesting thing about this letter is that it’s never found in the beginning of a word. For some words you can substitute this consonant with “ss” in writing but for some words it will change the meaning.

  1. The first ever printed book was in German

Johannes Gutenberg is considered as an inventor of a movable type. In 1454 the first printed book appeared. It’s called Gutenberg Bible and this book was printed with a movable type. This book is the earliest major book printed in Europe. It was an edition of Latin Bible called Vulgata and it was printed in the city Mainz.

  1. The longest word in the world is in German.

Compound words are pretty common for German language. That’s why it can be very challenging for foreigners it terms of pronouncing, writing and memorizing these words. The longest word in German had 63 letters “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz”. The word was so difficult to pronounce even for native speakers so now it’s obsolete. One of the longest words in German is a neologism “Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung”.

  1. Some German words don’t have the direct translation.

There are a lot of words that exist only in German and you won’t find a direct correspondence to it in another language. The only way to translate it is to explain the meaning with the descriptive method. These usually refer to common universal feelings and emotions people experience. Here are some great examples:

  • fremdschämen – shame that you feel on someone’s behalf;
  • fernweh – craving for adventures;
  • schadenfreude – enjoyment from seeing other people or creatures suffer;
  • kummerspeck – eating to make yourself feel better.
  1. Translator’s false friends.

Here are some top words in German that have exact same spelling like English words but have a completely different meaning. Don’t mix it up to avoid confusion:

  • German word “gift” stands for “poison”;
  • German “handy” – cell phone;
  • German “mist” – feces;
  • German “after” – anus.
  1. German varies from region to region.

Depending in which part of Germany you are located the dialect might vary. Sometimes German people can get troubles with understanding one another because of these differences. Bavarian dialect is known for its peculiarities that most German people don’t know so misunderstandings may occur.

  1. German alphabet used to be different.

Another interesting fact to know about the German language is that until the middle 20th century the German language has been using Fraktur script which is a calligraphic hand of Latin alphabet. The gothic calligraphy was used starting from 16th century till the end of the World War II.

Final Thoughts

It’s astonishing how little we know about world’s languages. Hope you enjoyed the article and found lots of interesting information about German language in particular. It’s very good to know these facts if you are learning the language or just to satisfy your curiosity and tell your friends this amazing info you have just discovered. Get inspired and start learning this great language right now!