7 Facts About The German Language
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Ready to learn a few interesting facts about the German language?
1. German is the 11th most-spoken language worldwide, with over 100 million native speakers. In Europe it’s the #1 most common mother tongue, beating out Italian, French, Spanish, and even English. About 16% of the European population speaks German as a native language.
2. German is the official language in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein and one of the official languages in Switzerland and Luxembourg. It is also a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Namibia.
3. The German language consists of about 5.3 million words – with a rising trend. About one third of those words was added in the last 100 years. This means, the German language contains eight times as many words as the English language. Most people however use around 15,000 words on daily basis to make conversation in the language.
4. The German language once possessed a 63 letter word: rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. It means ‘the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef’. However it was considered too much of a mouthful, and made obsolete in 2013!
5. In English, only proper nouns like people’s names and the names of countries and cities are capitalized. In German every single noun is capitalized which makes it a lot easier
for new language learners to learn and identify.
6. German nouns have three different genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. While Old English used genders with its nouns, modern English doesn’t use gender at all. And most of the Romance languages only use two genders which are masculine and feminine.
7. Many people believe a language like French is more related to English, but French and English only share 27% of vocabulary, whereas German and English actually share 60%
of the same vocabulary. This actually means that if you are an English speaker, you are already half way there with speaking German!