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German language

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Deutsch, Deutsche Sprache
Native toPrimarily in German-speaking Europe, as a minority language and amongst the German diaspora worldwide
Native speakersStandard German: 90–100 million  (2005–2010)[1][2]
all German: 120 million (1990–2005)[3]
L2 speakers: 80 million (2006)[4]
Language family
Early forms:
Writing systemLatin (German alphabet)
German Braille
Official status
Official language in European Union
(official and working language)

South Tyrol (Italy)

 Belgium (German-speaking Community of Belgium)
Recognised minority language in Czech Republic[6][7]

 Italy (Trentino)

 Namibia (National language; official language 1984–90)[11][12]
 Poland (Auxiliary language)[13]
 Slovakia (Official municipal language of Krahule/Blaufuß)[4][16]
 Brazil (Co-official municipal language in Pomerode and other municipalities)[17]
 Vatican City (Administrative and commanding language of the Swiss Guard)[18]
 Venezuela (Bandera Colonia Tovar.jpg Colonia Tovar)[19]
Regulated byNo official regulation
(German orthography regulated by the Council for German Orthography (Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung)[5]).
Language codes
ISO 639-1de
ISO 639-2ger (B)
deu (T)
ISO 639-3Variously:
deu – New High German
gmh – Middle High German
goh – Old High German
gct – Alemán Coloniero
bar – Austro-Bavarian
cim – Cimbrian
geh – Hutterite German
ksh – Kölsch
nds – Low German
sli – Lower Silesian
ltz – Luxembourgish
vmf – Main-Franconian
mhn – Mócheno
pfl – Palatinate German
pdc – Pennsylvania German
pdt – Plautdietsch
swg – Swabian German
gsw – Swiss German
uln – Unserdeutsch
sxu – Upper Saxon
wae – Walser German
wep – Westphalian
Linguasphere52-AC (Continental West Germanic) > 52-ACB (Deutsch & Dutch) >
52-ACB-d (Central German incl. 52-ACB–dl & -dm Standard/Generalised High German) + 52-ACB-e & -f (Upper German & Swiss German) + 52-ACB-g (Yiddish) + 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
Map German World.png

The German language (German: Deutsch or (die) deutsche Sprache) is a West Germanic language in the Indo-European language family.

It is spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg; natively by around 100 million people. It is the most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union. There are some people who speak German in Belgium and in the Netherlands, as well as in France and Northern Italy. There are people who speak German in many countries, including the United States and Canada, where many people emigrated from Germany. In East Europe, too, in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, etc.

German is a part of the West Germanic language family (a group of languages that are similar) and is much like English and Dutch. A lot of the vocabulary in German is related to English, but the grammar is more complicated. German has a system of cases, and when helping verbs are used, the main part of the verb must be moved to the end of the sentence. For example, "Someone has stolen my car" is Jemand hat mein Auto gestohlen (Someone has my car stolen) or, "Someone called me last night" is Jemand hat mich letzte Nacht angerufen (Someone has me last night called).



Some German words with English translations

null zero, nil
eins one
zwei two
drei three
vier four
fünf five
sechs six
sieben seven
acht eight
neun nine
zehn ten
elf eleven
zwölf twelve
dreizehn thirteen
vierzehn fourteen
fünfzehn fifteen
sechzehn sixteen
siebzehn seventeen
achtzehn eighteen
neunzehn nineteen
zwanzig twenty
ja yes
nein no
ich I
du you (friendly)
er he
sie she
es it
wir we
ihr you (plural, friendly)
Sie you (polite)
sie they
Schweiz Switzerland
Österreich Austria
Deutschland Germany
wer who
wie how
wo where
was what
der the (masculine)
die the (feminine)
das the (neuter (neutral))

Basic German expressions

Guten Morgen Good morning
Guten Abend Good evening
Guten Tag "Hello" (meaning 'Good day', used between morning and evening)
Gute Nacht Good night
Wie geht es dir/Ihnen/euch? How are you?
Mir geht's gut, danke! I'm fine, thank you!
bitte please (can also mean "you are welcome" in response to some form of danke, but not literally)
danke Thank you
Auf Wiedersehen Goodbye
Ich heiße ... My name is ...
Wie heißt du/Wie heißen Sie What's your name?
Entschuldigung/Entschuldigen Sie Excuse me
Woher kommst du?/Woher kommen Sie? Where are you from?
Ich komme aus Deutschland/Österreich I'm from Germany/Austria
Wo wohnst du?/Wo wohnen Sie? Where do you live?
Was ist los? What is wrong?
Ich wohne in Hamburg, in der Marienstraße im Norden Hamburgs. I'm living in Hamburg, in the Marienstraße (Mary's street) in the north of Hamburg.
Hast du Lust auf Pizza? Ich mache gerade eine. Do you want to have a pizza? I'm preparing one.
Entschuldigen Sie. Wo ist der Bahnhof? Excuse me. Where is the train station?
Wie viel kostet dieser Pullover? How much is this pullover (sweater)?
Wie viel kostet diese Jeans? How much are these jeans?
Fräulein (generally obsolete German) Miss
Frau Mrs.
Herr Mr.

Other websites


  1. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2010" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010
  2. Marten, Thomas; Sauer, Fritz Joachim, eds. (2005) (in German). Länderkunde - Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz und Liechtenstein im Querschnitt [Regional Geography - An Overview of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein]. Berlin: Inform-Verlag. p. 7. ISBN 3-9805843-1-3 .
  3. "{{{title}}}". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16). (2009). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World. Willard, Ohio: R.R Donnelley & Sons Company. April 2006. pp. 257–299. ISBN Regular:0-7922-3662-9, 978-0-7922-3662-7. Deluxe: 0-7922-7976-X, 978-0-7922-7976-1 .
  5. "Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung - Über den Rat". Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  6. EUROPA - Allgemeine & berufliche Bildung - Regional- und Minderheitensprachen der Europäischen Union - Euromosaik-Studie
  7. EUROPA - Education and Training - Europa - Regional and minority languages - Euromosaïc study
  8. Support from the European Commission for measures to promote and safeguard regional or minority languages and cultures - The Euromosaic study: German in Denmark (engl.). Letzter Zugriff am 13. November 2009
  10. "KAZAKHSTAN: Special report on ethnic Germans". Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  11. "Deutsch in Namibia" (in German) (PDF). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
  12. "CIA World Fact book Profile: Namibia" Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  13. "Map on page of Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA)". Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  14. "SbZ - Deutsche Minderheit in Rumänien: "Zimmerpflanze oder Betreuungs-Objekt" - Informationen zu Siebenbürgen und Rumänien". Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  15. "Geschichte". Rusdeutsch.EU. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  16. EUROPA - Allgemeine & berufliche Bildung - Regional- und Minderheitensprachen der Europäischen Union - Euromosaik-Studie
  17. Leis Municipais
  18. Verein Deutsche Sprache e.V. (2006-06-15). "Wussten Sie, dass...". Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  19. Ethnologue report for Alemán Coloniero