German language

Template:Infobox language 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 Eastern 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).

In German writing, every noun must start with a capital letter. English and Danish also did this long ago, but not now. Today, German is the only language that has this rule.

While German is an official language in Switzerland, the Swiss dialect of German is difficult for native speakers from Germany, and even for Swiss who are not native to speaking German, to understand. One reason why the dialects are still so different today is that even though Switzerland adopted Standard German, mostly as a written standard, German Swiss in WWII wanted to separate themselves from the Nazis by choosing to speak the Swiss dialect over the standard dialect.[1] Swiss German also has some differences in writing, for example, the letter ß, which is only seen in German, is always replaced by ss.



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's up?
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., Ms.
Herr Mr.


  1. "Languages of Switzerland". YouTube.


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