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German language

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native toPrimarily German-speaking Europe, also in the worldwide German-speaking diaspora
Native speakers
90 million (2010)[1] to 95 million (2014)[2]
L2 speakers: 10–15 million (2014)[2]
Early forms
Standard forms
Latin (German alphabet)
German Braille
Signed German, LBG
(Lautsprachbegleitende / Lautbegleitende Gebärden)
Official status
Official language in

Several international institutions
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byNo official regulation
(German orthography regulated by the Council for German Orthography[3]).
Language codes
ISO 639-1de
ISO 639-2ger (B)
deu (T)
ISO 639-3Variously:
deu – German
gmh – Middle High German
goh – Old High German
gct – Colonia Tovar German
bar – Bavarian
cim – Cimbrian
geh – Hutterite German
ksh – Kölsch
nds – Low German[a]
sli – Lower Silesian
ltz – Luxembourgish[b]
vmf – Mainfränkisch
mhn – Mócheno
pfl – Palatinate German
pdc – Pennsylvania German
pdt – Plautdietsch[c]
swg – Swabian German
gsw – Swiss German
uln – Unserdeutsch
sxu – Upper Saxon
wae – Walser German
wep – Westphalian
hrx – Riograndenser Hunsrückisch
yec – Yenish
Glottologhigh1287  High Franconian
uppe1397  Upper German
further information
52-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-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
  (Co-)Official and majority language
  Co-official, but not majority language
  Statutory minority/cultural language
  Non-statutory minority language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

German (German: Deutsch) is a West Germanic language. 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 first language. There are some people who speak German in Belgium, the Netherlands, 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. It is also spoken in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia.

German is a part of the West Germanic language family and is much like English and Dutch. Much of the vocabulary in German is related to English, but the grammar is more complicated.[4]

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"), and "Someone called me last night" is Jemand hat mich letzte Nacht angerufen ("Someone has me last night called").

In writing, every noun must start with a capital letter. German is the only language that still has that rule, but Danish and English did so a long time ago.

Standard German is an official language in Switzerland, but the Swiss dialect of German is difficult to understand for native speakers from Germany and even for Swiss who are not native to speaking German.[5] One reason that the dialects are still so different today is that even if Switzerland adopted Standard German, mostly as a written standard, German Swiss in World War II wanted to separate themselves from the Nazis by choosing to speak dialect over the Standard German.[6]

Swiss German also has some differences in spelling, for example, the letter ß, which is used only in German, is replaced by ss.

Dialects[change | change source]

German numbers[change | change source]

German numbers are similar to their English counterparts. Like most languages, the German number system is based mainly on the first 10 numbers. They will pop up over and over throughout all the higher numbers.

English German
1 Eins
2 Zwei
3 Drei
4 Vier
5 Fünf
6 Sechs
7 Sieben
8 Acht
9 Neun
10 Zehn

References[change | change source]

  1. Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2010" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ammon, Ulrich (November 2014). Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (in German) (1st ed.). Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8. Retrieved 24 July 2015.[page needed]
  3. "Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung – Über den Rat". Rechtschreibrat.ids-mannheim.de. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  4. Up, Topics. "Japanese vs German". Archived from the original on 2023-05-31.
  5. "German Numbers: Learn To Count From 0 To 1,000+". Language Throne. 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  6. "Languages of Switzerland". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-09-09.


  1. The status of Low German as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.
  2. The status of Luxembourgish as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.[2]
  3. The status of Plautdietsch as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.

Other websites[change | change source]