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About The German Language

The German language, German Deutsch, is the official language of both Germany and Austria and one of the three official languages of Switzerland. German belongs to the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family, along with English, Frisian, and Dutch (Netherlandic, Flemish).

History Of The German Language

The first recorded history of the German language begins when first contact happened with the Romans in the 1st century BC. At that time and for a number of centuries after, there was only a single German language, with a few minor differences between the dialect.

Only after the 6th century AD, did the High German language come about. German is an inflected language that has four cases for nouns, pronouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative), three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) and strong and weak verbs.

German is now native with more than 90million speakers and ranks sixth in the world, after Chinese, English, Hindi-Urdu, Spanish and Russian. German is widely studied by many western countries as a secondary language of choice.

The written German language is very uniform and differs slightly depending on the country it’s used in, which is why it’s important to use a translator when translating German to English. Germany exists in many different dialects and it most commonly belongs to either the High German or Low German dialect groups.

High German

High German is a group of a group of dialects for which there was no standard literary language, was spoken until about 1100 in the highlands of southern Germany. During Middle High German times (after 1100), a standard language based on the Upper German dialects (Alemannic and Bavarian) in the southernmost part of the German speech area began to arise. Middle High German was the language of an extensive literature that includes the early 13th-century epic Nibelungenlied.

Modern standard High German is descended from the Middle High German dialects and is spoken in the central and southern highlands of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It is used as the language of administration, higher education, literature, and the mass media in the Low German speech area as well. Standard High German is based on, but not identical with, the Middle German dialect used by Martin Luther in his 16th-century translation of the Bible. Within the modern High German speech area, Middle and Upper German dialect groups are differentiated, the latter group including Austro-Bavarian, Alemannic (Swiss German), and High Franconian.

Low German

The Low German language, with no single modern literary standard, is the spoken language of the lowlands of northern Germany. It developed from Old Saxon and the Middle Low German speech of the citizens of the Hanseatic League. The language supplied the Scandinavian languages with many loanwords, but, with the decline of the league, Low German declined as well.

Although the numerous Low German dialects are still spoken in the homes of northern Germany and a small amount of literature is written in them, no standard Low German literary or administrative language exists.