German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union – ahead of Spanish, French and even English. It is the official language in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein and one of the official languages in Switzerland and Luxembourg. German ranks 11th in the list of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
WHERE IS IT SPOKEN?
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IN Germany
NUMBER OF SPEAKERS
AROUND 140 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE
THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT GERMAN
1. Words that exist only in German
Some terms exist in no other language. For example, "fremdschämen" refers to shame felt on another person’s behalf. And "Fernweh" (having the travel bug, lusting after adventure) is the opposite of “Heimweh (homesickness).
2. English and German are sister languages
Like English and Dutch, German forms part of the West Germanic languages. When English speakers learn German, they will have the consolation of finding a lot of words that are similar in both languages. Be careful though, there are some sneaky words that look and sound the same but have totally different meanings. The German word ‘gift’ for example, means poison.
3. German has some bizarre and hilarious proverbs
Some of our favourites German proverbs are Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei (everything has an end, only sausage has two), Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (I only understand train station) whose English counterpart would be ‘It’s all Greek to me’ and the most delightful saying, Das ist nicht dein Bier! (that is not your beer!) which means ‘none of your business!’