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The Variety of the German Language

Nadine.jpg
Some people say that German is a difficult language. In terms of grammar, it is definitely not one of the easiest languages to learn as a second language. If your mother tongue is English you will encounter a lot of similarities concerning vocabulary, though, since both languages are Germanic languages.


As soon as you have the grammar down cold, it is so much fun to use the language because you can play with it a lot. One way to do so is to create your own words by linking different words together. Especially for expressions that are expressed with “of” in the middle, like for instance “contract of employment” would be “Arbeitsvertrag”. The funny thing about German is, that there is no limit to linking works. So you could create a word that is more than one line long, for example:
“DonauDAMPFschiffFAHRTsELEKTRIZITÄTENhauptBETRIEBsWERKbauUNTERb eamtenGESELLSCHAFT“
(a change of capitalization indicates a new word)
Of course, in everyday life people don’t use words that are that long but you might encounter words that are maybe half as long as this one.
Recent changes in the German language include the increased use of anglicisms. That means that English words are used in German sentences, that English job titles are used, and also that new words are invented that sound English but have nothing to do with the actual meaning. Therefore German people call cell phones “handy” and use the expression “public viewing” for public screening events without even knowing the actual meaning of these words in English.
Another interesting fact about the German language is that there are so many different dialects in comparison to the small size of the country. In the map you can see this variety.
karte Deutsche_Dialekte.PNG
It can be categorized into sub-dialects and dialects but the differences can be so severe that you might have a hard time understanding someone after driving one or two hours. These differences include vocabulary and sound. The kind of German that everyone knows and that is used in newspapers is called High German or Standard German.
Here you can look up and listen to the differences between High German and the Bavarian dialect, that is spoken in the region that I grew up in.

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