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 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. German is also spoken in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia.
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).
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. Swiss German also has some differences in writing, for example, the letter ß, which is only seen in German, is always replaced by ss.
- Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2010" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin
- 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]
- "Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung – Über den Rat". Rechtschreibrat.ids-mannheim.de. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "High Franconian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Upper German". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- "Languages of Switzerland". YouTube.
- The status of Low German as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.
- The status of Luxembourgish as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.
- The status of Plautdietsch as a German variety or separate language is subject to discussion.
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