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German

Native name: deutsch ()
ISO Code: deu
Family: Indo-European
Est. L1 speakers: 95,000,000
Est. L2 speakers: 15,000,000
Est. total speakers: 110,000,000
(Co-)official in:
  1. European Union

Profile

Having lost much of its international and scientific prestige following WWII, German is slowly but steadily regaining its status, nowadays less as the language of science and technology (this spot having been taken by English) and more as the language behind the economic engine of Europe. It is spoken by roughly 100 million people – mainly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – and used as a regional / inter-cultural language in a host of other European countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

While it belongs to the same linguistic group as English, and is quite obviously related to it, German is not considered to be a particularly easy language to learn for native English speakers. Though the shock of seeing long, composite words wears off rather quickly, much of the real difficulty resides in the noun case system, which English did away with while German retained. Some researchers have estimated that learning to speak German fluently will require 20%-30% more time compared to, say, Spanish or French.

If you decide to brave it, learning German will open many doors and bring many professional opportunities – especially if you are planning to study, live, or work in Europe at some point in your life.

News, Essays & Blog Posts (3 / 4)

How I learned to speak German in 3 Months
By: Benny Lewis at Fluent in 3 Months F3M   Published: 26/Aug/2010
Languages: German

Back in 2010, I went from a beginner level to near mastery in German in just 3 months. But I’m not a language genius, or a natural with languages. »

Are Germans Rude? Killing the Stereotypes
By: Benny Lewis at Fluent in 3 Months F3M   Published: 05/Aug/2010
Languages: German Cities: Berlin

Rather than learning languages for academic or professional reasons, I do it to vastly improve my travel experience by allowing me to socialise almost entirely with residents of the country I am visiting. Even though all the studying I did in for my exam in Berlin prevented me from socialising as much as I would have liked, after spending four months there I can say that I have a better understanding of German (and in particular Berlin) culture, and I am ready to challenge the silly stereotypes that too many people have of the Germans and the German language. »

German Articles (4) »

Where German Is Spoken

Well-Known Non-Native Speakers

Leonardo DiCaprio (actor), Natalie Portman (actress), Sandra Bullock (actress), Vladimir Putin (politician), Michael Fassbender (actor), Kim Cattrall (actress)