German is among the most spoken languages across the world, and is the native tongue of multiple countries in Europe.
However, with so many people based in Germany having such a good knowledge of English, why is it so important to learn to speak German. Moreover, what are the best techniques to adopt when trying to get up to speed with this powerful language?
Well, if you don’t go through the process of learning this rather intriguing language then there are many (what can only be described as) weird and wonderful things that you will miss out on! Just take a look at these fascinating facts, for example, to get an idea of why learning German is so worthwhile.
1. While Germany is said to be one of the top ten spoken languages across Europe, it is at the same time the number one mother tongue language on the continent. How is this possible, you ask? German is often the first language of habitants in various countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and even parts of Belgium and Slovakia.
2. The German language has not two, but three different genders! There are feminine and masculine nouns, just like in languages such as French, however the Germans additionally have neutral words for things like objects with no defined gender.
3. Although Germany is one hour ahead of GMT, you might be fooled into thinking that it is in the same time zone as the UK if you happen to ask a local what the time is. This is because the Germans say it is half two when it is actually 1.30pm. Though it might seem a bit odd, this is again quite a logical approach as some would argue that it is in fact only half way through the second hour of the afternoon.
Don’t get confused – learn how the Germans tell the time differently to us! Photo via Visual hunt
4. The German alphabet has more than 26 consonants. This is due to additional official letters like ‘ß’, which creates a sound similar to ‘ss’ in English. Other distinctive features are the letter-diacritic combinations it uses, i.e. the two dots above vowels to indicate a shift in pronunciation.
5. The German language is known for its incredibly long words, which emerge as a result of compound words adjoining eachother like a domino effect.
6. Germany shares more than 60% of its vocabulary with English, as opposed to French which shares less than 30%. Is it therefore safe to say that these figures mean you are already a proficient German speaker before you even start learning? Maybe not, but at least it means you’re well on your way!
Whether you decide to attend a beginners’ class, take the subject at school or to try to teach yourself, there are of course some basics you must master first. Be top of your class from the offset by following sone of these helpful tips!