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German language facts

  • Every 10th book published worldwide is in German language!

  • Due to its feudal history, unification and standardization of German language was not brought about till the 18th century when many outstanding writers (Goethe, Schiller,…) took great pains to form the language.

Some characteristics of German language

  • German is fond of lengthy compounds: i.e. 'history of language' translates as 'Sprachgeschichte'

  • All nouns are capitalized

  • Formal / informal address
    Deference and politeness is expressed by the switch between formal 'Sie' (3rd person plural) and informal 'du' (2nd person singular).

  • Inflection, declination and grammatical gender are important features of German grammar

  • Written German uses several letters in addition to the 26 letters used in the English alphabet: ä, ö, ü (called umlauts) and ß
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