The Duden has become the bible of the German language, being the definitive set of rules regarding grammar, spelling and usage of German. It is the Austrian counterpart to the German Duden and contains a number of terms unique to Austrian German or more frequently used or differently pronounced there. The most recent edition is the 42nd from The dictionary is also officially used in the Italian province of South Tyrol.
This is a selection of cognates in both English and German. Instead of the usual infinitive ending -en German verbs are indicated by a hyphen "-" after their stems.
Words that are written with capital letters in German are nouns. German is written in the Latin alphabet.
Because legibility and convenience set certain boundaries, compounds consisting of more than three or four nouns are almost exclusively found in humorous contexts. In contrast, although English can also string nouns together, it usually separates the nouns with spaces. For example, "toilet bowl cleaner". Some operating systems use key sequences to extend the set of possible characters to include, amongst other things, umlauts; in Microsoft Windows this is done using Alt codes. German readers understand these transcriptions although they appear unusual , but they are avoided if the regular umlauts are available because they are a makeshift, not proper spelling.
In Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, city and family names exist where the extra e has a vowel lengthening effect, e. There is no general agreement on where letters with umlauts occur in the sorting sequence. Telephone directories treat them by replacing them with the base vowel followed by an e. Some dictionaries sort each umlauted vowel as a separate letter after the base vowel, but more commonly words with umlauts are ordered immediately after the same word without umlauts.
These variants of the Latin alphabet are very different from the serif or sans-serif Antiqua typefaces used today, and the handwritten forms in particular are difficult for the untrained to read. The printed forms, however, were claimed by some to be more readable when used for Germanic languages.
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The Nazis initially promoted Fraktur and Schwabacher because they were considered Aryan , but they abolished them in , claiming that these letters were Jewish. The Fraktur script however remains present in everyday life in pub signs, beer brands and other forms of advertisement, where it is used to convey a certain rusticality and antiquity. Many Antiqua typefaces include the long s also. A specific set of rules applies for the use of long s in German text, but nowadays it is rarely used in Antiqua typesetting. The long s only appears in lower case. The orthography reform of led to public controversy and considerable dispute.
After 10 years, without any intervention by the federal parliament, a major revision was installed in , just in time for the coming school year.
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In , some traditional spellings were finally invalidated, whereas in , on the other hand, many of the old comma rules were again put in force. Traditionally, this letter was used in three situations:. In German, vowels excluding diphthongs; see below are either short or long , as follows:. In general, the short vowels are open and the long vowels are close.
Whether any particular vowel letter represents the long or short phoneme is not completely predictable, although the following regularities exist:. Both of these rules have exceptions e. For an i that is neither in the combination ie making it long nor followed by a double consonant or cluster making it short , there is no general rule. In some cases, there are regional differences: In central Germany Hessen , the o in the proper name "Hoffmann" is pronounced long, whereas most other Germans would pronounce it short; the same applies to the e in the geographical name " Mecklenburg " for people in that region.
With approximately 26 phonemes, the German consonant system exhibits an average number of consonants in comparison with other languages. The consonant inventory of the standard language is shown below.
German does not have any dental fricatives as English th. The th sounds, which the English language still has, disappeared on the continent in German with the consonant shifts between the 8th and the 10th centuries. The German language is used in German literature and can be traced back to the Middle Ages , with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied , whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century became famous throughout the world.
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Reformer and theologian Martin Luther , who was the first to translate the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. English has taken many loanwords from German, often without any change of spelling aside from, often, the elimination of umlauts and not capitalizing nouns :. The government-backed Goethe-Institut  named after the famous German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe aims to enhance the knowledge of German culture and language within Europe and the rest of the world.
This is done by holding exhibitions and conferences with German-related themes, and providing training and guidance in the learning and use of the German language. The Dortmund-based Verein Deutsche Sprache VDS , which was founded in , supports the German language and is the largest language association of citizens in the world. The VDS has more than thirty-five thousand members in over seventy countries. Its founder, statistics professor Dr.
The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle is the equivalent of the British BBC World Service and provides radio and television broadcasts in German and 30 other languages across the globe. Deutsche Welle also provides an e-learning website to learn German. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
West Germanic language. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. For other uses, see Deutsch disambiguation and German disambiguation. Not to be confused with Germanic languages. Language family. German Standard German. Austrian Standard German. Writing system. Signed forms. Co- Official and majority language. Co-official, but not majority language. Non-statutory minority language. Main article: History of German. Main article: Old High German. Old Frisian Alt-Friesisch.
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Old Alemannic Alt-Alemannisch. Old Bavarian Alt-Bairisch. Main article: Middle High German. Main article: Early New High German. Main article: Geographical distribution of German speakers. Germany Austria 8. Switzerland 5. Italy South Tyrol 0. Other 7.
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German is a co-official language, but not the first language of the majority of the population. German or a variety of German is spoken by a sizeable minority, but has no legal recognition.