Modern Standard German is mostly based on Central German, but it should be noted that the common but not linguistically correct German term for modern Standard German is Hochdeutsch , that is, High German. The Moselle Franconian varieties spoken in Luxembourg have been officially standardised and institutionalised and are therefore usually considered a separate language known as Luxembourgish.
They are spoken in parts of the Alsace, southern Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and Italy. The High German varieties spoken by Ashkenazi Jews mostly in the former Soviet Union have several unique features, and are usually considered as a separate language, Yiddish. It is the only Germanic language that does not use the Latin alphabet as its standard script. In German linguistics , German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German.
Template:German grammar German is an inflected language with three grammatical genders ; as such, there can be a large number of words derived from the same root, albeit, there are other languages that are much more inflected. German nouns inflect into:. Although German is usually cited as an outstanding example of a highly inflected language, the degree of inflection is considerably less than in Old High German or in other old Indo-European languages such as Latin , Ancient Greek , or Sanskrit , or, for instance, in modern Icelandic or Russian.
The three genders have collapsed in the plural, which now behaves, grammatically, somewhat as a fourth gender. Inflection for case on the noun itself is required in the singular for strong masculine and neuter nouns in the genitive and sometimes in the dative. Both of these cases are losing way to substitutes in informal speech. The dative ending is considered somewhat old-fashioned in many contexts and often dropped, but it is still used in sayings and in formal speech or in written language.
Weak masculine nouns share a common case ending for genitive, dative and accusative in the singular. Feminines are not declined in the singular. The plural does have an inflection for the dative. In total, seven inflectional endings not counting plural markers exist in German: -s, -es, -n, -ns, -en, -ens, -e. In the German orthography, nouns and most words with the syntactical function of nouns are capitalised, which is supposed to make it easier for readers to find out what function a word has within the sentence Am Freitag ging ich einkaufen.
Unlike English, where newer compounds or combinations of longer nouns are often written in open form with separating spaces, German like the other German languages nearly always uses the closed form without spaces, for example: Baumhaus Eng. Like English, German allows arbitrarily long compounds, but these are rare. See also English compounds. The meaning of base verbs can be expanded, and sometimes radically changed, through the use of any number of prefixes. Others do not have more than the vaguest meaning in and of themselves; the use of ver- is found in a number of verbs with a large variety of meanings, as in ver suchen to try , ver nehmen to interrogate , ver teilen to distribute , ver stehen to understand.
Many German verbs have a separable prefix, often with an adverbial function. In finite verb forms this is split off and moved to the end of the clause, and is hence considered by some to be a "resultative particle". For example, mitgehen meaning "to go along" would be split, giving Gehen Sie mit? Literal: "Go you with? Indeed, several parenthetical clauses may occur between the prefix of a finite verb and its complement; e. Word order is generally less rigid than in Modern English. There are two common word orders : one is for main clauses and another for subordinate clauses.
In normal affirmative sentences the inflected verb always has position 2. In polar questions, exclamations and wishes it always has position 1. In subordinate clauses the verb is supposed to occur at the very end, but in speech this rule is often disregarded. German requires that a verbal element main verb or auxiliary verb appear second in the sentence. The verb is preceded by the topic of the sentence. The element in focus appears at the end of the sentence. For a sentence without an auxiliary this gives, amongst other options:. The position of a noun in a German sentence has no bearing on its being a subject, an object, or another argument.
In a declarative sentence in English if the subject does not occur before the predicate the sentence could well be misunderstood. This is not the case in German. When an auxiliary verb is present, the auxiliary appears in second position, and the main verb appears at the end. This occurs notably in the creation of the perfect. Many word orders are still possible, e. Sentences using modal verbs place the infinitive at the end. For example, the sentence in Modern English "Should he go home?
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Thus in sentences with several subordinate or relative clauses the infinitives are clustered at the end. Compare the similar clustering of prepositions in the following English sentence: "What did you bring that book which I don't like to be read to out of up for? German subordinate clauses have all verbs clustered at the end. Given that auxiliaries encode future , passive , modality , and the perfect , this can lead to very long chains of verbs at the end of the sentence.
In these constructions, the past participle in ge- is often replaced by the infinitive. Man nimmt an, dass der Deserteur wohl erschossen V worden psv sein perf sollte mod One suspects that the deserter probably shot become be should "It is suspected that the deserter probably should have been shot".
The order at the end of such strings is subject to variation, though the latter version is unusual. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, although there are significant minorities of words derived from Latin and Greek , and a smaller amount from French  and most recently English.
Thus, Notker Labeo was able to translate Aristotelian treatises in pure Old High German in the decades after the year Overall, German has fewer Romance-language loanwords than English or even Dutch. The coining of new, autochthonous words gave German a vocabulary of an estimated 40, words as early as the ninth century.
In comparison, Latin, with a written tradition of nearly 2, years in an empire which ruled the Mediterranean, has grown to no more than 45, words today. Even today, many low-key non-academic movements try to promote the Ersatz substitution of virtually all foreign words with ancient, dialectal, or neologous German alternatives. The modern German scientific vocabulary has nine million words and word groups based on the analysis of 35 million sentences of a corpus in Leipzig, which as of July included million words in total.
German is written in the Latin alphabet. Written texts in German are easily recognisable as such by distinguishing features such as umlauts and certain orthographical features—German is the only major language that capitalizes all nouns—and the frequent occurrence of long compounds the longest German word is made of 63 characters.
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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 those transcriptions although they look unusual , but they are avoided if the regular umlauts are available because they are considered 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 these 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 particularly the handwritten forms are difficult for the untrained to read.
The printed forms however were claimed by some to be actually more readable when used for printing Germanic languages. The Fraktur script remains present in everyday life through road signs, pub signs, beer brands and other forms of advertisement, where it is used to convey a certain rusticality and oldness.
Many Antiqua typefaces include the long s , also. A specific set of rules applies for the use of long s in German text, but it is rarely used in Antiqua typesetting, recently. The long s only appears in lower case. Spoken German in Goethe's Faust.
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German vowels excluding diphthongs; see below come in short and long varieties, as detailed in the following table:. In general, the short vowels are open and the long vowels are closed. Whether any particular vowel letter represents the long or short phoneme is not completely predictable, although the following regularities exist:.
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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 while 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 25 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, survived on the continent up to Old High German and then disappeared in German with the consonant shifts between the 8th and the 10th centuries. A sizable fraction of English vocabulary is cognate with German words, although the common ancestry may be somewhat obscured by various shifts in phonetics e.
English has taken many loanwords from German, often without any change of spelling:. Bentz, Edna M. The Author, Online dictionary that will convert German words to English. In many cases you are able to hear the word spoken in German. Bischoff, Bernhard. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, Description of the use of Latin in the German territories. From Penn State University.
Analysis of German documents before the time of church records. Delbanco, Gerda. Ahlhorn, Germany: Schrift und Sprache, Introduction to reading and writing skills associated with German handwriting of previous centuries. Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut, A German grammar for the early 's. If you need to correspond with someone in Germany, requesting genealogical information, you will find these form letters useful. These were compiled by the staff of the Family History Library, and come complete with English translations.
Family History Library. French Records Extraction. Salt Lake City, Intellectual Reserve, ?. Designed for English speakers and provides information on copying names from French birth and marriage records. Genealogical Word List: French. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, Genealogical Word List: German. Genealogical Word List: Latin. Used for music cataloging at Yale University Library. Fraktur Script. The dictionary is designed for the family researcher who has little or no knowledge of German, but who needs to translate German language documents. German Town Name Meanings.
German True Type Fonts. There are over a dozen German fonts that are available to download in a zip file. You can download individual fonts or the entire collection. German American Corner.
German Words. Deutsche Schriftfibel [German Handwriting Primer]. Graz: Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt, Analysis of German handwritten letters and documents from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Low German: Platt in America. Davenport, Iowa: Hesperian Press, Museum Ludwig - Cologne The collection comprises the most important stages and positions in the development of 20th century and contemporary art. Pinakothek der Moderne One of the world's largest museums of modern art, based in Munich. Scorpions Contemporary German music.
Germany is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms.
Deutsche Bundesbank The Germany Central bank. Air Berlin Germany's second largest airline, after Lufthansa. Germanwings Cologne-Bonn based low fare airline, offers flights all over Europe. Thomas Cook Airlines Condor German based airline offers 65 destinations worldwide. Zeiss Optical Systems. Business Crime Control e. Civil rights movement devoted to combating business crime in German. Schloss Neuschwanstein with Forggensee lake in background. Image: M. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Development of innovations in key technologies.
More links to German Universities. Black Forest, view from the Blauen mountain near Badenweiler towards the Belchen mountain. Image: Dr. Aktionsgemeinschaft Solidarische Welt e. Alliance for environment and nature conservation, the German branch of Friends of the Earth. Deutscher Naturschutzring e. Umbrella organization for German environmental organizations in German. Greenpeace e. The German branch of Greenpeace.
Oberammergau A play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat. Passion play since Haus der Geschichte German History. Monumenta Germaniae Historica Dt.