Vikidia currently has 2,418 articles. Improve it!

Join Vikidia: create your account now and improve it!

German language

From Vikidia, the encyclopedia for 8 to 13-year-old children that everybody can make better
Jump to: navigation, search
Region where German is spoken in Europe

The German language is a Germanic language, spoken by approximately 120 million people around the world. It is spoken mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Alphabet[edit | edit source]

German uses the Latin alphabet just like English, French, and Spanish, with one extra (non-Latin) letter, the eszett and umlauts, which are not used in English. Eszett is pronounced "ss". It is only found in the German alphabet, and looks like this: ß. Umlauts are dots which can be placed above three of the vowels in German, and which change the sound of them. They look like this: Ä, ä, Ö, ö, Ü, ü.

Vraagteken.svg
Did you know... ?
eszett and umlauts on keyboard
When people don't have a German keyboard, or the software required to use extra symbols on your own keyboard, they can write the umlauts by adding the letter "e" after the basic vowel. These umlauts would then look like this: Ae, ae, Oe, oe, Ue, ue. The pronunciation remains the same. The eszett can also be written ss. In Switzerland, the eszett is never used; it is always replaced by ss.


German is spoken widely in Europe and in communities around the world.

German is primarily spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are also significant minorities of people who speak German in the following countries:

German is the most widely spoken language in Europe, and the tenth most spoken language in the world.

History of German[edit | edit source]

The spread of the German language until ca. 1945 in Central Europe. Orange marks Lower German, blue Middle German and green Upper German dialects.

West Germanic was an ancient language that evolved into many different languages including German, English, Frisian, Low German and Dutch. German evolved from West Germanic between 400AD and 1200AD when people in southern and middle regions of Germany started pronouncing several consonants differently. This language is now called Standard German ("Hochdeutsch", literally "High German").

West Germanic dialects were still spoken in the northern and western regions of Germany and evolved into the regional language now called Low German or Low Saxon ("Plattdeutsch"). For many years the people of these regions of Germany struggled to understand one another. It wasn't until the 1800s that a common language was developed, called Standard German, that allowed the people of the highlands and the lowlands to be able to speak to one another.

Authors or poets[edit | edit source]

Ludwig van Beethoven

Some famous authors and poets in this language include the Brothers Grimm (Jacob, 1785 – 1863; Wilhelm, 1786 – 1859), Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (November 10, 1759 – May 9, 1805), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

German is also the language of classical music, as it was the language of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791), Ludwig van Beethoven (December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827), and Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) just to name a few.

Some words in German[edit | edit source]

Greetings (Die) Begrüßungen
Hi / Hello! Hi / Hallo!
Hey! Grüß dich!
Morning! Morgen!
Good morning. Guten Morgen.
Good day. Guten Tag.
Good evening. Guten Abend.
Good night. Gute Nacht.
Good-byes Abschied
Later! Tschüss!/Tschau!
Goodbye! Auf Wiedersehen!
See you soon! Bis bald!
Basic Phrases Einfache Phrasen
Do you speak English / German / Dutch? Sprechen Sie Englisch / Deutsch / Niederländisch?
Where are the restrooms? Wo ist die Toilette, bitte?
Excuse me. Entschuldigen Sie / Verzeihung.
How are you? Wie gehts? / Wie geht es dir? / Wie geht es Ihnen?
[I feel] good / bad / awful / okay. Mir geht es gut / schlecht / schrecklich / okay.
[I feel] ill. Mir ist übel.
[I'm] sick / sad. Ich bin krank / traurig.
[I'm] happy / glad. Ich bin glücklich / froh.
What happened? Was ist passiert?
What's up? Was ist los?
I like ... Ich mag ...
I don't like ... Ich mag ... nicht.
I love you. Ich liebe dich.
My name is ... Ich heiße.../Mein Name ist...
I am... Ich bin...
I am a... Ich bin (ein/eine)...
That’s good / bad / not bad. Das ist gut / schlecht / nicht schlecht.
That’s big / huge / small / tiny / wonderful / too bad. Das ist groß / riesig / klein / winzig / wunderbar / schade.
That’s enough / too much. Das ist genug / zu viel.
What’s this/that? Was ist das?
(But) of course! (Aber) natürlich!
(That’s) [entirely] out of the question! (Das) kommt [überhaupt] nicht infrage!
I'd like this (one)! Ich möchte diesen / diese / dieses!

A German song[edit | edit source]

This famous Christmas carol was first written in German in 1824. They call it "O Tannenbaum".

Here is the original German song, O Tannenbaum:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie grün sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich' was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid mich lehren.

It is known as "O Christmas Tree" in English and is a very famous song. Here is the English version of the song:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
How are thy leaves so verdant!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!
Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

References[edit | edit source]