German (Deutsch) is a Germanic language spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as some areas of the surrounding countries. It is the official language of Germany and Austria and is one of the official languages of Switzerland, Belgium, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg. Nearly 100 million people speak German as their first language.
German is a highly inflected language and nouns are conjugated in gender (3), number, and case. German has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.
German uses a standard modern Latin script for its alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard modern Latin characters, German has some additional characters: the umlauts and the eszet. Both of these evolved from old ligatures.
The umlauts are ä, ö and ü and evolved from the practice of scribes writing a little e above a, o and u to signify a different pronunciation. When no umlaut characters are available (for example when using a font which does not include the characters), ae, oe and ue are substituted; simply using a o or u is incorrect.
The eszet (ß) or "scharfes S" evolved from the combination of ſ - the sharp (or long) s - and either a normal s or a z, giving ſs/ſz. The eszet has no upper case form; when an upper-case form is required a double-s (SS) is used in its stead. The eszet is also not used at all in either Switzerland or Liechtenstein, where double-s is always used.
Common difficulties Edit
The Foreign Service Institute has estimated that learning German to a Professional Working Proficiency in the language (a score of Speaking-3/Reading-3 on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale) will take an average of 36 weeks (900 class hours).
German is, as stated above, very inflected which means it can take a long time to master the spoken language.
There is an Foreign Service Institute course for German.
There is a Duolingo course for German.
There is Sublearning for German.
Pimsleur offers courses in both German and Swiss German.
Rosetta Stone offers a course in German.
- ↑ U.S. Department of State; FSI's Experience with Language Learning; https://www.state.gov/m/fsi/sls/c78549.htm