8 fun facts about German

8 Fun Facts About The German Language

The German Language can seem odd compared to other languages. We admit it; the words seem pretty long and some letters definitely have a weird pronunciation. Despite that, there are a lot of facts that people don’t know about German. You may have heard about the longest word in German, but do you know those 8 fun facts about German? Let’s see!

1) Germans count backwards

Yes, you read the sentence correctly. While in English we say twenty-one, Germans would say “ein­und­zwanzig”, or one-and-twenty. Well, if you are learning German, we surely hope you don’t have to go through number dictations: it would be a nightmare. What is the first digit? You will never know. German numbers are even more full of suspense than Bollywood movies and their special effects.

2) German mixes well with other languages

You may have heard about Spanglish. It is famous for being a way to speak that Spanish speakers use in the US. Basically, they mix Spanish and English together. Sometimes, they would use an English word in a Spanish sentence or make English words sound Spanish. Germans literally do the same thing. They would use a bunch of English words as if they did not exist in German. Come on, German has a word for everything! They even have a word for the situation when your parents are not home, so you have your house to yourself! Sturmfrei!

But, besides English, German also mixes with Turkish. As we know, the Turkish population is really important in Germany. In 2020, studies have shown they were approximately 7 million. Eventually, they mixed both languages and now it is part of their culture. The children of Turkish immigrants mostly use this language.

3) German has 3 genders

In the German language, there are 3 genders: feminine, masculine, and neutral. What is most surprising for English speakers is that objects have genders. That’s right: a table is not a neutral word but a masculine one. For those who are not used to this system, unlike Spanish and French speakers, it is difficult to find it logical. So, when learning German, you absolutely have to learn the vocabulary and the associated pronouns. Otherwise, people might struggle to understand you, as it could mean a totally different thing. Always ask yourself: is it der, die or das?

4) There are two ways to say “you”

Once again, just like French and Spanish, the German language has two ways to address someone. You can use the formal “you”, which is “sie” or the informal one “du”. When you are addressing multiple people, you still use “sie” but the informal way would be “ihr”. You really have to be careful with that. It is really important in German to address strangers using “sie”. And if you don’t do that with police officers, you could even get arrested. But, don’t worry, it is much easier as a foreigner since people would understand that you are not being impolite.

5) German has a unique letter

It is called the sharp “s”, or “eszett”. It looks like a “b”, and you write it “ß” and pronounce it as an “s”. We know it seems difficult. Sometimes, people don’t use it and they write “ss” instead. But be careful with that, as it could change the entire meaning.

6) German has the same structure as English

We know what you’re thinking: “Finally, something easy about German!”. That is true for English speakers. The structure goes subject, verb, and then object. There are actually various languages that share this structure: French, Mandarin, or Spanish even if they omit the subject most of the time.

7) German is spoken outside of Europe

If you know about Germany’s history, it’s not a big surprise for you. For example, German is one of the official languages in Namibia. Even if they rarely use it around their family. But in Texas and Canada, there are populations that are attached to their German heritage. Well, it is mostly because their ancestors came to North America to live their religion freely. There are also German communities in South America. It is common to find Mennonites and German-Swiss there. You can even find a town named “Nuevo Berlín” in Uruguay.

8) Long words are easy to understand

This is something people struggle with. That is true, German is famous for its long words and sentences. But the fact is that German functions like many other languages: it adds one word to another to create a new one. The only difference is that there is no space between those words. Okay, it might be difficult to read, but it is still logical. For example, we have administration fees in English, and “verwaltungsgebühren” in German. “Verwaltung” meaning administration, and “gebühren” means taxes.

See, German is not a boring language at all! In fact, all languages are interesting and worth learning. We hope you like our 8 fun facts about the German language. Please feel free to book German classes with us, or comment to share your favourite fun fact!