Is the German language…?
Is German difficult to learn? Is it related to Latin? Here are our answers to the most frequently googled questions about German.
Internet users enter lots of questions on Google about the German language. Here are some answers.
Is German difficult to learn?
The American writer Mark Twain quickly discovered that the German language is full of frustrating exceptions. In his satirical essay The Awful German Language, he playfully describes exactly what many learners of German feel. Yes, the language has numerous cases and three genders, the grammar can be quite tricky, and pronunciation can sometimes present problems. But is German really more difficult to learn than other languages? We don’t think so. And with these useful tips you’ll definitely find it much easier.
Is German dying out?
Time and again people write about how the German language is dying out. The fact that numerous English expressions are used in everyday German doesn’t necessarily mean that the existence of the entire language is under threat. Quite the opposite: “We do take people’s concerns seriously, but we regard words from other languages that have no real equivalent in German as an enrichment to our vocabulary,” says Andrea-Eva Ewels, Director of the Association for the German Language. The fact is that German is currently either the mother tongue or the second language of around 130 million people, and that around 15.45 million people are learning German around the globe, with numbers still rising. So the language is very much alive and kicking.
Is German related to Latin?
Yes. Both belong to the Indo-European language family, but German doesn’t originate from Latin. German and Latin are in fact only related via their mutual ancestral roots in so-called Proto-Indo-European (PIE), in which common features have been reconstructed from documented Indo-European languages. The kinship can be seen, for instance, in words like “Vater”, Latin “pater”, or “Nase” and “nasus”. But the influence of Latin as the standard form of communication and the language of the Church over many centuries in the German-speaking area was probably a major reason for the closeness of certain words.