THE GERMAN LANGUAGE
German is spoken as an official language in six countries and by minorities in five more.
Around 1517, there was not yet a national language in Germany. Everyone spoke a different German dialect in the various German counties, principalities and dioceses. Luther used the language from his surroundings, central Thuringen and the Central Eastern variant of the German language.
The extraordinary thing was that he tried to translate texts in such a way that the ordinary people would be able to understand it. He schaute den Leuten aufs Maul or "watched how people said things", which has been a permanent expression in German ever since.
The German that Luther used for his translation became the national written German as a result of the Bible's major influence and typography, which wasn't invented until that point in time. Not in Switzerland though. The different dialects remained more or less intact there.
Dialects of the German language
The German language still has several different dialects: Sächsisch, Bayrisch, Westfalisch, Berlinerisch, Schwäbisch, Hessisch, Plattdeutsch, Friesisch, etc.
Countries where German is spoken include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland and Romania.
Official Language: German is the official language of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Liechtenstein.
Number of mother tongue speakers: Approximately 100 000 000
German name: Deutsch
Classification: Indo-European to Germanic to West-Germanic
German is strongly related to: English, Dutch, Dutch Low Saxon, Frisian, Limburgish, Scottish, Yiddish and Afrikaans. To a lesser extent, German is also related to: Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian and Gothic.
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