When we think about German, French and Spanish, we may think of them as the big three European languages that are often taught to us, often in rote form and translating random documents at school. I do remember learning French and Spanish to a certain degree (the former to GCSE level), but never had the chance to learn German.
Some people can imagine the German language to be a rather harsh sounding language where words can be hard to pronounce, but it’s a great language to learn and is quite logical to follow. It’s also a widely spoken language, with an estimated 90+ million speakers worldwide and a first language for many in the EU. So, here are some facts on German translation!
In terms of geographic distribution, Standard German (as opposed to Old German) is one of the official 23 European languages and is one of the most popularly spoken languages in the EU, just after English and slightly higher than French.
German Language Vocabulary
Most German words in their vocabulary comes from Latin and French, which makes it understandable that it is the third most popular language taught in schools after French and Spanish. As it’s written in the Latin alphabet, it has 26 characters like English but also has three vowels with umlauts – A/a, O/o and U/u as well as B.
In terms of dialect, like most languages it is split into two main groups. German is split into High and Low German. It’s an inflected language with 3 genders, which means that there are may roots to remember and endings. For the nouns, these can inflect in 4 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive and dative) and 3 genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). Like English, the verbs are either passive or active, weak or strong, and come under either present or preterite and four composed tenses, which are perfect, pluperfect, future and future perfect.
When it comes to German translation, its close links to the Indo-European language family, as well as some origins in Greek and Latin, and its ability to translate foreign words into equivalents in German translation is actually really effective! German is also known for its own un-translatable list, the most popular arguably being schadenfraude – which is the pleasure in someone else’s misfortune.