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German Language Facts and Information

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German speakers in the Phrasebase community
Extinct: no
Family: Indo European
Branch: Germanic - West Germanic
Continent: Europe
Country: Germany
Region: Spoken in 40 other countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. PENNSYLVANIA: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, and Florida. Also spoken in Canada. HUTTERITE: 76 colonies in Alberta, 12 or 13 in Saskatchewan, 27 in Manitoba, some in British Columbia, 30 in USA, with about 100 people in each, an estimated 300 colonies around the world. Also spoken in USA. COLONIA TOVAR: None
Countries Where Spoken: 75,300,000 in Germany (1990). Population total all countries 100,000,000 first language speakers (1999 WA); 128,000,000 including second language speakers (1999 WA). PENNSYLVANIA: 85,000 in USA, including 70,000 Old Order Amish, 15,000 Old Order Mennonites, fewer Pennsylvanisch (Lutheran). Population total both countries 100,000 out of an ethnic population of 200,000 (1978 Kloss and McConnell). Canada. HUTTERITE: 15,000 in western Canada, including 7,000 in Alberta (1981 P. Fast SIL). Population total both countries 30,000 (1982 V. Peters). Other estimates up to 100,000. USA. COLONIA TOVAR: No estimate available.
Countries Where Official: Germany, Austria
Native Speakers: 85,000
Speakers Total: 100,000
Phrasebase members who speak German at a native level: 1,122
Phrasebase members who speak German at a conversational level: 1,122
Phrasebase members primary language they are trying to learn is German: 7,778
Phrasebase members secondary language they are trying to learn is German: 10,194
Three Letter Code: GER
Summary: Major related language areas are Bavarian, Schwäbisch, Allemannisch, Mainfränkisch, Hessisch, Palatinian, Rheinfränkisch, Westfälisch, Saxonian, Thuringian, Brandenburgisch, and Low Saxon. Many varieties are not inherently intelligible with each other. Our present treatment in this edition is incomplete. Standard German is one High German variety, which developed from the chancery of Saxony, gaining acceptance as the written standard in the 16th and 17th centuries. High German refers to dialects and languages in the upper Rhine region. 60% lexical similarity with English, 29% with French. National language. Dictionary. Grammar. Poetry, newspapers, radio programs, films, TV, videos. Christian. Bible 1466-1982. PENNSYLVANIA: Blending of several German dialects, primarily Rhenish Palatinate (Pfalzer) German, with syntactic elements of High German and English. Mostly incomprehensible now to a person from the Palatinate (H. Kloss 1978). Non-plain community: youngest fluent speakers 40 to 50 years old (M. Louden 1987). Plain community not shifting to English, but has stable bilingualism (M. Louden 1987). Separate orthographies for Pennsylvania and Ohio dialects. Christian. NT 1994. HUTTERITE: About 70% intelligible to a speaker of Pennsylvania German; about 50% to a speaker of Plautdietsch and Standard German. Although it is called "Tirolean", it is not a Tirolean dialect. In addition to attendance at public schools, children attend supplemental private schools with instruction in religion and Standard German. Some reports say adults are usually equally fluent in English and Standard German, others that most understand English better and have limited understanding in Standard German. They all use Standard German in church for written sermons and for Scriptures. All ages in the home. Strict communal living. Communal groups in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Japan have affiliated recently with the Hutterians, but are not ethnically Hutterian (Victor Peters 1982). Intensive agriculturalists. Christian. COLONIA TOVAR: Developed from the Alemannisch (Oberdeutsch) of 1843 under the influence of many other dialects of south Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Not intelligible with Standard German. Bilingualism in Spanish. Investigation needed: bilingual proficiency in Spanish. Newspapers. German (Deutsch) is one of the world"s major languages, a member of the western group of the Germanic languages. It is spoken primarily in Germany [ Deutschsprachige Portal ] , Austria, the major part of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the S?l (South Tyrol) region of Italy [ Italiano / Italia portal ] , the Opole Voivodship of Poland [ Polski portal ] , parts of Belgium, parts of Romania and the Alsace (Elsass) region of France [ Francais portal ] . Additionally, several former colonial possessions of these countries, such as Namibia, have sizable German-speaking populations, and there are German-speaking minorities in several eastern European countries. German is the third most popular foreign language worldwide, and the second most popular in Europe. The dialects that participated in the second German vowel shift during medieval times are regarded as those of the German language. As a consequence of the colonization patterns, the V?rwanderung (pronounced: "fœl ker "van der ung), the routes for trade and communication (chiefly the rivers), and of physical isolation (high mountains and deep forests) very different regional dialects developed. These dialects, sometimes mutually unintelligible, were used across the Holy Roman Empire. As Germany was divided into many different states, there was for long no force working for a unification or standardization of German, until Martin Luther translated the Bible (the New Testament in 1521 and the Old Testament in 1534). The regional variety (dialect) into which Martin Luther translated the Bible is now regarded as the guideline language upon which Standard German is built. Media and written works are almost all produced in this variety of High German (usually called Standard German in English or Hochdeutsch in German) which is understood in all areas of German languages (except by pre-school children in areas which speak only dialect - but in the age of TV even they usually learn to understand Standard German before school age). The first dictionary of the Brothers Grimm, the 16 parts of which were issued between 1852 and 1960, was and still is the most complete census of the words of the German language. In 1860, grammatical and orthographical rules first appeared in the Duden Handbook. In 1901, this was declared the standard definition of the German language in these matters. Official revisions of some of these rules were not issued until 1998. Status German is the only official language in Germany [ Deutschsprachige Portal ] , Liechtenstein and Austria; it shares official status in Belgium (with French and Dutch), Italy [ Italiano / Italia portal ] (with Italian, French and Slovenian), Switzerland (with French, Italian and Romansh), Luxembourg (with French and Luxembourgish). It is one of 11 official languages in the European Union. It is also a minority language in Denmark, France [ Francais portal ] , Russia, Tajikistan, Poland [ Polski portal ] , Romania, Togo, Cameroon, the USA, Namibia, Paraguay, Hungary [ Hungarian portal ] , Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Ukraine, Croatia, Moldavia, Australia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Increasing influence from the English language has affected German recently. Dialects of German The term "German" is used for several dialects of Germany and surrounding countries and in North America. The dialects of Germany are typically divided into Low German and High German. The Low German dialects, or Low Saxon as they are sometimes known more precisely, are more closely related to Lower Franconian languages like Dutch than to the High German dialects, and from a linguist"s perspective are not part of the German language proper. The High German dialects spoken by Ashkenazi Jews have several unique features, and are usually considered the separate language Yiddish. There are also distinctive dialects of German which are or were primarily spoken in North America, including Pennsylvania German, Texas German, and Hutterite German. The modern dialects of German proper are divided into Middle German and Upper German; Standard German is a Middle German dialect, while Austrian and Swiss German are Upper German. A moderately complete listing of these dialects may be found at High German. Development of the German language Old High German Middle High German

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