The most spoken language in the European Union, German is (perhaps unsurprisingly) a Germanic language and part of the Indo-European linguistic family. It has approximately 120 million native speakers–primarily in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where it is an official language but also in Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Brazil, the United States, and others. As the old saying goes, German is a language of Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers). And apparently German is also the language of fairy tales: the most comprehensive dictionary of German words continues to be the Brothers Grimm’s first dictionary, written in the mid-19th century.
German and the Livemocha Community
- There are more German speakers from the United States on Livemocha than from Austria and Switzerland, where Germany is one of the official languages. However, Germany has by far the most German speakers on Livemocha
- 1.66% of all Germans on Livemocha speak Farsi — almost the same percentage of Germans on Livemocha who speak Polish.
- Germans make up over 6% of everyone on Livemocha learning Hungarian.
- Turkey, Russia, India, and Germany join Brazil and the United States in the list of the top 6 countries with Livemocha members learning German
German Fun Facts
German can form extended compound words, sometimes called Mammutwörter (mammoth words). One of the very longest is Rindfleischeti-kettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenüber-tragungsgesetz, or “Cattle marking and beef labeling supervision duties delegation law.”
John F. Kennedy gave a speech in West Berlin on June 26, 1963 in which he said Ich bin ein Berliner, “I am a Berliner.” It is commonly thought that he made an error and that his words meant “I’m a jelly donut” (a Berliner is a jelly donut), but the phrase is actually grammatically correct.
Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden: “Freedom is always freedom for the one who thinks differently,” so said Marxist thinker and political activist Rosa Luxemburg. There is a Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (Square) located in the Mitte district of Berlin.
Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, lit up during the city's festival of lights. Photo submitted by Aggroberlina
Frankfurt's sleek and modern skyline. Photo submitted by Hanna Christoph
The classic Schwerin Castle, once home do the dukes of Mecklenburg and now seat of the state parliament. Photo submitted by Spacegrl01
The annual Christmas Market in Berlin. Photo submitted by Mileny