Tag Archives: language expressions

By Sean Patrick Hopwood

Riddled with quirky traits and poetic descriptions, the German language is a fascinating one. But why is German called “Das Land der Dichter und Denker”? In this article, we take a look at some wonderful and fun facts about one of the world’s most intriguing languages to explore why it’s considered the language of writers and thinkers!

Das Land der Dichter und Denker

The German phrase translates to ‘The Land of Poets and Thinkers,’ and it’s a common nickname for Germany. German culture ran through the veins of many famous minds that influenced the way the rest of the world reads and interacts with each other.

From Goethe and Schiller to Heine, Mozart, Beethoven, Fred, Klimt, and Einstein, German was spoken by many brilliant leaders and continues to stand tall as one of the most important cultural languages in the world. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, for example, the writer of Faust, is considered one of the greatest national treasures of Germany.

Interesting Facts About the German Language

Did you know that German is among the top 15 most widely-spoken languages on earth? It’s estimated that roughly 1.4% of the world’s population are German speakers. Here are some more interesting facts about the German language that prove that it’s the language of writers and thinkers!

German is a Close Relative to the English Language

German is a West Germanic language, just like the English language. This means that the languages share a lot of similarities and are actually closely related. However, there are many words that look and sound the same, but have totally different meanings!

Proverbs in the German Language Can be Bizarre at Times

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei – Everything has an end; only a sausage has two. What it really means, however, is that all good things must come to an end at some point.

Das ist nicht dein Bier! – That’s not your beer. The meaningful translation would be that it is none of your business.

In German, All Nouns are Capitalized

If you’ve ever read a newspaper in a part of the German-speaking world, you’d have noticed how the paragraphs are permeated with extra-long words that are written in capital letters. That is because they write all nouns in capital letters. And it’s also part of the reason why written German is such a captivating language.

German is Full of Unique Words Describing German Philosophy

One notable aspect of the German language is its ability to create new, super-specific words that help to express life much more accurately than the English language could ever dream of. Schadenfreude, for example, literally translates the kind of happiness that is derived from someone else’s misfortune or pain. Then there’s Torschlusspanik, the word used to summarize the fear that creeps in with old age and the realization that one doesn’t have much time left, and this evokes a sense of urgency to do certain things before it’s too late.

Many German Words are Compounded Nouns

Did you know that many of the scarily-long German words can probably be broken down into smaller nouns? The German language is well-known for building new words from existing ones. A good example is Handschuhe. It combines the words Hand and Schue (which means shoes) to form a new word for ‘hand shoes’ and literally translates to ‘gloves’ in the English language.

It’s the European Union’s Most Widely-Spoken Language and the Heart of German Culture

Aside from being the official language of Germany, German is also an official language in Austria and Liechtenstein. It’s also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and thus, it is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the European Union! However, the dialect isn’t the same everywhere across the German-speaking world of the European Union, and depending on where you are in Germany, you’ll encounter various German dialects.

Nouns are Masculine, Feminine, or Gender-Neutral

All German nouns have genders, but the gender doesn’t comply with the gender of the object; it’s purely grammatical. According to Mark Twain, young ladies aren’t classified as a specific sex, but turnips are definitely female.

German was the Proud Owner of the World’s Longest Foreign Language Word

The supercalifragilisticexpialidocious you were thinking about might be the longest word in the English language, but German history used to top that! The 63-letter Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, which means ‘the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef’ was too much for even the native German speakers. The word was eventually declared obsolete.

Germanic Script only Emerged in the Middle of the 20th Century!

German used to be written with the Fraktur script from the Latin alphabet up until the middle of the twentieth century. Gothic calligraphy was introduced to the language in the 16th century and was in use in German Universities until the end of the Second World War.

Wrapping Up

With all its unique quirks, fascinating words, and captivating phrases, German certainly is a wonderful language that can describe life and all its experiences in a very unique way. It’s no wonder the language is considered the best one that poets and philosophers can use to express their ideas! 

So while a German citizen might call their language the language of poets because that’s what they were taught, there’s a very good reason why the rest of the world also agrees. German is one of the richest languages on earth thanks to its huge variety of words. 

They have words to describe sounds, processes, and even the effects of certain emotional states, and very few other languages can boast of this. And it is in philosophy and poetry where words are armor to keep up the good fight of spreading knowledge!

 Author Bio:

Sean Patrick Hopwood is the President of Day Translations, an academic evaluation services provider. He is also a language polyglot and can speak English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Hebrew, and Portuguese with varying levels of fluency. Soccer is one of his many passions. It allows him to socialize with his friends and brings him in close contact with people from other cultures. He loves to dance and salsa is one of his favorite styles.

Munich

The German language or “Deutsch” is the world’s 15th most spoken language according to Ethnologue’s latest data. The language is spoken in 28 countries, and 76 million people worldwide speak it as their mother tongue. Globally, there are 132.1 million German language speakers. As of 2016, Germany is home to 82.67 million, 95% of whom speak German as their first language.

Status of the German language

German is the official language in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. In Switzerland, it is one of the country’s three official languages. German, which belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, shares some of the characteristics with its co-branch members, English, Dutch and Frisian languages.

It is a cultural language in some parts of Brazil and a national minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. German is a national language in Namibia and a minority language in Russia. Many more countries around the world speak German, including France and South Africa and the German diaspora in several countries, such as Argentina, Australia, the United States, Canada, Paraguay and Costa Rica contribute to the spread of the German language.

Working in Germany

If you’re a qualified professional, you’ll find many work opportunities in Germany. Like other developed countries, there are standard immigration conditions that you should meet. You need to get recognition for your professional qualifications and meet the requirements for German language skills.

Let us say that you have fulfilled all the requirements and are now starting to work in Germany, so you’ll be interacting more with new officemates.

This article shows you how the German language expressions and manners create a positive impact on the work environment in the country.

Communication in the Workplace

As an employee, you will have many chances to converse with your German colleagues or even clients, and you’ll be using verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, as you get familiar with your new work environment. In Germany, the communication style is often direct. Germans are not overly emotional during conversations at work. You could consider it a plus since you do not have to indulge in small talk and you can quickly express your opinion or concern. Thus, it is to your advantage to learn to do the same.

Answering the Phone with Your Last Name

As to answering the phone, you have to observe some specific rules. You have to be respectful. It is customary for the Germans to answer the phone by giving their last name. When you are calling a person you do not know, you should use “Sie”, which is a polite form of address. Being polite is very important. Stick to the polite way of speech, using their titles and their last names. Using their first names used to be reserved for family and friends. There is is a shift in the German society and the “Du” becomes more normal at work as well.

Being on Time is Crucial

Being punctual is very important to Germans. Many companies offer flexible hours, but for those who have fixed work schedules, punctuality is necessary. If you are going to be late, it is imperative that you call the office and briefly state your reason. If you are attending a work session or a meeting, please be on time as it is part of the German culture to start and end meetings during the appointed hours.

Unlike in other countries where you can discuss other issues, Germans prefer only to discuss what’s on the agenda. Moreover, it is not standard practice for office workers to walk into another colleague’s office to meet unannounced. If there are pressing matters to be discussed, prior notice is needed either by email or by phone.

Building a Relationship

You can say that Germans are quite reserved and they are not particularly gifted in making small talk. If you are from another country, use your knowledge of the German language to your advantage. Help keep the office environment relaxed by developing a flair for small talk. It can lead to better office camaraderie and lasting friendships.

If you succeed in engaging your German colleagues in small talk, stick to safe topics like sports, the weather, hobbies or travel. It’s not proper to ask a new friend’s income. Likewise, do observe personal space.

Socializing is part of the work culture in Germany, often in the form of excursions and small celebrations in the office. You should attend, although talks about business or work should be avoided.

Learning the German language will help you to be comfortably conversant with colleagues. You do not have to be knowledgeable or funny to engage your German acquaintances in friendly conversations. What you need to know is how to relax and develop the art of small talk. Listen to how Germans start conversations and observe their language expressions to help you imbibe the language better.

Germans are perceived as humorless, precise, punctual, disciplined, direct, and organized. But if you look at their work environment, their language expressions and their manners contribute significantly to their business success.

Germany’s economy is one of the strongest in Europe. Working in Germany can be challenging. If you want to get out of your comfort zone, you discover many things about yourself, explore another culture, become more competitive and learn different work environments and management styles.

Are you ready to take the challenge of learning the German language?

Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, an online translation and localization services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications.

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