Weathering the German language storm

As spring approaches, the shifting weather patterns offer a unique insight into the German language. Like in many other cultures, proverbs about the weather are a common thread in German discourse. While Germans may not engage in small talk as frequently as English speakers, mastering these proverbs is a testament to your command of the […]

If only German didn’t have two words for ‘only.’

On your journey of learning German, you inevitably encounter a situation that requires you to express something limited to an amount, some people, things or an activity. That is straightforward and can be expressed using the adverb nur (only).  Here are some example sentences: Es kostet nur einen Euro. It only costs a Euro. Nur […]

Hats off! More German idioms

German Idioms are part of everyday language use and a great way to articulate something that often cannot be summed up with a hundred words. This article examines some commonly used German idioms, sayings and proverbs around items of clothing which lend themselves perfectly to form metaphors. We’ll illustrate their meanings, give examples and delve […]

Monkey Business: German Idioms and Expressions

Prefabs in construction are relatively new, having been used since the middle of the twentieth century. Prefabricated components in language, on the other hand, have been in use for centuries in the form of idioms and expressions. Like other languages, German has a large spectrum of phrases at its disposal, and new phrases are regularly […]

The German language in post-Brexit London

With the UK’s exit from the European Union, London businesses are now operating in a new economic landscape. One of the challenges businesses face is communicating with their European counterparts in new ways. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and an important trading partner for the UK. As such, understanding German is becoming increasingly important for […]

Gender-neutral language in German

Inspired by a recent question from one of their freelance translators about inclusive/gender-neutral language in German (below—feel free to skip past it if you don’t read German), German Language Services would like to delve into the topic of “Gendern” as it’s become known. Translator: …ich frage mich, wie dieser Kunde es (inzwischen) mit dem Gendern hält. […]

German: its Speakers, Geography and History

German Speakers and German-speaking countries Standard German is the official form typically taught in schools in German-speaking countries. We also teach Standard German in our German courses, which is widely understood and an official language in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. Note the term an official language as opposed to the official language: Standard […]

In-person German language learning

With offices returning to almost normality in London, in-person German language lessons are back on the agenda for many businesses. We have all spent the last 19 months online, our eyes watery and kaput, with patience wearing thin. Why would you not want in-person language training with a German tutor delivering lessons at your office? […]

Minority Languages in Germany

The general view is that in Germany, people only speak German. Not directly related to learning German but an interesting aspect of German culture are Germany’s minority languages, three of which recently gained protected status: the Danish language, the North Frisian language and Low German in the State of Schleswig Holstein. Probably the most well-known […]

Indo-Aryan Austronesian in the German language

Often during German lessons, I get asked if there are words in German that are of Indo-Aryan or Austronesian origin. Many words covering religion and philosophy originate in Hindi, Arabic, Malay and Tamil. They made their way into German via the English language. There is der Bambus, which originates from Malay. From Bangla, we have der […]

German words of Russian origin

When taking German lessons or attending a German course, you’ll come across many German words of foreign origin. German, like other languages, borrows words typically from Latin, Greek, English and French. Less well known are Russian words that have made their way into the German language, often through the linguistic development of the part of […]

How many people do speak German?

Only 1.571% of the world speaks German. Why learn German, you may ask? Please read on. There are about 7,000 languages worldwide. Many languages are threatened by extinction, especially languages natives speak in Asia and America. Only a handful of people speak some languages. More than 50% of languages have less than 10,000 speakers; more […]

German Loan Words In English

In an increasingly interconnected world, where businesses are outsourced and partnerships are vital to expanding businesses globally, being fluent in English alone is not enough. You work in a dynamic, multi-cultural environment even if you are not running your own business. With that come issues like bonding well with co-workers of different nationalities and avoiding […]

Plautdietsch – low German

What is Plautdietch (Plattdeutsch), and do people worldwide speak that language variant? Plautdietsch or Mennonite Low German is a Low Prussian dialect. ‘Low’ refers to the plains of northern Germany, and Dietsch (Deutsch) means German. As mentioned in our previous article, Germans were invited by the Russian Empire to settle there. Amongst Germans from many […]

Silvester – New Year’s Eve in German

Germans, like many others worldwide, celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one with festivities and fireworks. Others opt for a quiet night by watching “Dinner for One” on TV, a British sketch from the 1920s which has become an unlikely New Year’s tradition in Germany despite being virtually […]

German in a Globalised World

In an increasingly globalised world where English is more or less the undisputed international language of business, what place is there for multilingualism? Several global companies believe that foreign languages, specifically German, play an important role in helping employees integrate into today’s multicultural workplace. The software giant SAP, which has its headquarters in Walldorf, is […]

Martin Luther and the German Language

Few people can be unfamiliar with Martin Luther, the German theologian and instigator of the Reformation. The story of Luther posting his disputations of some of the doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism, his 95 Theses, on the door of his local church in Wittenberg is exceedingly well known, even though some scholars doubt whether […]

Konrad Duden & German Orthography

Since 1880 one name has been the authoritative source for the correct spelling, pronunciation and usage of German words: Duden. Duden is to German, what the OED is to English. Konrad Alexander Friedrich Duden was born on 3 January 1829 in Wesel, Germany. After completing his secondary education, he studied history and philology at Bonn, […]

German Words of Arabic Origin

Like many languages, German has evolved to include words that originate from other languages; many of these surprisingly derive from Arabic. Arabic words feature commonly in many Western languages and were most often introduced centuries ago. However you prefer to drink it, ‘Kaffee’ derives from the Arabic ‘qahwa’. Coffee drinking originated in 15th century Yemen, […]

You know more German than you think

You shouldn’t be daunted at embarking on German lessons. It’s likely you already know a lot more German than you think. Our two languages are closely related, both being West Germanic languages, so you’ll find that many words are almost identical, if not in spelling, then in pronunciation. The terms Hand and Finger for example, […]

Swiss German

Have you ever taken a plane to Zurich or Basel, expecting upon arrival that people would sound like your friends or colleagues from Germany – but then feeling somewhat puzzled when hearing them talk? The reason is that Swiss Germans have a very strong Allemanic dialect in their everyday conversation, called “Schweizerdeutsch”. This, however, should […]