Bottom Content goes here.
Wikipedia content requires these links.....
Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
German (Deutsch) is a language, a member of the western group of the
Germanic languages. It is spoken primarily in Germany, Austria, the northern
part of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Sdtirol (South Tyrol)
region of Italy, the Opole Voivodship of Poland and the Alsace (Elsa§)
region of France. 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.
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, then the Vlkerwanderung, of
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.
German is the only official language in Germany, Liechtenstein and Austria;
it shares official status in Belgium (with French and Dutch), Italy (with
Italian, French and Slovenian), Switzerland (with French, Italian and
Romansh), Luxembourg (with French and Luxembourgish). It is one of 11
offical languages in the European Union.
It is also a minority language in Denmark, France, Russia, Tajikistan,
Poland, Romania, Togo, Cameroon, the USA, Namibia, Paraguay, Hungary, 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.