Obviously, when we think of Germany, we know that people there speak the German language. But do other languages are spoken there? Do Germans speak English? What Languages are Spoken in Germany?
Table of Contents
- The German official language
- German Dialects
- What languages are taught in German schools?
- English as a second foreign language
- Other foreign languages spoken
- Conclusion: What Languages are Spoken in Germany?
- What are the four most spoken languages in Germany?
- Do a lot of Germans can speak English?
- What minority languages are spoken in Germany?
- What is the difference between the Standard German and North Rhine-Westphalian dialects?
- Is it difficult for foreigners to learn German?
- Why does Germany have a lot of dialects?
The German official language
Germany is a very productive nation with a lot of economic advantages. Europeans and other people are relocating here in large numbers. Designed for the job, work, life, learning cultures, and linguistic distinctions that are essential to society.
As a result, German major cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, and Hamburg are home to multilingual communities. German is the official language of Germany and is spoken by approximately 95% of the population.
However, due to the high number of immigrants in recent years, a growing number of people in Germany can speak at least one other language.
First of all, we must know that Standard German is the official language in Germany and Standard German is the most widely spoken language in whole Germany.
The standard German language was developed over a long period of time. It first started to develop in the 8th century. Moreover, German is spoken by about 95 million local speakers and around 85 million non-native speakers worldwide.
The official language of Germany is Standard German, which is also the third most widespread language on Earth. German is the third most spoken language in North Dakota. All people with an internet connection may study German online thanks to online German courses.
German is spoken in neighboring countries such as Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg / Belgium / Lichtenstein, each of which has a separate German-speaking community.
See related articles: 18 German Speaking Countries Around the World
The standard German is almost always used in writing because it is taught at schools and in the German media. But every region of Germany has its own dialect – so when people talk, they usually speak their local dialect.
Thus, most people speak German as their mother tongue. But some regions also have other languages or dialects spoken alongside or instead of it.
In Bavaria (south-eastern region): Bavarian language. A West Germanic language spoken in parts of Bavaria and Austria is dated back to the 12th century. Bavaria is a region in southeastern Germany.
Inhabited by the Bavarians until 955, it was united with the rest of the Frankish kingdom as a duchy after that date.
During World War II, Bavaria had been a refuge from persecution for many artists and scientists, notably for those who had been denounced as non-Aryan by reason of their Jewish or leftist political views.
Bavarian was formerly spoken in parts of the southern Czech Republic and western Hungary.
Bavarian is a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants, some of which are mutually unintelligible with Standard German.
Its limited intelligibility with Standard German makes it difficult for most people to code-switch to it, but many speakers can code-switch to Standard German when necessary.
Currently, there are 14,000,000 native speakers of this dialect.
In Baden-Württemberg (south-western region): Swabian German. Swabian is a dialect cluster of Alemannic German that belongs to the High German linguistic continuum.
It is spoken in Swabia, which is located in western and central Baden-Württemberg (including Stuttgart) and southeastern Bavaria (Bavarian Swabia).
Swabia was home to many famous poets in the Middle Ages.
The Swabian dialect has more of a lilting rhythm than standard German, so it sounds especially beautiful when spoken. It is mainly used in informal situations.
About 5 million native speakers are estimated to live in Upper Swabia and about 6 million native speakers are estimated to live in total. Swabian, owing to its pronunciation and partly different syntax and lexicon, might be difficult for speakers of Standard German to comprehend.
In North Rhine-Westphalia (northwestern region): Westphalian dialect or commonly known as Westfalish, is one of the major dialect groups of West Low German.
Westphalia was formerly an independent kingdom, and it is now a region in northwestern Germany. The language is mainly used in rural areas.
There are about 6 million native speakers of Westphalian. It has a lot in common with Dutch and Afrikaans, as they are all Low German languages. The dialect of the German Westphalian region is now primarily spoken by the elderly.
In Saarland (southwest region): Saarland dialect, French and German are both official languages in Saarland. And Saarland dialect is a mixture of Alemannic and Lorraine Franconian dialects.
Saarland is a small region between France and Germany. It was formed after World War I from land that had been part of Prussia and Bavaria.
The dialect is mainly used in the family, but it has a strong influence on the dialects of east Luxembourg and east Belgium. The Saarland dialect sounds very melodic to the ears because it has a lot of French words in it.
It is spoken by about 330,000 people (as of 2006) in the German state of Saarland. While it has some features that make it unique, it is mutually intelligible with the dialects of the surrounding German regions.
In some parts of eastern Germany, notably in Saxony-Anhalt, Sorbian is also recognized as a member of minority languages. It belongs to the West Slavic Minority language group and is spoken by about 60,000 people.
Saxony is a state in eastern Germany and Saxony-Anhalt is a state of Germany. Together, they’re both located on the border between East and West. Sorbian belongs to the Lechitic group of West Slavic languages.
The language was nearly extinct by 1990 as most children were not learning it as a first language anymore. However, there are some efforts to keep it alive. There are now language immersion schools and a few radio stations that broadcast in Sorbian.
So as you can see, there are a variety of dialects spoken all throughout Germany – some similar to each other, and some with their own unique features.
While Standard German is understood by most people in the country, it’s interesting to note the various dialects that make up the German language landscape.
What languages are taught in German schools?
Most schools in Germany teach Standard German, but many also offer the opportunity to learn one or more of the country’s other languages. These include: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Turkish. In some cases, a school may also offer classes in a local dialect.
At school, German children learn English for 5 years. And then aged 11 or 12 begin to learn French. At age 16 they start learning Spanish, Italian, or Russian. If they want to learn a fourth language, they can choose between Turkish and Indonesian.
English as a second foreign language
Many people in Germany also speak English, due to a large number of Anglophone tourists and business people who visit or do business there. German is the second most popular language for English speakers to learn, after Spanish.
English is taught in most schools from a young age so that people have a basic understanding of the language. There are also a number of English-language schools in Germany that offer more intensive and specialized classes.
So, while German is the predominant language spoken in Germany, there are other languages and dialects spoken there as well. And, many Germans do know at least some English.
Due to the increasing popularity of English as a second foreign language in schools, many Germans are learning English.
See Related: Postage to Germany: Everything You Need to Know
Other foreign languages spoken
Aside from German and English, there are also other languages spoken in different parts of Germany. Some of these include Danish (in North Schleswig), Danish is spoken in this region because of the historical ties between Schleswig and Denmark.
Frisian is also spoken in some areas in the northwest of Germany.
Luxembourgish is spoken in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which borders Germany.
Yiddish is the Jewish language that is still spoken by some in Germany and Austria. Romani, which is a language of the Romani people, is also spoken in Germany.
Flemish is also spoken in the north of Belgium, which is close to the German border.
French is also spoken in some parts of Germany, particularly in the south near the French border.
Conclusion: What Languages are Spoken in Germany?
In conclusion, Standard German is the official language among all of the languages spoken in Germany.
And besides their native languages, English and other foreign languages are also spoken in different parts of the country. This makes Germany very rich in culture and a very diverse country.
With so many languages being spoken, it can be a little confusing for visitors when they travel to different parts of the country. But with a little effort, and maybe a few helpful phrases, anyone can get by in Germany.
What are the four most spoken languages in Germany?
The four most spoken languages in Germany are Standard German, English, North Rhine Westphalia, and Saarland dialect.
Do a lot of Germans can speak English?
Most Germans can speak English to some degree. There are also a number of English-language schools in Germany that offer more intensive and specialized classes.
What minority languages are spoken in Germany?
Some minority languages that are spoken in Germany include Sorbian, Yiddish, Romani, and Flemish.
What is the difference between the Standard German and North Rhine-Westphalian dialects?
The main difference between the Standard German and North Rhine-Westphalian dialects is that the North Rhine-Westphalian dialect is spoken in a specific region of Germany. Standard German is the more formal and official language in Germany. However, both dialects are mutually intelligible.
Is it difficult for foreigners to learn German?
For the most part, foreign learners find German relatively easy to learn. The grammar is relatively straightforward and the vocabulary is not overly complicated. There are also a number of language schools in Germany that offer classes for foreigners who want to learn German.
Why does Germany have a lot of dialects?
Germany has a lot of dialects because it is a federal country, which means that there are states instead of provinces.