Which countries speak the most languages
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Which are the most important German-speaking countries?
German is not only spoken in Germany. On the contrary, studies have shown that German is among the ten most widely spoken languages in the world, along with English, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Russian. Estimates say thataround 105 million people speak German as their mother tongue. In addition, German is spoken as a foreign language by around 80 million people who do not live in German-speaking countries.
Officially there isthree German-speaking countries in Europe:
- Germany(with over 80 million German-speaking people)
- Austria(8 million)
- Liechtenstein(35,000 people)
In addition, German is an official language or has the status of minority language in the following countries:
- in Switzerland
- Czech Republic
- Vatican city
About 16 percent of the population of the European Union speak German.
Outside of Europe there are many other countries where German is spoken, such as Kazakhstan, Namibia and South Africa. In other parts of the world too, German is spoken in small percentages. The German diaspora (German communities that emigrated in the first half of the 20th century) spread the German language in many smaller regions and areas of Chile, Norway, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Some interesting facts about the German language
The German language has had a significant influence on other languages and cultures in the past. During the 19th century, German literature enjoyed one of its heyday and many originally German words were adopted in other languages. These (permanent) loan words include “Kindergarten”, “Delikatessen / Delicatessen”, “Rucksack”, “Poltergeist” and “Wanderlust”.
Germany's leading role in the international market today and its economic strength are another reason to learn German online. The German economy is the largest in Europe and Germany ranks fourth worldwide, behind the United States, China and Japan. This also means that German is a very important language for everyone who works in the automotive, craft and mechanical industries. These industries are particularly well represented in the German economy and are employers for a large number of people. German is also seen as “the language of science” and is considered the second most widely spoken language by scientists and scholars around the world.
German is one of the three most widely used languages on the Internet and around six percent of all existing websites are in German. There are also a large number of books that are either written in German or translated into this language. It is estimated that around ten percent of all printed books appear in German.
The Goethe Institute is recognized as the world's most important cultural organization for German-speaking people and people who want to learn German. This institution was founded in 1951 and now has more than 150 agencies all over the world and not only in German-speaking countries. The Goethe Institute represents and promotes German culture and language and has an extensive educational program.
Some interesting facts about the German language:
- It is well known that German has an incredibly large number of extremely long words. A word can have 40 or even 60 letters without any problems;
- Dutch and English are the closest languages to German;
- During the 18th century, German was on the verge of becoming the official language of the United States. There was a vote and English won by just one vote.
An introduction to life in Germany
Many people learn German with the intention of moving to a German-speaking country in order to live, work or study there. Moving to a country where you don't speak the language and whose culture you are not familiar with is not always easy. It takes time to get used to a new lifestyle and certainly a lot of patience and a good sense of humor. Here we have put together some useful information about life in Germany for you:
- Germans attach great importance to titles and differentiate between formal and confidential salutation, so as a German learner you should always remember to use correct pronouns:you oryou.
- Thousands of people move to Germany every year. To make the transition easier, we recommend that you find out about life in Germany, make other foreign friends and take an integration course.
- The German authorities require that you register within seven days of moving to or within Germany. You can do this at your nearest citizens' office.
- Respect for privacy and distance are highly valued in Germany. Excessive volume levels are strictly prohibited between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., on Sundays and public holidays.
- Germans take recycling very seriously. So the best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the different colored rubbish bins and learn the meaning of the colors.
- Make sure your name is on your mailbox or your mail won't get there.
- It is mandatory in Germany to pay the radio license fee per apartment if you use the Internet, radio or television.
- For more information on banking, health and insurance, etc., take a look at the ‘Guide to Living in Germany’, published by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
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