Interesting aspects of the German language

There are about 100 million native German speakers, making German the tenth most spoken language in the world. Altogether that makes over 120 million people, who speak German. About eight percent of all internet pages are written in German. In comparison, about 50 percent are written in English.

German is not only the official language of Germany, but also in Austria, Liechtenstein, in large parts of Switzerland (the German part encompasses over 60 percent), Belgium, Luxemburg, the European Union, North Italy, Denmark, and in the Vatican (Swiss guards).

In 1781 Johann Christoph Adelung published the first large dictionary. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm started compiling their comprehensive dictionary in 1852, which was completed in 1961, and has been continuously edited since then. German orthography was standardized during the 19th century.

Konrad Duden (1880) wrote the Orthographic Dictionary of the German Language in 1880 and set a landmark by establishing a uniform German orthography. A slightly edited version of this dictionary was used for the spelling reform in 1901 and was declared the basis for official German orthography. This spelling reform was updated as recently as 1996.

German is taught as a foreign language in many countries. In Europe, it is the most spoken language after English. Standard German is especially part of the curriculum in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, francophone Switzerland, Serbia and Montenegro, Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Japan. In some of these countries, German is considered the first foreign language taught in the school system, surpassing even English. In Belarus, German is still taught today in many schools.


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