Did you know German and English are both sister languages?
English and German share 60% of their vocabulary. Given their close relation, German and English share more than half of their vocabulary — so if you know English, you’re already halfway there to speaking German! In comparison, English and French share just 27% of theirs.
You might have already discovered many German words that were already in the English language. But be careful it looks similar but the meaning of the word can create lots of trouble for you. Let’s have examples:
- The German word“Gift” means “poison”!
So you better be careful what you accept gifts from your German friends!
- The German word for “advice” is “Rat”!
So it just safer to accept rats from your German friends ( remembers to stay away from the “Gifts”).
German has 3 genders for its nouns, either masculine (der), feminine (die), or neuter (das). That gender is purely grammatical though; as it doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual gender of the corresponding real-life object. The word for “Child” is understandably neuter in German (das Kind). However, the word for “girl” (das Mädchen) is for some reason neuter, and so is “wife” (das Weib – a word commonly used for “female” or “woman” as well).
Time is counted with respect to the next hour, rather than the previous one.
If a German tells you that it is halb drei (“half three”), you might assume that it’s 3:30. However, you’d be wrong: in German, you report time by counting the minutes to the next hour, so “half three” means that it’s half an hour until three: in other words, it’s 2:30.
As Mark Twain said: “In German, a young lady has no sex, but a turnip has (die Ruebe)”
The German language is exceptionally famous for forming long words.
Leading to another famous quote by Mark Twain: “Some German words are so long that they have a perspective!”
A 63-letter long word meaning: Beef labeling regulation & delegation of supervision law!
39-letter long word meaning: Legal protection insurance companies
Germans have some extremely funny proverbs as well, a few examples of that:
- Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei! – Everything has an end, only the sausage has two!
- Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof – I only understand train station (It is all Greek to me)
- Das ist nicht dein Bier! – That is not your beer! (None of your business!)
One final fact that is a bit strange: German almost became the official language of the United States of America. The Continental Congress, convened in Philadelphia during the Revolution, at one time considered adopting a new language for the future of the United States, with the aim of cutting off all ties with England. Among the languages suggested were German, Hebrew and French. When it finally came to a vote, English narrowly won – just by one vote!