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Fun Facts About the German Language

Updated on November 29, 2010

Take a Break

Learning a new language can sometimes be boring, especially if it's a language rich in vocabulary and grammar rules as the German language is. So how about taking sometime off the studying, and learn a few fun facts about the German language!

The Facts

In this piece we will be finding many fun facts about the German language. For instance, did you know:

German and English are both sister languages. You might have already encountered many German words that are identical to their English counterparts. However, there are a few German words that might appear identical to English at first, but they are actually not. Instead, they might cause you a lot of trouble if used in the wrong way, take a look:

  • The German word "Gift" means "poison"!
    So you better be careful what gifts you accept from your German buddies!
  • The German word "Mist" means "bird droppings" (or in other words "bullsh**")
    That caused the Irish perfume brand "Irish Mist" to be renamed "Irisch Moos" (Irish Moss) when it was first introduced to the German market!
  • The German word for "advice" is "Rat"!
    So it is safe to accept rats from your German friends (just remember 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).

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!"

  • Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz
    A 63-letter long word meaning: Beef labeling regulation & delegation of supervision law!
  • Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften
    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 sausage has two!
  • Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof – I only understand trainstation (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!

Back to Studying German

Well, that concludes this article.

I hope it had brought some laughs to you.

Make sure to visit when you're ready to study German again. You can find there plenty of lessons teaching German.


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