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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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    • profile image

      Eva Muller 5 years ago

      I just loved this page........very informative u know !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :P

    • profile image

      Lea 5 years ago

      "Weib" is actually a word which is quite derogative nowadays. You would say "Ehefrau" or simply "Frau", which are both feminine.

    • profile image

      Theo 6 years ago

      "Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft" - the longest german word ? ;)

    • profile image

      Theo 6 years ago

      "Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft" - the longest german word ? ;)

    • profile image

      leo pan 6 years ago

      that s amazing lol

    • profile image

      mistman 7 years ago

      Actually, "Mist" refers to the excrements of productive livestock, often used as fertilizer ...

    • artlader profile image

      artlader 7 years ago from Aiken, South Carolina, USA

      Voted up. :-)

      One Thing: About German almost becoming the official language of the United States... Well, here's what has to say about it. -

      Alternate -



    • profile image

      Jake Brannen 7 years ago

      Hey,cool artikel, I've been studying German for a few years now and find your thoughts pretty neat. My biggest problem in terms of fluency is the sentence structure, I don't get enough opportunity to practice putting so many verbs at the end of the clauses since I live in Canada.

    • deutsched profile image

      deutsched 7 years ago from Egypt

      Yes, I just noticed that!

      Thanks a lot Simone. My few next articles will be here on HubPages, I'm starting to love that place more than anywhere else :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Congrats, deutsched! This Hub won week 4 of HubPages' Top of the Class contest!!

    • deutsched profile image

      deutsched 7 years ago from Egypt

      Haha, German IS quite a hard language to master

      I've been studying German for over 5 years now, and I can't say I'm anywhere near fluent yet!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the article :)

    • DTR0005 profile image

      Doug Robinson 7 years ago from Midwest

      German kicked my butt in college. I was able to become fluent in French but could never quite master German. Cute piece and informative. Thanks

    • deutsched profile image

      deutsched 7 years ago from Egypt

      Glad you both liked it :)

      Hopefully I'll have a few more in another article Sunnyglitter :)

      Thanks for reading & commenting!

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      Interesting article. My family was born in Germany, so I enjoy reading things about the language.

    • profile image

      Tsubasa 7 years ago

      Great the meaning of 'Gift'… now I will not accept any 'Gift' from a german XD

    • deutsched profile image

      deutsched 7 years ago from Egypt

      Thanks Brian!

      Actually the German word "mist" was the main reason behind writing the article, in other words, "bird droppings" inspired me :D

    • profile image

      Brian 7 years ago

      Nice article, I liked it :) one about the German language being one off from the English was very interesting!