History of German Language

History of German Language

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German is one among the most important groups of Indo-Germanic languages. It's the official language of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and therefore of  the European Union. The history of the language begins within the Early Middle Ages with the German consonant shift. During the migration period, Old German dialects were separated from Old Saxon.

The earliest testimonies of Old German are from scattered Elder Futhark inscriptions, from the 6th century AD. The oldest coherent texts (the Hildebrandslied, the Muspilli and the Merseburg Incantations) go back to the 9th century.

During a period of several hundred years, Germany was divided into many various states. Within the Holy Roman Empire, the Germanic speaking area was divided into Alemannic, Bavarian, Frankish, Saxon and Frisian. The writers of that time tried to write down in a way that could be understood by  people of the most important possible area. It had been a crucial road to the unification of the language.

There are three main periods within the history of the German language:

1. Old German (c. 750 – c. 1050);

2. Middle German (c.1050 – c.1500);

3. Modern German (c.1500 to the present).

In the playing period, there was no standard language. The formation of the system was influenced by the German consonant shift. The results of this sound change is that the peculiar consonantal system of German, remains different from all other West Germanic languages. But it must be admitted, that grammatical system of Old German has much in common with Old English, Old Dutch and Old Saxon. By the mid-11th century, there was a simplification of the inflectional grammar of German, caused by the reduction of vowels in unstressed syllables. That’s why 1050 is taken into account to be the beginning of the center German period.

In the middle period, a comparatively uniform written communication developed in government, but Middle German had no standardized spelling. Different combination of certain dialects of Middle German replaced the Latin that had been widely utilized in official writings of that point. Texts were written within the Roman alphabet, in Gothic minuscules.

The main features were:

1. The absence of the marking of vowel length;

2. The absence of the marking of umlauted vowels;

3. The usage of the semi-vowels /j/ and /w/ within the original texts.

The Middle Saxon language was spoken from about 1100 to 1500, splitting into West Low Saxon and East Low Saxon. The neighbour languages were Middle Dutch within the West and Middle German within the South, later substituted by Early New German.

The period of Early New German started with the Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible (the New Testament in 1522 and therefore the Old Testament, completed in 1534). This work supported already developed language, which was widely understood at that point.

Copies of the Bible had an extended list for every region, where unknown words were translated into the regional dialect. Roman Catholics tried to make their own Catholic standard, which differed from ‘Protestant German’ only in some minor details. A widely accepted standard was created within the middle of the 18th century; it had been the top of Early New German.

Until about 1800, standard German was almost solely a written communication. During the 18th century, variety of outstanding writers gave modern standard German its modern form – the language of church and state, education and literature. The written standard influenced a corresponding norm for spoken German, utilized in education, theatre, and broadcasting. There also are many German dialects that differ substantially from standard German, not only in pronunciation but also in grammar.

The first dictionary of the Brothers Grimm remains the foremost comprehensive guide to the lexicon of German. It had been issued in 16 parts between 1852 and 1860.

Grammatical and orthographic rules first appeared within the Duden Handbook in 1880. Later, in 1901, this was declared the quality definition of German. Standard German orthography went unrevised until 1998, when the German spelling reform of 1996 was officially promulgated by governmental representatives of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Roots of German

Low and German

German departed from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European (which includes English, Dutch, Scandinavian and therefore the now extinct Gothic) by a shift in sounds called the Second Germanic Sound Shift. Its effect can still be seen by comparing modern German words with their English cognates: pound>Pfund; pipe>Pfeife; hope>hoffen; apple>Apfel, etc.

The Second Sound Shift divides Germany into a smaller Northern part (without the sound shift) and a bigger central and Southern part (with the sound shift). Since a part of Germany where there is no Second Sound Shift is the North German Lowlands, their language is named Low German as distinct from German.

German comes in many dialects which are generally not mutually intelligible: Dutch and its Belgian variety Flemish are official languages within the Netherlands and in Belgium (they are closely associated with the Low German languages of Germany’s North); Afrikaans which developed out of the Dutch spoken by Dutch settlers is a politician language in South Africa; Luxembourgish (from High German) is a politician language in Luxembourg and Yiddish, which developed out of Middle German dialects and is now spoken by several million Jews throughout the planet .

Old, Middle and Modern German

Historically, German falls into three main periods: Old German (c. AD 750-c.AD 1050); Middle German (c.1050-c.1500); and Modern German (c.1500 to the present). The earliest existing records in German go back to about AD 750. During this playing period, local dialects were utilized in writing, and there was no standard language. Within the middle period, a comparatively uniform written communication developed in government after the varied chancelleries of the Holy Roman Empire began, within the 14th century, to use a mixture of certain dialects of Middle German in situ of the Latin, that until then, had dominated official writings.

The German of the chancellery of Saxony was adapted by Luther for his translation of the Bible. He chose it because at that point the language of the chancelleries alone stood out as a norm during a multitude of dialects, and Luther thought he could reach more people through it.

The modern period is typically said to start with the German employed by Luther, which became the idea of recent German, or modern standard German. The spread of uniformity in written German was also helped by printers, who, like Luther, wanted to draw in as many readers as possible.

During the 18th century, a variety of outstanding writers gave modern standard German essentially the shape it's today. It's now the language of church and state, education and literature. A corresponding norm for spoken German, influenced by the written standard, is employed in education, the theatre, and broadcasting.

Although dialectal differences within both German and Low German regions remain, a trend toward uniformity within the direction of the written standard is predicted partly as a results of widespread broadcasting, diminishing isolation, and increased socio-economic mobility.

German Language, Culture and Etiquette

Facts and Statistics

  1. Location: Central Europe, bordering Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 646 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km
  2. Capital: Berlin
  3. Climate: temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm
  4. mountain (foehn) wind
  5. Population: 82 milion (2019 est.)
  6. Ethnic Make-up: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)
  7. Religions: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
  8. Government: federal republic
  9. Business Culture: Ranked 11th within the Business Culture Complexity Index™

German Society & Culture

A Planning Culture

  1. In many respects, Germans are often considered the masters of designing.
  2. This may be a culture that prizes forward thinking and knowing what they are going to be doing at a selected time on a selected day.
  3. Careful planning, in one's business and private life, provides a way of security.
  4. Rules and regulations allow people to understand what's expected and plan their life accordingly.
  5. Once the right way to perform a task is discovered, there is no chance of doing it the other way.
  6. Germans believe that maintaining clear lines of demarcation between people, places, and things is the surest way to lead a structured and ordered life.
  7. Work and private lives are rigidly divided.
  8. There may be a proper time for each activity. When the business day ends, you're expected to go away from the office. If you want to remain after normal closing, it indicates that you simply didn't plan your day properly.

The German Home

  1. Germans take great pride in their homes.
  2. They keep their houses neat and tidy in the least times, with everything in its appointed place.
  3. In a culture where most communication is quite formal, house is the place where one can relax and permit your individualism to shine.
  4. Only close friends and relatives are invited into the sanctity of the house, so it's the one place where more informal communication may occur.
  5. There are many unwritten rules surrounding the outward maintenance of one's home.
  6. It is imperative that common areas like sidewalks, pavements, corridors (in apartments), and steps be kept clean in the least times.

German Etiquette & Customs

Meeting Etiquette

  1. Greetings are formal.
  2. A quick, firm handshake is that of the traditional greeting.
  3. Titles are vital and denote respect. Use an individual's title and their surname until invited to use their given name. You ought to say Herr or Frau and therefore the person's title and their surname.
  4. In general, await your host or hostess to introduce you to a gaggle.
  5. When entering an area, greet everyone individually, including children.

Gift Giving Etiquette

  1. If you're invited to a German's house, bring a present like chocolates or flowers.
  2. Yellow roses or tea roses are always well received.
  3. Do not give red roses as they symbolize romantic intentions.
  4. Do not give carnations as they symbolize mourning.
  5. Do not give lilies or chrysanthemums as they're used at funerals.
  6. If you bring wine, it should be imported, French or Italian. Giving German wines is viewed as not serving an honest quality wine.
  7. Gifts are usually opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a German's house:

  1. Arrive on time as punctuality indicates proper planning. Never arrive early.
  2. Never arrive quite quarter-hour later than invited without telephoning. 
  3. Send a handwritten many thanks note the subsequent day to thank your hostess for her hospitality.

Table manners

  1. Remain standing until invited to take a seat down. you'll be shown to a specific seat.
  2. Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held within the left and therefore the knife within the right while eating.
  3. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts or someone says 'guten appetit' (good appetite).
  4. At an outsized banquet, await the hostess to put her napkin in her lap before doing so yourself.
  5. Do not rest your elbows on the table.
  6. Do not cut lettuce for salad. Fold it using your knife and fork.
  7. Cut the maximum amount of your food together with your fork as possible, since this compliments the cook by indicating the food is tender.
  8. Finish everything on your plate.
  9. Rolls should be broken apart by hand.
  10. Indicate you've got finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the proper side of your plate, with the hand over the knife.
  11. The host gives the primary toast.
  12. An honoured guest should return the toast later within the meal.
  13. The commonest toast with wine is 'Zum Wohl!' ('good health').
  14. The commonest toast with beer is 'Prost!' ('good health').

Business Etiquette and Protocol in Germany

Relationships & Communications

  1. Germans don't need a private relationship so as to try to business.
  2. They are going to be curious about your academic credentials and therefore the amount of the time your company has been in business.
  3. Germans display great deference to people in authority, so it's imperative that they understand your level relative to their own.
  4. Germans don't have an open door. People often work with their office door closed. Knock and wait to be invited in before entering.
  5. German communication is formal.
  6. Following the established protocol is critical to putting together and maintaining business relationships.
  7. As a gaggle, Germans are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound too good to be true, or display of emotion.
  8. Germans are going to be direct to the purpose of bluntness.
  9. Expect an excellent deal of written language, both to copy decisions and to take care of a record of selections and discussions.

Business Meeting Etiquette

  1. Appointments are mandatory and will be made 1 to 2 weeks beforehand.
  2. Letters should be addressed to the highest person within the functional area, including the person's name also with their proper business title.
  3. If you write to schedule a meeting, the letter should be written in German.
  4. Punctuality is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an evidence. It's extremely rude to cancel a gathering at the eleventh hour and it could jeopardize your account .
  5. Meetings are generally formal.
  6. Initial meetings are to understand one another. They permit your German colleagues to work out if you're trustworthy.
  7. Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times.
  8. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking.
  9. Although English could also be spoken, it's an honest idea to rent an interpreter so as to avoid any misunderstandings.
  10. At the top of a gathering, some Germans signal their approval by rapping their knuckles on the tabletop.
  11. There may be a strict protocol to follow when entering a room:
  12. The eldest or highest ranking person enters the space first.
  13. Men enter before women, if their age and standing are roughly equivalent.

Business Negotiation

  1. Do not sit until invited and told where to take a seat. There's a rigid protocol to be followed.
  2. Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times.
  3. Treat the method with the formality that it deserves.
  4. Germany is heavily regulated and very bureaucratic.
  5. Germans like better to get right down to business and only engage within the briefest of chitchat. They're going to have an interest in your credentials.
  6. Make sure your printed material is out there in both English and German.
  7. Contracts are strictly followed.
  8. You must not be twiddling thumbs and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol. Germans are detail- oriented and need to know every innuendo before coming to an agreement.
  9. Business is hierarchical. Decision-making is held at the highest of the corporate .
  10. Final decisions are translated into rigorous, comprehensive action steps that you simply can expect are going to be administered to the letter.
  11. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high- pressure tactics. It is often counterproductive.
  12. Once a choice is formed, it'll not be changed.


Read our guide to German management culture for more information on this subject.

Dress Etiquette

  1. Business dress is modest, formal and conservative.
  2. Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.
  3. Women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses.
  4. Do not wear ostentatious jewellery or accessories.


Many Germans are  hooked to international travel, and taking foreign holidays is a crucial part of the life-style. In fact, Germany spends more per capita on international travel than the other country in Europe.

The biggest holiday destinations for Germans are Italy, Spain, and Austria. Thanks to the country sharing nine land borders with other countries.

Food and Drink

German food culture revolves round the preparation of hearty meals. Meat in Germany is extremely popular and is usually eaten with most meals, along side bread and potatoes. German cooking includes national dishes like Rouladen, German noodles (Spätzle) and Schnitzel.

On a day-to-day basis, a cooked breakfast, a cooked lunch, and a dinner of bread, ham, cheese, and pickle might be considered typical. Dining out is popular, and cities and towns are all home to a variety of nutriment stops, bakeries (namely German or Turkish), deli outlets, German and international gourmet restaurants(increasingly within the bigger cities), food markets, pop-ups, and street food.

Traditional clothes

Traditional clothing in Germany includes the world-famous Lederhosen, an outfit once worn by rural men, traditionally those undertaking farm work or manual labour. A knee-length set of breeches complete with braces, worn over a brief sleeve shirt, Lederhosen are traditionally related to Bavarian and Tyrolean culture.

For women, traditional German clothes include the Dirndl, a dress made up of a bodice, pinafore and skirt. The shirt underneath is typically low cut and made with short puffy sleeves. Today these clothes are not any longer seen on farm workers but on the staff and partygoers at beer festivals.

Religion in Germany

In Germany, a percentage of 65 to 70 of individuals recognize themselves as Christians, 29% of which are Catholics. There is also a Muslim minority of 4.4%. A variety as high as 36% does not identify itself as having any religion or belong to a religion different from Christianity or Muslim.


World’s most famous classical composers, as Bach and Beethoven, who have marked the transition of music between the classical and romantic to western serious music are Germans, who were born and died in Germany. Other famous composers from Germany are Brahms, Schubert, Handel, Telemann, Orff etc.

Nowadays, Germany is home to several music festivals, ranging from electronic music to hip-hop and rock & roll. The most important music festival in Germany, which is additionally one among the most important within the world, is the Rock am Ring festival which gathers artists and performers, also music fans from everywhere on the planet.

Germany also has many opera houses, which also function as a tourist attraction for foreign visitors.


The country has skilled a tumultuous history, the signs of which are evident in its rich and diverse architecture. Its palaces, castles, cathedrals and monuments best tell the story of Germany. Amphitheaters, spas and roman bridges are a part of the traditional architecture and the civilization that bloomed within the territory that today is German. Pre-Romanesque architecture consists of churches as the Abbey Church of Saint Michael’s that dates back to the start of the 10th century. Whereas, during the Romanesque period, tons of cathedrals were built, which have survived through time until today.

The Cologne Cathedral also as many other cathedrals were built during the Gothic era. The Renaissance, which bloomed between the 15th and 17th centuries, is characterized by castles and palaces such as Heidelberg castle or the ducal Landshut Residence.

Baroque architecture arrived in Germany within the 18th century. Some representatives are Wurzburg Residence and the Augustusburg Castle, which have survived through time until today, and are among the tourist attractions that gather tons of tourists.

Buildings like that of the Semper Opera in Dresden, the Schwerin Palace and the Ulm Cathedral belong to the historicism architecture. As for the fashionable era, it consists of buildings like Einstein Tower, Berlin Modernism Housing Estates and the Gliwice Radio Tower.


The German art has played an important role within the development and shaping of the Western art, especially of the Celtic art, Carolingian art and therefore the Ottonian art.

Painting and sculptures in Gothic style were very famous in Europe, including Germany. The highlight of the 15th century was the planning of altarpieces. Generations of German artists explored and showed their skills in Baroque and Rococo style as of Neoclassicism. Romanticism is additionally a important part of the German art.

Some of the foremost famous German paintings are “The Sin” by Franz Stuck, “Wanderer above the ocean of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich, “Studio Wall” by Adolf Menzel, “Heller Altarpiece” by Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald etc.


Paying deference to the dead is a component of each culture. In Germany, the funeral lasts 3 to 4 days after the death of the person. Relatives and friends visit the relations of the dead. A priest and ministrants, wearing black and violet robes participate within the first day of the funeral.

Before the burial, the coffin is taken at the church where the priest says the requiem and sprinkles the coffin with water. Then the bells toll and therefore the mourners take the coffin to the cemetery, where they place it on the grave. After the short speech and prayers by the priest, the loved ones of the dead say their last goodbye and canopy the coffin with soil.

The Education System in Germany

Germany’s institutions of upper education are internationally accredited – consistent with the tutorial Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), 6 of the top 100 and 18 of the top 200 universities within the world are German. Studying here will place you among a number of the oldest and most established universities within the world.

Public and personal Universities

There are 400 public universities in Germany, which are attended by 95% of the college student population. These institutions are state funded, meaning that students do not pay tuition fees (apart from a little administrative cost at the beginning of every semester). There also are around 120 private institutions, which do not receive government funding and are not state regulated, meaning that they set their own tuition fees.

Career Opportunities after learning German

  1. Immigration Settlement Liaison Officer
  2. Multiculturalism Project Officer
  3. Many positions in tourism
  4. Cultural or International Adaptation Specialist
  5. Intergovernmental Affairs Officer
  6. Multiple occupations in diplomatic corps, foreign and cultural affairs
  7. Interpreter
  8. Terminologist
  9. Teaching positions after completion of a degree in education.
  10. German language course is a serious asset within the international marketplace.

Why learn German at Langma School of languages

Over 100 million people speak German worldwide as native speakers, and it is the second most generally spoken language after English. Learning German opens you up to business in places like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and also the other areas of the planet that count German as a politician language.

Even some unexpected places, like Italy and Poland, have sectors of German Dialects, and German immigrants have profoundly influenced the US. German courses provide you not only with the mental stimulation of learning a replacement language but the prospect to create business and private relationships with German speakers.

German is usually forgotten in favour of learning other languages like English, French, and Spanish. However, there are many reasons to find out German. It's one among the three official languages within the European Union, and it's the language with most native speakers in Europe. Germany has the most important economy in Europe. So, speaking German exposes many business opportunities. Germany also has many excellent universities where education is nearly freed from charge, in German.

German is usually described as a difficult language, but if you already know English, you get tons for free of charge since they're both Germanic languages. This makes especially vocabulary learning tons easier since there are tons of similarities. If you furthermore may know another Germanic like Dutch or Swedish, it'll even be much easier to select up the German pronunciation.

Our intensive and evening courses provide you with the chance to find out German from the bottom up and to reinforce your language skills within the areas that are most vital to you. Choosing the proper course depends on the goals you would like to accomplish and therefore the expectations you would like to satisfy . We'll be happy to answer your questions and advise you on finding the course that most accurately fits you. All our courses provide a relaxed learning environment with experienced teachers who are here to assist . We glance forward to having you!

We regularly offer small group intensive courses and evening courses in the least levels. These courses specialise in the foremost important aspects of German – that is from vocabulary and grammar to social and cultural studies. Our range of German courses also includes one-on-one private lessons with the main target being structured on your choice, also as preparation courses for the Test DAF and telc C1 Hochschule.

What are the levels of German language?

When you come to settle on a German course, you will find that the choices are divided into different levels. Here are the most levels that you're going to probably want to attain:

  1. A1: What's taught in German A1 level? rock bottom of the 6 levels, A1 provides a basic grounding in grammar and vocabulary, and may be a prerequisite to figure in occupations like childcare. Courses generally take 4-6 weeks.
  2. A2: Moving up the size , A2 enables students to start to precise themselves with more complex sentences and vocabulary. Again, it's always obtained over 4-6 week courses.
  3. B1: Far more grammar is included here, also as extended discussions, often about current events. Generally divided into B1.1 and B1.2, which add up to eight weeks of tuition.
  4. B2: How long does it fancy to learn German B2? At B2, students take 8 further weeks to find out the basics of excellent written and spoken German. Concepts concerning politics, education, and work are introduced, and syntax becomes far more important. So in total, most students reach B2 within 14-16 weeks of starting a 1-year course.
  5. C1: Students study C1 over 8 more weeks, and receive a deeper understanding of the way to read complex German sentences. With this certificate, reading Goethe should be within your grasp, so why not start to explore the wonders of German literature.
  6. C2: the very best certificate, C2 take longer to realize, and is typically taught via one-on-one classes. It provides almost flawless German skills, and is the course of choice for professionals.


Whatever level of German you select to study; examinations are going to be a part of the package in all cases, there will be a mixture of listening, speaking, and written components. At A1 and A2 levels, the examinations will not be particularly be difficult, and therefore the questions should be very simple. A2 differs from A1 by having slightly more in-depth questions, and therefore has to use or comprehend longer words in additional complex sentences.

At B1 level, students will need a vocabulary of over 2,000 words, knowledge of clauses, a robust grasp of syntax, and therefore the ability to know spoken German at TV or movie speeds.

B2 is analogous to B1, but with a way tighter emphasis on speaking about German life. Knowledge of German culture, politics, and economics may help here and therefore the level of accuracy required is haunted a notch, as well.

C1 requires almost fluency in speaking and writing German, so at this stage it is advisable to immerse yourself in German. Practice makes perfect here, both for tightening up sentences, and mastering complex listening tasks.

Finally, C2 takes C1 to a different level, with extended essays and a requirement to return across sort of a native German. At that stage, students should be virtually fluent.


  1. Here is a summary of the foremost important facts regarding German classes:
  2. Lessons are taught live by experienced teachers at Langma School of Languages.
  3. A proven curriculum and course material from the intensive courses.
  4. All skills – speaking, writing, reading, listening and grammar – also are covered within the online German language course.
  5. A powerful learning platform with virtual rooms for lessons and group work.
  6. Different courses and timelines are available to settle on from the flexible range of online courses. This enables students who cannot visit Germany to attend a German course, or the ones who would really like to continue studying after a German course at Langma School of languages to access the high-quality German language learning from the comfort of their home.

Intensive German Courses

The intensive German courses comprise 30 lessons of 45 minutes per week taught from Monday to Friday. The effective instruction covers all areas of language acquisition (reading, listening, speaking, writing and grammar). We attach importance to small classes with approximately 10 students taught by experienced teachers. In this manner, students can improve their level of German quickly.

The intensive courses are often booked for a duration of two weeks or longer. For long-term courses of 10 weeks, we provide particularly favourable course fees. The German courses in levels A1, A2 and B1 are each 5-week long. The German courses in levels B2, C1 and C2 each has duration of 10 weeks. Select the course consistent with your needs at rock bottom of this page under the tab “Intensive Courses”.

One-to-one Intensive Courses

Students in one-to-one courses can choose from 25, 30 or 40 lessons of 45 minutes per week. The course content is customized to the requirements of every course participant and should comprise both general specific topics like Business German, for instance. One-to-one intensive courses are often for a duration of 1 week or longer.

Part-time German Courses

At LANGMA SCHOOL OF LANGUAGES, German courses also are offered as part-time courses. Evening German classes comprise 6 lessons per week on Tuesday and Thursday. The German classes on Saturday comprise 5 lessons each weekend. Part-time courses are especially fitted to students who wish to find out German while working full-time. The 2 part-time courses are offered for German language levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Express viewpoints and develop arguments confidently in German, incorporating
  2. some sentence structures. Students can expect to realize approximately the B2 level or higher of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) 
  3. Use the language for tutorial purposes, e.g. essay writing with referencing, class presentations, and research associated with the German and associated cultures
  4. Read, understand, and analyse German literary texts, films, and a variety of print, visual and digital media within the context of German-speaking cultures
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the fashionable history of the German-speaking countries
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