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German Language

German Alphabet

Letter   Sound in German
a   father
ä   ay sound like in day
b   boy, or p sound if it is the last letter in the word
c   can be either the k or s sound
d   dog , or t sound if the last letter in the word
e   also the ay sound like in day
f   frog
g   go, or k sound if last letter in the word
h   silent unless it precedes a vowel and then it is pronounced
i   ee sound in street
j   zh sound in mirage
ch or k   kit
l   long
m   monkey
n   nose
o   open
ö   oo sound in tool
p   pan
q   k sound in kit, always followed by silent u
r   combine D and L sounds
s   sing
ß   pass
t or th    time
u   ou sound in you or too
ü   longer ou sound
v   f sound in fast, v sound- in non-Germanic words
w   v sound in violin
x   exit
y   yellow
z   ts sound in cats

Note: There are NO silent vowels. This makes it fairly simple, just make sure to pronounce the double vowel sounds.

Weather in Germany

The climate is more continental in the east with very cold winters and very warm, dry summers. Central and southern Germany vary from moderately oceanic to continental climates. The majority of Germany has a temperate climate with humid westerly winds. The climate is affected by warm water from the North Atlantic Drift. Consequently, the north and north-west climate is oceanic with rainfall occurring year round. Winters are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 85 °F for long periods of time.

German Music, Sports & Art

Most Germans lead a very active life. Soccer is the most popular sport, with marksmanship and tennis just behind. Basketball, hockey, handball, and volleyball are also very popular. Historically, Germany is one of the strongest competitors in the Olympics.

Germany claims many of the most renowned classical composers of the world like Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Strauss, and Wagner. Germany continues to influence music today, being in the top ten of the largest music markets of the world.

There are several famous artists from Germany, like: Albrecht Dürer, Rubens, and Max Ernst.

Politics of Germany

Germany has the third largest economy in the world and the largest in Europe, but it started out as tribes. The country went through a range of rulers or ruling parties, including Emperors William I and II, and Hitler's Third Reich. World War II resulted in the death of over 10 million Germans (not to mention the millions of lives lost in Poland and other nations of the world). West Germany established a liberal parliamentary republic and allied itself with the United States, the UK and France. Eventually, West Germany experienced economic growth (in the early 1950s). The Berlin Wall (more than just a symbol of the Cold War) was built in 1961 and came down in 1989, allowing East Germans to travel to the West.

Germany is now a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The system operates by the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). After German reunification in 1990 the Grundgesetz remained in effect with minor amendments, despite attempts of replacing it with a constitution. Amendments to the Grundgesetz require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of parliament.

The Chancellor is the head of government and exercises executive power. The first woman Chancellor in German history was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. Federal legislative power is held by parliament: the Bundestag (Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council). The Bundestag members are elected to office, while the Bundesrat (represent the governments of the sixteen federal states) are appointed and removed by their state cabinet.

Religion in Germany

Most of the German population (about 60%) is Catholic or Protestant. Over a quarter of the population is atheist or agnostic. The remaining 15% are Muslim, Jewish, or unknown.

There are several theologians from German history: Feuerbach, Martin Luther, Rudolf Otto, and Schleiermacher.

Food of Germany

Meat is a popular cuisine (particularly sausage). Germans are famous for sauerkraut, bratwurst, and of course, beer. A typical dinner meal consists of meat, potatoes, and vegetables.

Localization

Standard or High German (Hochdeutsch) sometimes seems like a minority amongst the myriad of German dialects. Thankfully, most German speaking people will switch to Hochdeutsch if they notice that you don't understand their accent or dialect. Here is a summation of several of the regional German dialects:

  • Niederdeutsch or Low German (or Plattdeutsch) refers to an area, not an economical position, along the north lowlands. Friesisch or Frisianis a subdialect of Niederdeutsch spoken along the north coast. There is also Niederfrankisch or Low Franconian, and Niedersachsisch or Low Saxon.
  • Mitteldeutsch or Middle German is spoken through the middle of Germany and has many subdialects. Frankisch or Frankish is found in the center of Germany. Others in this region are Rheinfrankish or Rhine Franconian, Thuringisch or Thuringian, Obersachsisch or Upper Saxon, Schlesisch or Silesian. Oberdeutsch or Upper German has the most dialects or subdialects:
    • Ober-Frankisch or Upper Franconian has Sud-Frankisch or South Franconian and Ostfrankish or East Franconian;
    • Alemannisch or Alemannic is spoken in northern Switzerland and bordering areas in Germany and has Schwabish or Swabian, and Niederalemannisch varieties.
    • Bairisch-Osterreichisch or Bavarian-Austrian is spoken in the Austria and bordering areas of Germany and is found in these flavors: Nord-Bayerisch, Mittel-Bayerisch, Sud-Bayerisch.

Hopefully you have been able to learn a little bit about the German culture. If you are simply looking to learn German, you will soon learn how important culture is when you learn a language. There are plenty of free resources available here to help you to learn German. If you want to talk about love or you are looking for German greetings, you must visit the German phrases page. There are also many German words in many different categories from which you can learn. In addition, you can learn over 350 German verbs and how to conjugate them with free audio flash cards and step-by-step instructions.

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