What Languages Are Similar to German?

June 15, 2023

If you’re a native English speaker, and you want to learn another language that is simple to pronounce — but not too easy — then German might be a good option. It’s a part of the Germanic language family, which includes Dutch and Danish.

Other Germanic languages such as Swedish and Norwegian can be difficult for English speakers to master. For example, the German letter combination ch, which sounds like f in many English words, is pronounced differently in Swedish and Norwegian (or even not at all).

German is an inflected language with four cases for nouns and pronouns (nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative), three genders, and two numbers. It also has a complicated system of vowel pronunciation, including long and short vowels and diphthongs. The language is famous for the Nibelungenlied and the fairy tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century.

Despite its complexities, German has a high level of lexical similarity with modern English. This is largely due to the fact that the two languages developed from the same West Germanic language around 2,000 years ago. Additionally, both German and English have borrowed some words from each other over the centuries. These include the word rucksack, which is German for backpack; the verb spritzer; and the foods pretzel, strudel, and bratwurst, all of which are originally from Germany. In addition, both languages use the same 26 letters and have a large number of common words in their vocabulary due to borrowings from Latin, Greek, and French.


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