Jasmin Schneider, Account Manager, Birmingham
German is a member of the Indo-European language family and is spoken primarily in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, in two-thirds of Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy) and in parts of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark and Eastern European countries. Click here for a map showing where German is spoken in Europe.
It is the main language of about 100 million people and is the most commonly spoken language in Europe after Russian. French (66.5 million speakers) and English (64.2 million speakers) are the third and fourth most commonly spoken languages in Europe.
The European Union lists “German” as one of its official languages and does not class the Austrian, Swiss and other dialects as separate written languages and Standard German (“Hochdeutsch”) is regarded as the norm relating to vocabulary and pronunciation. However, in terms of how the language is spoken, there are significant differences between German-speaking countries mainly in vocabulary, but also in some instances of pronunciation and even grammar.
For historical reasons, Austrian German includes words from Eastern European languages such as Hungarian. In addition, Austria has its own administrative language derived from the language used during the monarchist period. The spoken language is related to the Bavarian dialect and is therefore best understood by Southern Germans, whereas Northern Germans can experience great difficulties in understanding it.
In Switzerland, the use of Standard German is almost entirely restricted to the written language. The spoken dialects contain many Swiss varieties and differ from Hochdeutsch to a degree that they cannot sometimes be understood by Germans. This poses a problem within Switzerland: French and Italian speakers who learn German at school are taught the standard language, and find they still cannot communicate with their compatriots!
Roevin Translation Services provides localisation to Swiss and Austrian German. If you require a translation into one of these German varieties, please contact us.