Why German is the Language of the Future

Why German is the Language of the Future

Read about the many ways in which German will be an important part of the world’s linguistic future

July 23, 2014

German is often considered the language of scientific communication, as scientists in the early 20th century would publish their findings in the German language. However, there are a few other reasons why German should be considered the language of the future. And no, I don't mean because German fans fell head over heels in love with David Hasselhoff (who in turn recorded songs in German)!

German is an official language in five European countries (Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland) and is spoken by roughly 100 million Europeans. By comparison, there are only about 67 million French and 65 million English speakers in Europe.

Fun German Fact #1: Did you know that in 1916, Germany was the first country to adopt daylight savings time?

Beyond the basic numbers of speakers, the German language itself is reason enough to be seen as the language of the future. German is über-descriptive, often combining the object with the activity. For example, the word Fern (far) combined with sehen (to see) results in Fernsehen (TV watching). This is perfectly logical and so easy to remember.

Another reason why the German language is so widely used in Europe is due to its—albeit sparse—use of compound words. Consider the following sequence:

  • Papier (paper)
  • Papierkorb (wastepaper basket)
  • Papierkorbgesellschaft (waste paper basket company)
  • Papierkorbgesellchaftspräsident (waste paper basket company president)
  • Papierkorbgesellchaftspräsidentenbüro (waste paper basket company president's office)
  • Papierkorbgesellschaftspräsidentenbüroteppich (waste paper basket company president's office carpet)

According to the rules of German grammar, this organic process of creating long compound words is perfectly acceptable. Just think of the freedom of expression this creates!

Fun German Fact #2: Did you know cold calling (Kaltakquise) is illegal in Germany?

(The following requires a sense of humor, not necessarily a German one.)

Lastly, the German sense of humor will ensure that its language will remain relevant for many a generation to come. Consider the distinction that the following books are among the world’s shortest books:

  • Brevity In Musical Expression by Richard Wagner
  • Best Friends – My Time With Franz Josef Strauß by Willy Brandt
  • All German Vegetarian Recipes found on Google
  • What are some other long German words? Know of a good German joke (or vegetarian recipe)? Add them in the comments section.

    Photo courtesy of fdecomite on Flickr

    Reinhold Lange
    Reinhold is the Director of Digital Strategy at Middlebury Interactive Languages and came to Vermont as a student at Middlebury College. A former code monkey, he loves all most things tech and hopes to contribute to making education more equitable. He enjoys great food and drink but is terrible at telling jokes.
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