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If the German language seems like it’s everywhere, you may be onto something. German is an official language in many more countries than Germany alone—including Austria, Belgium, parts of Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, and Switzerland. After English, German is the most widely spoken language of the European Union, ranking seventh most powerful language in the world by the World Economic Forum. If that isn’t enough, consider that roughly 10% of all newly published books are written in the German language.
The economy of Germany is a European juggernaut as a massive exporter of highly priced, in-demand goods like pharmaceuticals and automobiles. The business opportunities this brings multinationals translates to a large number of foreign German-language speakers. In fact, nearly 68 percent of Japanese students study the German language. And, with over 128 million people worldwide speaking German as a second or learned language, you will not be alone as you learn the nuts and bolts of German grammar, and take down tricky vocabulary piece by piece.
Learning German has a reputation for being challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to speak English gives you a considerable advantage when learning to speak German. After all, German and English are considered linguistic siblings because they originate from the same mother tongue. Also, because German is a much more phonetically consistent language than English, German words almost always sound the way they are spelled. You can use this phonetic knowledge to successfully pronounce long, multi-syllable words that otherwise might seem too cumbersome to attempt.
Enhance Your German Learning with These Shows, Movies, Songs, and More from the Rosetta Stone blog.
German Language Basics for Business and Beyond
German language learning and familiarizing yourself with the German culture go hand in hand. The difference between communicating confidently in German and being misunderstood comes down to a lot more than vocabulary and grammar. German speakers, for example, are known for being somewhat more literal or frank than English speakers.
Take this common greeting: “How are you?” In English, little response is expected beyond a short one- or two-word answer as it is understood to be a greeting more than a question. For German speakers, however, this question may elicit a straightforward answer with far more detailed information than English speakers would expect.
Discovering that even a common question may not make the desired first impression is a good reason to learn customary German language phrases and cultural conventions. Here are a few to get you started:
To formally introduce yourself, say Guten Tag, mein Name ist … . / Hello, my name is … .
Business cards are commonly exchanged in Germany and are considered an expression of formality and proper business etiquette, so keep a significant supply with you. When it comes times to offer your business card, use the phrase Hier ist meine Visitenkarte. / Here is my card.
In business and other formal settings, the use of last names and the formal “you” (Sie) is expected, as in _Wie heißen Sie? _/ What is your name? As opposed to English, first names normally are not used by German speakers in formal settings at all.
Learn the German Language With Rosetta Stone
Those who learn German are bound to see the benefits of knowing the German language. The German-speaking countries have well-developed economies, and it is common to see job listings that require knowledge of the German language. Knowing some German can also come in handy beyond the office. You might choose to vacation in the German-speaking regions of the Alps, Cologne, or Vienna. You might also choose to read some of the greats in their original language; after all, German is the language of Rilke, Nietzsche, and Goethe.
LEARN THE LANGUAGE, NOT THE JUST THE WORDS.
When you are serious about learning to speak German with confidence, Rosetta Stone is waiting for you. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method prepares you to adapt in new conversations by applying the context of what you already know to new words and phrases–so you’ll learn the language and build upon it with your own experiences.
At Rosetta Stone, we believe every person can learn to read, write and speak German with confidence. We’re giving you a skillset beyond vocabulary. Our Dynamic Immersion® method teaches new words and phrases based on the context in which they’re used, instead of scripts. The world is unscripted, learning German with Rosetta Stone gives you the skills to thrive in real-world conversations and speak German with confidence.
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Surround yourself with German whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.