German is a West Germanic language and is spoken by approximately 100 million native spreakers. Further 80 million speakers, use it as a second language. With these many speakers, German is one of the major languages in the world and an official language in the European Union. The largest population of native speakers can be found in Germany, but Austria and Switzerland also have a high percentage of a German-speaking population. Furthermore, in Liechtenstein and Luxemburg, the majority of the population is speaking German as well. Smaller German-speaking communities can be found in Italy, Belgium and even in Middle and Eastern Europe.
The widespread regions in which German is spoken also results in great number of dialects and accents that vary widely in different regions and countries. German has a long history and throughout the many years, many factors influenced the grammar and the lexis of the language. There are a lot of borrowings from Latin when it comes to special terms of certain fields, like science, architecture, or religion. These terms still exist today. French and Greek also influenced German. Especially aristocratic circles left a mark on the language, because they preferred to speak French instead of German, which in their opinion did not sound as good as the French language did.
The German language is rather versatile. There are 15 vowel phonemes in German's vowel system, which makes it a large system and one that is also used very frequently in active conversation. Belonging to those vowel system Other peculiarities are the frequent use of diphthongs (au, eu, ei) and the high capability to form words. One can see that in the large amount of compounds
Furthermore, there are four cases in German: nominative, genitive, accusative and dative.
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