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Thank you Germany: Part 004: German is a unique language


Anyone who has grown up in Germany or lived here for a long time learns to appreciate the German language. There are few other languages in which words can be formed for so long.

Danube steamship company captain’s widow is just one example. Composites are formed in German simply by putting different components together. Unlike in English, for example, this can create veritable tapeworms. The most important part is usually at the end.

It is no different with whole sentences. Few other languages can form such beautiful nested sentences. The actual activity can be pushed to the very end of the sentence in the form of the verb denoting it. German is thus correspondingly complicated. But it is also particularly unique. Many beautiful little words can also be found in its vocabulary.

The many writers who have been active in the country over the centuries have come up with quite a few. When Germany chooses its most beautiful word of the year, many linguistic “belongings” are expressed. Just as children keep beautiful finds in their pockets, the language has also preserved many a very special name over the years. German preserves many of them. But the language is not lacking in renewal either. It has a lively youth language that changes anew with each generation.

The digital age and communication via the internet have also had an impact on the language. Even if some of the current neologisms come from the English-speaking world, there are also many beautiful German idioms. In any case, Germans can be particularly proud of their language. This is also evident in the music scene. Even though German folk music may have a bad reputation, bands like “Einstürzende Neubauten”, “Die Toten Hosen” or “KIZ” inspire a wide audience with their German lyrics.

Whatever musical taste everyone may have – all bands prove the special expressiveness of the German language. The path from poem to music, however, is not far. Originally, many poems were sung. The songs of today’s bands are also precisely composed. They have worked precisely on the linguistic material. There are rules that have been established for the artistic use of language. Rhyme and rhythm need to be well coordinated.

The metre must be right in the poem. In pop music, punk and rap, too, people know how to use the German language correctly. The audience appreciates the lyrics of their favourite band just as much as the special rhythm of their songs. In lyrics and music, many artists have proven time and again that you can do great things with the German language. But some lyrics also wonderfully express the despair of a lack of expressiveness.

Even if one is at a loss for words, this can be expressed quite wonderfully in German. No wonder German literature and philosophy also had their language crisis. In the end, however, everyone clings to the special possibilities of this language. Some exiles returned to Germany after 1945 only because of it. It is possible to say very special things with the German language.

Last updated on 6. February 2023

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