AILS Séjours linguistiques

The Origin of the German Language

The German language is a Germanic language belonging to the Indo-European language family. Its history dates back to the time of the migration of the Germanic peoples, which took place in the last centuries before our era. The Germanic tribes began to move from Scandinavia and northern Germany to the south and west of Europe, bringing with them their language and culture.

Over time, the Germanic language evolved and diversified into several regional dialects, including High German and Low German. High German originated in the mountainous regions of southern Germany, while Low German emerged in the coastal regions of northern Germany.

In the Middle Ages, German began to become an important literary language. Poets and writers started using German to write works of literature, theater, and music. In the 16th century, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, which contributed to the spread of the language throughout Germany.

Modern German, as we know it today, emerged from a linguistic standardization that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. Linguists and grammarians created a common linguistic standard for German, primarily based on the dialects of southern Germany. This standard is known as "Standard High German."

Today, German is spoken by approximately 100 million people worldwide, mainly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It is also an important language in European business and culture, and it is widely used as a second or foreign language in many countries.

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