Have you ever thought of learning a second language but don’t have the idea what language to choose? Probably, you’re interested to take the lesson for the sake of your job, business or vacation. Maybe, you’re an English speaker and you are fascinated with French and German.
Whatever language has captivated you, think of a way that is closest to your first language. That’s the best way to do if you are confused about how to choose which language is perfect for you. In this article, I will be delving into the similarities between English and German language, their differences and related factors.
Is English more similar to French or German? By linguist criteria English is more similar to German, both belong in the West Germanic languages and its vocabulary has been influenced by other Germanic languages as well.
The relationship between these two languages began in ancient times and both languages are closely related linguistically, siblings.
Though English vocabulary was significantly influenced by French, however, French is a Romance language which belongs to the Indo-European family, not a West Germanic language.
For more information you can watch more here:
Is English Really a Germanic Language?
How Similar English to German?
These two languages have a lot of similarities both have descended from one root language. Listed below their similarities and how they’re related from one another.
German and English belong to the Germanic languages
These two languages are recently dived from Proto-Germanic, which was used as a spoken language for thousands of years.
Historically, the proto- West Germanic language was spoken in northern Germany and gradually spread to the south and north westwards, later on it became globally spread with European colonization.
It was reported that over a third of English (non-technical lexicons) or 80 of 100 English words were rooted from Germanic language and commonly spoken words of English and German.
English and German shared the same alphabet
English and German were influenced by the Latin alphabet which is composed of 26 letters except for a few added letters in the German alphabet which are the umlauted letters: ä, ö, ü, and the ß (scharfes S or double-s).
English learners are lucky – they can write straight in the German language easily.
German and English grammar both follows the same grammatical rules
English speakers who are interested to learn German will find this aspect a bit easier.
German and English have similarity on grammatical rules.
German has 4 cases; Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive whilst English have only 3 cases nominative, accusative, and genitive for pronouns.
These two languages have the same changes on tenses and similar basic rule to some other verbs as well.
Consequently, from the start an English speaker have the edge of understanding the German verb patterns.
Widely spoken languages
We all know that English is the universal language and widely spoken all throughout the globe. German is tremendously spoken language in the European Union. German has widely spoken with over 100 million native speakers whilst English in 360–400 million native speakers around the globe.
German is spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and South Tyrol in Italy, the other German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein.
Both use Arabic numbering systems
German and English used the Arabic numerals and numbering system. They used numbers of sequences from 0-9 digits but, in German the numerals have different names.
See some examples of the place value of tens:
The suffix ‘teen’ is replaced by ‘zehn’ and still the basic pattern remains the same.
Enhance your employment prospects
Speaking of significance, particularly in the employment industry German and English have the same importance in the field of business. Germany have heard as one of the top countries in branding, trading and marketing.
If you’re an entrepreneur, or a businessman, investing in Germany is pretty good and dealing in business while speaking in German or English is something that can give you an opportunity to close the deal. Having these skills elevates you to more opportunities.
Words sound similar
Apart from the numerous words which these languages, shared there are several words that sound similar.
This is a plus point to English and German speakers as they possibly can recognize what words mean.
German and English are words similar in pronunciation, but there were times that consonant sounds fairly changed. The pronunciation and meaning of the words are similar.
All about German language
What are the differences between English and German?
English and German belong to the Germanic languages of the Indo-European language family. These two languages, shared a variety of features and they are linguistically siblings, no wonder that Germans quickly learn English easily and vice versa.
However, there are some factors of German that intervene with the right production of English. Enlisted below some differences;
The umlauted letters and the scharfes
The German alphabet and the English alphabet are the same with 26 letters, but in German there are added letters which are called umlauted letters and the scharfes.
There’s a confusion problem when spelling out the words – sometimes ‘i’ is pronounced as ‘e’ and ‘e is pronounced as ‘r’.
Word sounds; stress and intonation patterns are the same in German and English. But, the /th/ sound likes for example the word ‘the’ is difficult to produce in German language, many learners struggle in pronouncing the /th/ sound correctly.
German words that start with a /w/ are pronounced with a /v/. This explains the changes of pronunciation of the English words we or wine as ve and vine.
German does not have this eccentricity unlike English. Every “e” at the end of a word makes a sound -“Porsche.” Each letter that you hear is utilized in the spelling, and every letter creates a sound. Occasionally, it can be hard because they mixed some letter altogether when English don’t, e.g. as “p” and “f.”
In German in this case, both the “p” and “f,” should be pronounced even if they are next to one another. Nevertheless of how sensitive it is to say the words, they are easy to spell.
Punctuation and Noun
German punctuation rules are more complex than English. In German all nouns are capitalized, without exception, unlike English. In English the proper nouns are written in capital letters and the pronoun ‘I’ is written in capital letters too whilst German does not capitalize pronouns except if it is in the beginning of the sentence.
Parts of Speech
German is an inflected language means the parts of speech changes accordingly when used in the sentence.
German has long words
To English speakers, are familiar with compound words and root words and Germans as well, but on a huge scale. Some German words connected four to five words together to make it a long compound word.
Verb “to have” is used to express feeling
In English, to talk about feelings we used “being” and “am.” In German, “to have” is used instead.
There’s a wide list of words that were used in German language. Watch out for “to have” conjugations in your lessons.
German don’t use an “article”
Unlike in English, German, don’t use an article when addressing a profession or a nationality. When a famous celebrity addressed himself to the people of Berlin instead of saying, “I am a Berliner,” he said, “I am a jelly donut.” People in Berlin knew what he meant.
History: English Language and German language
Along with Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans – English and German belong both to West Germanic languages. However, English and German split for about 1,500 years ago.
English was first used in early medieval period in England. The origin forms of English are so-called Old English, a set of Anglo-Frisian dialects carried to Great Britain by Germanic settlers or known as Anglo-Saxon in the 5th century.
In England the Normans were invaded, and carried some influences of their language which was a Northern Germanic language. From the time where the Normans were invaded Northern and Western Germanic languages had divided. Their words are included in the English vocabulary like, Husband, berserk, die, fog, fellow, gust, knife and the other is ‘are’ and many more.
In the year 1066 the France was invaded and brought their vocabulary. The leaders spoke French whilst the rustic spoke English – meaning French was used only for governance, law, etc. not in daily lives of people living like the rustic people did.
English belongs in West Germanic language that was spoken in ancient, medieval England and finally became a universal “lingua Franca.” It was derived after the name Angles which one of the Germanic clans that migrated to the country of Great Britain that afterwards got their name, as England.
Through the widespread influence of the British Empire, and afterwards the United States, Modern English has been sweeping all over the world since the 17th century. Through all kinds of printed and electronic system media, and incite by the emergence of the United States as a universal.
English has become the majority language of international communication and the lingua Franca in many districts and educational contexts such as science, law, etc. It is a vast language by many of the speakers and the most learned second languages and either the authorized language or the official language in most 60 monarch states.
German is also one of among three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-authorized language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. It is the second most globally spoken Germanic language, after English.
Moreover, German is also the second most taught foreign language in the EU (European Union) after English at the grade school level, and the 4th most enormously taught non-English language in the US.
On the other hand, English gone most of its inflections and gender of nouns. So there are remaining several common words, certain verbs, vocabulary meaning and others that are similar or closely the same in German and English.
In other words, you can find similarities between the two languages; however, they are by now partly different languages. It takes months of learning to become skilled in the other language, and the grammatical rules have changed slightly too.
Does German Understand English Language?
Yes, a great number of Germans learned the English language at school and understand so it’s easy for them to grasp English like when strangers asking for directions, and so forth. However, there are areas that you hardly find Germans who can understand English particularly in Leipzig or Dresden and other towns and villages.
They totally comprehend and speak English like in big cities in Berlin or Frankfurt. A lot of subways have public announcements both in German and English and in terminal, ports and trains. Sometimes they are not perfect grammatically, but you will understand the way they communicate.
In truth, the tourist information center is in English such as instructions, guides, etc. and they will provide you all the essential details in English with maps.
A lot of local people understand English and if you are looking for someone to talk to then go to the coffee shops or some big retail store. They all speak fluently in English.
What are the differences between English and French languages?
The difference between these two languages is that English belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Germanic Languages, whereas French is a Romance language, so it is related to Spanish and Italian.
Also, English has 60% words of German roots, and only around 30,000 French words have enlisted in the English language.
The English was vastly influenced by the French during the period of Norman overrun of Britain in the 11th century. Because of the invasion these two languages have grammatical common and many cognates.
The alphabet they used have great differences, English as 26 letters while French has 26 letters too, but, with diacritics acute accent, grave accent, circumflex and diereses.
French and English languages have differences in sound system and speech production. It results to spelling errors from the lack of communication between producing the sound and spelling.
Another aspect of English spoken by French learners is the removal of the /h/ sound at the first letter of the words.
In grammar they have also a distinct verb that may overlap. They have auxiliaries, participles, active/passive voice, past/present/future tenses. But, there is diverse obstructing in the production of English.
A common problem is the wrong use of tenses. Despite the outside similarities of verb grammar, there are times when French utilized a different tense to carry a particular meaning than English. Because French doesn’t use the auxiliary “do,” learners may have difficulty in making questions.
French and English shared SOV syntax there are various aspects in the word order of the sentence structure more complex.
When using the article in French is the same, however, not similar to that in English. French pronouns are basing on the gender of the noun they are accompanied with; and the possessive adjectives collaborate with the nouns used.
French vocabulary and English have similar Latin roots and are similarly understandable, but only to Academic or educational contexts, not in daily vocabulary which are used in conversation. They called it “false friends.”
If you noticed there are a many of French and English differences that’s why they are not linguistically siblings.
To some people learning a new language can be a scary experience. This is not really the case as every person has the ability to learn and learning a language is a skill that can be developed. The secret to not being anxious is to believe that you can and to enjoy the journey.
By linguists criteria English and German are closely related. Almost all the English sentence structure, word order, vocabulary and so forth are similar to the German.
Hence, there are differences in between that German seems profound to learn compared to other languages.
Nowadays, however, you are noticing many borrowed words from English that often provide origin German words such as: Ticket, Management, Marketing, bloggen, cheaten, scannen and many more. If you stroll down on the German street, 50% of the store names contain at least one English word in their name.
German grammar is not particularly difficult contributed that, it is taught early in the lesson and, as far as feasible, methodically as an interlocking system. But, schools in Britain frequently reject to teach grammar at all and just utilized foreign phrase-book material.
Perhaps the harshest difference is that German is not flexible as the English language – there’s a grammatical rule in German language and a few exceptions.
The similarity of sentence structures makes it simple to start to get it a little faster.
Above all, for me, my overall verdict of which is more similar to English is the German language when basing the linguist criteria. Whatever the reasons the German language is related to West-Germanic language compared to French. Otherwise, the classification of a language family is void or invalid if this is not accepted as one of the basis in classifying languages.