If you are considering learning German, know that you will benefit from learning a prominent language of business and culture in the EU and beyond with over 229 million German speakers worldwide. After English, German is the most widely spoken language of the European Union. This is fitting when you consider that German is an official language in numerous countries— including Austria, Belgium, Germany, parts of Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, and Switzerland—and that roughly 10% of all newly published books are written in the German language.
Learning to speak German has a reputation for being a difficult feat. At first glance, German does have some intimidating vocabulary. Mark Twain famously took offense to the “clumsy” tendency of the German language to create compound, multi-syllable words. Take the word Freundschaftsbezeugung, for example, meaning “demonstrations of friendship.” Lengthly, certainly, but before you’ve had even your first German-language lesson, you may be able to begin breaking down this giant. Notice the word starts with “Freund” a cognate of the English word “friend” with the same meaning. 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.