Although one of the most important languages in Europe, having more speakers than any other EU language, German is not widespread outside the continent. It is spoken in Germany (naturally), Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Belgium.
It is characterised by its four cases (nominative, accusative, genitive and dative) and its three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). It uses a Latin script but has ß (equivalent to ‘ss’) as a letter which doesn’t occur in English.
The word order in German is very strict, although it seems odd to English speakers. The verb is the second idea in the sentence, but as most English people are aware – there are certain constructions which send the verb scurrying to the end of the sentence, making the final word order quite unlike English.
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