Which language is most similar to Turkish

Which languages ​​are most similar to German?

The German language is like a motley house. It gathers a multitude of dialects under one roof, some of which differ so much from one another that they could almost be counted as separate languages ​​again (but they don't). At the same time, in her extensive family tree there are close relatives who are surprisingly easy to understand because they are quite similar to German. So the situation is tricky: Who is the closest relative and who is just a distant dialect? And does “closely related” inevitably also mean “easily understandable”? Here you can find out which six languages ​​are most similar to German.

1. Most similar language with controversial status: Low German

Dialect or language? Despite the 5 million people who speak Low German as a first or second language in northern Germany and in the east of the Netherlands, Low German is a shaky candidate in terms of its status as a language. Some linguists only rate it as a dialect of German, while the speakers rate it Plattdüütsch perceive it as an independent language. The different vocabulary (sometimes something of harness heard?) and a grammar deviating from standard German (only three cases, only two articles) is given. In contrast to High German, Low German did not want to take part in the second sound shift either, which is why it did Tied, Ploog and slap instead of time, plow and sleep called. But of course the similarities cannot be dismissed out of hand. Try to read this Wikipedia entry on Plattdüütsch! I think you can understand binah all! So if we turn a blind eye and let Low German pass as our own language, then it is the closest relative of German.

2. Closest official language: Luxembourgish

With Luxembourgish, we remain in the field of tension between “close relatives” and “stubborn dialect”. But at least it is one of the three official languages ​​of Luxembourg, which is even recognized as a minority language by the European Union. Lëtzebuergesch is spoken by around 300,000 people worldwide, 250,000 of whom live in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is closely related to the Moselle Franconian dialects of German, but has adopted many words from French. Some examples:

You're welcomewhen ech lifteds’il vous plaît

Luxembourgish is a real mish-mash of languages, and French expressions are often even confused ... uh, Luxembourgized. But even if you don't speak French, you can certainly understand a lot in Lëtzebuergesch.

3. Nearest independent language: Frisian

We are moving a little further away from German and its controversial dialects and come across a close relative who is definitely a language of its own: Frisian. Strictly speaking, Frisian (also Frysk, Fresco or Frasch) even a group of three language branches that are spoken in northern Germany, Denmark and especially in the Netherlands. Terms like kaai ("Key"), wiet (“Wet”) or skiep (“Sheep”) show the close relationship to English, but the three Frisian languages ​​are also quite similar to German:

GermanWest FrisianNorth FrisianSaterlandic
good Morninggoeie moarnHellomoarn

In the Middle Ages, Frisian was an important language, as the Frisians were considered to be important seafarers and traders on the North Sea coast. Around 1500 Dutch became the official language of the region, and since then Frisian has lost its importance. Today around 550,000 people still speak one of the Frisian languages, most of them in the Netherlands.

4. Most similar minority language: Yiddish

This relative of the German is as multifaceted as its eventful history. Yiddish was mainly used by Ashkenazi Jews in Europe. It emerged from Middle High German and is therefore also a West Germanic language. Hebrew-Aramaic, Romance and Slavic elements were also incorporated. So a little bit of everything. In 1939, with 11 to 13 million speakers, Yiddish was the third largest Germanic language after English and German; today the number of speakers is estimated at around 1.5 million. Most of them have not lived in Europe since the Holocaust, but in New York, London, Antwerp and Jerusalem.

At first glance, Yiddish is a book with seven seals for Germans, because it is written with the Hebrew alphabet. But if you look at inscriptions in Latin letters, things look completely different (here the beginning of the first book of Moses):


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;

and the earth was desolate and confused, and darkness lay over the depths, and the Spirit of God hovered over the water.

In onheyb hot got bashafn dem himl un di erd.

Un di erd iz geven vist un leydik, un fintsternish izgeven oyfngezikht fun thom, un der gayst fun got hot geshvebt oyfn gezikht fun divasers.

Yiddish has not only taken over a lot from German, it has also left its mark on its own. Terms like Ausbaldowern, dump, mess, meschugge, shit and Zoff are just a few of the numerous Yiddish words that have found their way into German.

5. Closest major language: Dutch

We are finally coming to the language that most people probably think of first when they think of languages ​​that are most similar to German. Indeed Nederlands belongs to the West Germanic languages ​​that are now very familiar to us. It is spoken by an estimated 25 million people and can be located somewhere between Low German, Frisian and English. The sentence order is largely the same as in German, even constructions like the German verb brackets are possible: Hij gaat niet op de vraag in ("He goes not on the question a"). In terms of articles, adjectives and plural endings, too, everything is a bit like German.

itemsthe man
the woman
the book
de man
de vrouw
het boek
Adjectivesthe tall man
the great woman
the big house
de grote man
de grote vrouw
het grote huis
Plural formsmany different:
the womanen
the houseshe
The spoons
always on -en or -s:
de vrouwen
de huiz
de lepel

That is why Dutch is one of the easiest languages ​​for Germans to learn. And as a bonus on top of that, knowing Dutch also understands Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa and Namibia.

6. Nearest world language: English

The world language English is also closely related and is therefore similar to German in many ways. In the early Middle Ages, North Sea Germanic peoples like the Angles imported their language to Britain, where it developed from early Anglo-Saxon to today's English. In comparison with the other West Germanic languages, however, English has developed one or the other peculiarity. It has lost the verb second property (the rule that the verb is always in the second position in the main clause) and the verb inflections have been reduced to a minimum (in the present tense there is only that -s for the third person singular: hey makes). Furthermore, the English only has one specific article (the) and also case markings and the endings of adjectives gradually went flute. So English as a stripped-down variant of its Germanic ancestors should be easy to understand for people with German as their mother tongue, right?

Well, there are two problems: The spelling of English was fixed in the 15th and 16th centuries with the invention of the book press - and has not been adapted much since then, while the pronunciation has constantly changed. This means that the spelling no longer has much to do with the pronunciation. The second aspect that sets English apart from its relatives is the strong French influence due to the Norman occupation. Nevertheless, the language relationship makes it easier for Germans to learn English. And what language could be more practical than world language number one?