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  1. The word "German" can be used as a noun or an adjective referring to a person or thing from Germany. "The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany states that men and women have equal rights under the law. Nevertheless, women did not enjoy juridical equality in marriage and the family until new family legislation was passed in 1977. Previously, family law, which had been influenced by the religious orientation of the Christian Democratic and Christian Social parties, had stated that women could seek outside employment only if this were consistent with their household duties." [1]
  2. The word "German" is also a noun for the language that people speak in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and parts of Switzerland. "German remains the language with the most native speakers in Europe – besides Germany having the largest population in the EU, the German language was once the lingua franca [common language] of central, eastern and northern Europe." [2]

Places Where German is Spoken and/or Recognised As an Official or Co-Official Language

Austria, parts of Belgium, parts of Brazil (South and Southeast), parts of Canada, parts of Czechia (Sudetenland), parts of Denmark (Southern Denmark), parts of France (Alsace-Lorraine), Germany, parts of Italy (South Tyrol), parts of Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg (they have their own dialect of German called Luxembourgish), parts of Mexico, Namibia, parts of Paraguay, parts of Poland (Gdańsk and Western Poland), parts of Russia (Kaliningrad, formerly East Prussia and Königsberg) parts of Switzerland, some of the United States (Texasdeutsch, or 'Texas German'), parts of Uruguay, and a few local communities in a bunch of other countries.

The Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Staat Danzig), a semi-sovereign port city which was created after the First World War, also recognised German as one of its official languages and had its own dialect. During the Interwar Period, Danzig was occupied by the Polish but was later captured and incorporated into the state of East Prussia on 2 September 1939, shortly after the Invasion of Poland and outbreak of World War II in Europe the day prior.

Part of the reason why several countries have German-speaking populations is due to the fact that the Second Reich (not to be confused with this one) was a colonial power. It colonised present-day Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Namibia, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Togo, Papua New Guinea, and several Pacific Island Nations. Prior to and during the Second World War, many Germans fled Germany to other European nations and North America to escape Nazi persecution. The same thing happened after the war, in which many high-ranking Nazis such as Adolf Eichmann and their supporters fled to other countries (primarily in Latin America) with the help of Spanish Nationalist Francisco Franco, whom they had previously supported during the Civil War.

Germanic Languages & Dialects

Some Germanic Languages and Dialects include German (duh), Luxembourgish, Ostniederdeutsch, Plattdeutsch, Plautdietsch, Texasdeutsch, Westniederdeutsch, et cetera.

German Orthography

Standardised Austrian Cursive.

German, being one of the Romance Languages, follows the Standard Latin Alphabet. Unlike English (the language), however, it adds four additional characters; those, in chronological order, being the a-umlaut (Ä/ä); the o-umlaut (Ö/ö); the u-umlaut (Ü/ü); and the eszett (ẞ/ß), also known as the sharfes S (English: Sharp S), which makes an 's' sound. The eszett is not to be confused with Latin letter 'B/b', the Greek letter Beta (Β/β), the Chinese radical (⻖), or the Cyrillic letter (В/в). In alphabetical order, this would be 'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzäöüß'.

When the a-umlaut is not available, it is replaced with 'AE/ae'. The same is true with 'Ö/ö' and 'Ü/ü', with the former being replaced with 'OE/oe' (e.g. Schön changing to Schoen) and the ladder being replaced with 'UE/ue' (e.g. Schülerin). Since the German Orthography Reform of 1996, which was made to make it easier for people to learn German, the eszett has, in some cases, been replaced by 'SS/ss', though this is exclusive to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.


Some non-German characters such as 'É/é' are used in German, such as in the word café (English: Coffeeshop). It makes an 'Ē/ē' ('long e') sound. Old High German, the earliest-known predecessor to modern German, used to contain the characters 'ſ' ('long s') and 'Ʒ/ʒ' ('ezh' or 'tailed z'), although their use has long been obsolete. As the language has developed, ſ and Ʒ/ʒ have since merged to create the eszett.


Anti-German Sentiment

Anti-German Sentiment is bigotry or negative opinion/attitude towards Germans. It was particularly prominent during the First and Second World Wars and can still be seen today.

Rebranding

During the First World War, they renamed and rebranded a bunch of things to sound "less German." In the Russian Empire, they changed St. Petersburg (then capital of Russia) to Petrograd in 1914 before changing it to Leningrad after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924.

The United States changed sauerkraut to liberty cabbage and also renamed streets. German and Berlin Street in Cincinnati were renamed to English and Woodward Street. In Chicago, Lubeck Street, Frankfort Street, and Hamburg Street were renamed to Dickens Street, Charleston Street, and Shakespeare Street. New Orleans changed Berlin Street to Pershing Street in honour of General John J. Pershing and in Indianapolis, Bismarck Avenue and Germania Street were renamed to Pershing Avenue and Belleview Street. In Brooklyn, Hamburg Avenue was renamed to Wilson Avenue in honour of President Woodrow Wilson.

American businesses also changed their names. German Hospital in Chicago was renamed to Grant Hospital and German Dispensary in New York City was renamed to Lenox Hill Hospital. Some schools completely stopped teaching German, and the ones that continued limited the number of credits that students could receive for them to discourage them from learning German. Libraries would ban books published in German and even organise public book burnings, which is notably reminiscent of the Nazi book burnings during the Holocaust.

Incarceration

The U.S. Justice Department imprisoned 4,000 German-Americans who, simply due to their heritage, they suspected of spying on the Allied Powers or endorsing the German cause during the First World War. The same was true during the following war, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorising people to deport first-generation Japanese, Italian, and German-Americans to internment camps; many of which that had fled to the United States and other countries to avoid Nazi persecution or getting caught up in the war. The British Empire did the same thing, with the Hay Internment Camp and POW Camps being opened in Australia (then a British dominion realm) to intern 1st-generation German migrants, most of whom were Jewish.

Blatant Racism, Name-Calling

Former President Teddy Roosevelt denounced "hyphenated Americanism" (blatant racism on his behalf). American and Canadian propaganda posters often would use the word hun, a slur for Germans in reference to Kaiser Wilhelm II's Hunnenrede (English: Hun Speech). Some Brits also adopted pejorative and derogative terms for Germans, including Fritz (short for the name, Friedrich) and Jerry. During the Second World War and since then, people have also referred to Germans as Krauts (possibly in reference to sauerkraut).

Today, some people assume all Germans are Nazis, but this is far from the truth. Although Right-Wing Populist groups such as the AfD have been on the rise in European countries, assuming all Germans are Nazis is racist in itself and something the Nazis did when referring to other cultures. Karl Marx, who is credited with having created Communism (the ideological opposite of Nazism) as we know it today, was German. Many Austrians and Germans who fled Nazi Germany, including Hitler's own nephew (William Stuart-Houston) fought against the Axis during the Second World War. Albert Einstein, a Jewish-German left Germany in 1933 and later took part in the Manhattan Project and creation of the atomic bomb that ended the War. There were many Austrian and German resistance groups such as the Weiss Rose, Hitlerjugend, SoPaDe, the Kommunistische Partei Österreichs, etc. and there was resistance within the Wehrmacht by figures such as Wilhelm Canaris and Claus von Stauffenberg. Hitler himself wasn't even a German by birth, and only considered himself as such because the region of Austria he was from was part of the German Confederation of 1813.

Something About JFK

JFK made a mistake on 26 June 1963 in a speech in which he said "Ich bin ein Berliner" (English: I am a Berliner). It would be more accurate to say "Ich bin Berliner" (English: 'I am a Berliner', literally 'I am Berliner') because 'ein' is an indefinite article, although this mistake is understandable considering German wasn't his first language and most Germans probably knew what he meant.

References

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