The countries in which German is spoken as the official language or as a main language – Germany, Austria, Switzerland – form a vast block of affluent and productive territory. German is also spoken in the South Tirol area of Italy and in some border areas. Germany itself is still an economic powerhouse.
German is also widely understood and spoken in the many countries – not only in Europe – where globetrotting German-speakers holiday.
German grammar is regarded as being quite fiendish, having characteristics such as “case” which are unfamiliar to us (although the concept does exist in English) and things are not made easier by nouns having one of three genders – masculine, feminine and neuter (unlike latinate languages which generally have just the first two). German does have a lot in common with English, however, and basic language can be quite easy to understand. Many words are similar.
When travelling through central Europe, visiting cities such as Munich, (pictured), a knowledge of German will prove invaluable.