German, The Austrian empire

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Summary

German ( ) is a West Germanic language. It derives most of its vocabulary from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A number of words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer from French and English. Widely spoken languages which are most similar to German include Luxembourgish, Yiddish, Dutch, the Frisian languages, English and the Scandinavian languages.

Details

German was the language of commerce and government in the Habsburg Empire, which encompassed a large area of Central and Eastern Europe. Until the mid-19th century it was essentially the language of townspeople throughout most of the Empire. Its use indicated that the speaker was a merchant, an urbanite, irrespective of nationality. Some cities, such as Prague (German: Prag) and Budapest (Buda, German: Ofen), were gradually Germanized in the years after their incorporation into the Habsburg domain. Others, such as Pozsony (German: Pressburg, now Bratislava), were originally settled during the Habsburg period and were primarily German at that time. A few cities remained mainly non-German. However, most cities, such as Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, Zagreb (German: Agram), and Ljubljana (German: Laibach), were primarily German during this time, although surrounded by territory where other languages were spoken. In the eastern provinces of Banat and Transylvania, German was the predominant language not only in the larger towns—such as Temeswar (Timisoara), Hermannstadt (Sibiu) and Kronstadt (Brasov)—but also in many smaller localities in the surrounding areas.

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  • WikipediaThe Goethe Institute

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