German may be the most widely spoken language in the European Union, but let's be honest - it's just downright funny sometimes. We roasted French, so now it's time for the German language to have its turn.

People around the world learning how to speak German have long struggled with German's fearsome grammar, in which multiple funny words are stuck together to make more descriptive terms. This leads to things like long, aggressive store names and job titles, as well as migraines for tourists and expats in Germany. The spelling of these long German words is an even more sensitive subject.

#1

Funny German Language

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Daniëlle Raats
Community Member
4 years ago

abbreviation: http://marathonsprachen.com/clarifying-german-abbreviations-usw/

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Since German is an ancestor to English, a lot of funny German words were passed down to us but changed in spelling over time. The original German forms of these words now have... Well, 'interesting' connotations. See for yourself below.

Oh, and just for the lols, here is the longest word in German - Donaudampfschifffahtselektrizitatenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengessellschaft. Standing proudly at 80 letters, this word translates to "Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services" and is an absolutely real concoction of letters. Try not to break your tongue with it!

#2

Funny German Language

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John L Kelly
Community Member
4 years ago

I guess Greta isn't French after all.

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However, according to Olly Richards, a polyglot and the founder of I Will Teach You A Language, German actually isn't too difficult to master.

"One of the main reasons German isn’t all that hard to learn is that German and English originate from the same language families and share more similarities than you probably realize," Richards wrote. "Both German and English are Indo-European languages that stem from the Germanic family of languages. About 40% of German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary, which is good news for native English speakers!"

#3

Funny German Language

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John L Kelly
Community Member
4 years ago

"Ein Schwaben Bräu bitte" makes everything work out fine.

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Richards said that pronunciation is also more straightforward than you might think and grammar is relatively easy to pick up thanks to recognizable patterns. "If we examine the phrases 'what is that?' and 'was ist das?', the connections are obvious."

Also, the polyglot thinks that it's is much easier to pronounce words phonetically in German than in English. "In English, letters often change sounds without any logical explanation. This isn’t the case in German."

"Although some aspects of German may seem difficult, once you break the language down, it's not actually that hard."

#4

Funny German Language

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John L Kelly
Community Member
4 years ago

Certainly is efficient, don't you think?

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#5

Funny German Language

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Anna Brandigi
Community Member
4 years ago

They have words for pretty much everything

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#6

Funny German Language

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Lilya
Community Member
4 years ago

Ha that's so me.

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#7

Funny German Language

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Anna Brandigi
Community Member
4 years ago

same

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#8

Funny German Language

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Troux
Community Member
4 years ago

These all have direct English equivalents: "I got tossed in the back of a car" "We came together after the movie" "I gave my bird what she needed last night"

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#9

When Even German Kids Got Involved In This Mess!

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Maximilian Klein
Community Member
7 months ago

Thats probably Switzerland in the background of the picture

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#10

Funny German Language

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Anna Brandigi
Community Member
4 years ago

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I did nazi that coming

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#11

German Language In A Nutshell

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Roman Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Here Germany makes much more sense. Why make up a new word when you can repurpose old ones? Gloves really are “hand shoes.”

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#12

Salad, Anyone?

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

Delicious.

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#13

As A Foreigner Who’s Learning German, So Accurate

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Britta B
Community Member
7 months ago

:D :D :D :D

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#14

Funny German Language

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Intensive Panda
Community Member
4 years ago

😂😂😂

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#15

When German Language Wasn't Scary But Cute As F**k

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Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

I think making fun of Germans announcing the time in a language that has the completely superfluous am and pm is funny.

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#16

Funny German Language

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Beatrice Alighieri
Community Member
4 years ago

This is brilliant, I can't stop laughing XD

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#17

Best Photo From Trip To Berlin

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DC
Community Member
7 months ago

Hahahaha ... Dick! Hard! Hahaha!

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#18

When German Language Had Like A Gazillion Ways To Say "Why".

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Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

All of these have a different connotation and add to the richness of communication. You would also rather say "for which purpose do you use a rifle" than "why", if you seek to explore the intention.

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#19

When A Single Letter Made A Huge Difference

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Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Effect, affect...you will find enough examples in English, too.

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#20

When German Language Wasn't As Cold And Ugly As They Always Say … But Beautiful And Emotional

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
7 months ago

That is true

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#21

Makes Sense

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Linus Nilsson
Community Member
7 months ago

I laughed, until I realized that it's the same in my language

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#22

This Is Why I Love The German Language

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elliza a.rahim
Community Member
7 months ago

Climate protection implementation device mooring point

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#23

Funny German Language

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Lilya
Community Member
4 years ago

Person: That's amazing! Me: That's sausage to me. Person: No, the post I was talking about. Me: SAUSAGE

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#24

Have Some Class

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
7 months ago

ß = ALT+225

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#25

When Even The Simpsons Had To Show The World How The German Language Is Trolling Everyone

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

Uhmm...well...

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#26

Funny German Language

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Sigrid Vinter
Community Member
4 years ago

Many of these could be Danish too. Apart from the hand shoes..

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#27

When Germany Showed The World What "Wordception" Means.

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Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

You may need context. Essen is a town in the Ruhr area. Essen means food. essen means to eat. "Wollen wir heute in Essen ein wenig Essen essen?" thus makes sense.

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#28

Funny German Language

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Silent Skeleton
Community Member
4 years ago

Yes

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#29

German Is A Beautiful Language.

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

I'd go with "Klugscheißer" (clever-pooper), don't know what that word above is supposed to mean.

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#30

When German Language Was Only For The Brave.

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Wolfblood Fanatic
Community Member
7 months ago

true.

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#31

Funny German Language

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Anna Brandigi
Community Member
4 years ago

Well, they're not wrong

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#32

Tja

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

well...

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#33

About Time!

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

When you least expect it

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#34

When German Language Was So Logical That It Confused You.

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Giorgio Prodoti
Community Member
7 months ago

in Italian also more or less

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#35

Dear People Learning German...

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
7 months ago

That Jane Austen reference

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#36

Funny German Language

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Amanda Panda
Community Member
4 years ago

Translation: Home Depot

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#37

Funny-German-Language-Jokes

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
7 months ago

Wouldn't it be just Zusammengehörigkeit?

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#38

German Gramatik Struggle

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DaVo
Community Member
7 months ago

This is the easy bit....

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#39

Funny German Language

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Tiny Dynamine
Community Member
4 years ago

For your information, German isn't shouted aggressively by Germans at all. We imply that from the second world war because of how the Gestapo were. If you say the above German word normally, it sounds quite nice.

Emma Vink
Community Member
4 years ago

I'm bilingual Afrikaans so I can almost relate...it is the gluttral sounds which English speakers don't know that sound harsh in Germanic based languages.

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Daniela Klatt
Community Member
4 years ago

Quatsch, Schmetterling wird allgemein erfreut und lächelnd ausgesprochen. Manchmal auch verwundert, denn man sieht sich nicht mehr so häufig wie früher.

Slune
Community Member
7 months ago

Such weich ausgesprochen tönt es harter als die anderen Sprachen.

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Mr Pow! Pow!
Community Member
4 years ago

Butterfly... Butter + fly... It's not cute at all !

DannyBananyGoesWild
Community Member
4 years ago

I've been reading this bullshit for years now, seriously internet, come up with something fresh!

Raphael Silva
Community Member
4 years ago

Holy cow that is confusing for Portuguese. Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly. Mariposa is Portuguese for moth. In Portuguese we say borboleta for butterfly.

NMN
Community Member
7 months ago

As far as I remember mariposa is for both butterflies and moths in Spanish btw. And the collective of borboleta is panapaná

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Reinhard Doberstein
Community Member
4 years ago

I like schmetterling!

Sei Ichirou
Community Member
4 years ago

I'll try to keep it short: "Schmetter" is an old German word for cream (To the German speaking people out there: Das Wort "Schmand" kommt daher). People used to just leave milk standing for a few days and then removed the cream on top and beneath there was.... butter! And back in those days they thought that butterflies eat butter. So there you have it. So different, yet so similar. :)

Arty
Community Member
4 years ago

what's interesting is that any of these European language have very different terms for the same animal

Ellen Moana Skarstad
Community Member
6 months ago

Norwegian= sommerfugl (summer bird)

Diletta Liverani
Community Member
4 years ago

no it does not

Helena Andrea Bosch Berth
Community Member
4 years ago

That's true. I hear that a lot and I speak Dutch! 😂 Actually, German is a beautiful and romantic language to me (I've watched romance in German, that's how I learned it)

Anamaria Mazer de Toledo
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

I wonder what Bossa Nova or jazz sung in German wood feel like ...

The Hufflepuff Bookworm
Community Member
7 months ago

Again the English version is represented with the flag of the USA not the actual English flag where the language originated

MermaidsAndDragons
Community Member
7 months ago

I thought it was Buterfliegen...

Markus Holstein
Community Member
7 months ago

In Low German (a rural northern German dialect) it's called "Botterfochel", litterally "butter bird"

Pandola
Community Member
7 months ago

omg

moonsong23
Community Member
4 years ago

papillon is actually the name of a dog breed :)

Siddhi
Community Member
4 years ago

Butterfly is actually both - either Schmetterling or Falter. (Nachtfalter, Tagfalter etc.)

Julia NotMyLastname
Community Member
4 years ago

Again, not only does the men and the all-caps are German seem bad, but there is a shorter word for it, Falter, that people who make these don't use because they only want to make Germans look bad

Liz Iel
Community Member
4 years ago

do you know the song of mariah carey with schemmeterling in it?

Rogerio Pereira
Community Member
4 years ago

Borboleta

Marls Berlin
Community Member
2 years ago

If you speak Portuguese (which I do), it sounds cute and onomatopeic...that said, from an outsiders pow, it sounds like some sort of bowel movement (sorry)

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Notchimine Mette
Community Member
4 years ago

Afrikaans: Vlinder

Klaus Meyer Arroyo
Community Member
4 years ago

But wait... That's not difficult dude... It's easy. Come on !

Lubova Krylova
Community Member
4 years ago

Oh, c'mon, a pen in German sounds terrifying to me! A butterfly is ok :D

Corinna Weichold
Community Member
4 years ago

KUGELSCHREIBER!!! xD

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#40

1. When German Language Nailed It.

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

Never ever in my quite long life have I heard anybody use that word lol.

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#41

When Animals Sounded Way Cuter In German. Like Raccoon.

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Femme Finn
Community Member
7 months ago

Whoa! Same in Finnish, pesukarhu. I guess it comes directly from German.

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#42

Everytime

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Kateryna
Community Member
7 months ago

All of which mean "the"

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#43

When German Language Showed That Germans Have A Strange Relationship To Their Tools. Or Their Mothers

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Xavier Sans
Community Member
7 months ago

In Catalan, "female".

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#44

German Language

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

Emphasis on the first syllable- possible grave bodily harm court case coming your way, emphasize the last part and you're good.

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#45

German Is Such A Beautiful Language.

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Reginald Joseph
Community Member
7 months ago

Stab mixer=they aren't wrong

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#46

Everything!

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

hip-gold

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#47

Funny German Language

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Dixon's Mama
Community Member
4 years ago

What??

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#48

When German Language Surprised You By Somehow Not Being Accurate Anymore

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

blasen or Blasen

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#49

When German Words Looked Like They Have To Be Kidding You

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, please.

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#50

Learn German If You Der

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Femme Finn
Community Member
7 months ago

Well when you really think about the word "butterfly", is it a sexy word? Butter. Fly.

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Note: this post originally had 86 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.

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