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German is one of the main cultural languages of the Western world, spoken by approximately 100 million people. It is the national language of both Germany and Austria, and is one of the four official languages of Switzerland. Additionally it is spoken in eastern France, in the region formerly known as Alsace-Lorraine, in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, and also in eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, and the principality of Liechtenstein. There are about 1 1/2 million speakers of German in the United States, 500,000 in Canada, and sizable colonies as well in Argentina, Brazil, and such far flung countries as Namibia and Kazakhstan. In Switzerland High German is used in formal settings, but Swiss German, a distinctly different dialect, is used in everyday speech.

Like the other Germanic languages, German is a member of the Indo - European family. Written German is quite uniform, but spoken dialects vary considerably, sometimes to the point where communication becomes a problem. The dialects fall within two general divisions: High German (Hochdeutsch), spoken in the highlands of the south, and Low German (Plattdeutsch), spoken in the lowlands of the north. In the Middle Ages Low German was the language of the Hanseatic League and served as a lingua franca over much of northern Europe. An important step in the evolution of a literary standard was Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into East Central German, a dialect that stood roughly midway between those of the north and south.

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German is a Germanic language that carries a rich heritage of ancient languages and shows a strong regularity. It is well known for rigorous logic and complicated grammar. With over a century of experience in language teaching, Berlitz offers you professional, native-speaking German instructors who have been strictly trained in the Berlitz Method®. By teaching only in native German through role playing and other methods, we combine courses with real life to promote teacher-student interactions in various scenarios, and enable you to learn German naturally as complicated grammar become a “conditioned reflex” in your minds after repeated use of words and grammars. You will be fully exposed to the secrets of Germanic culture and German learning.

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