Different variants of German are used in the various countries where it is spoken, and there are many dialects, each with their own vocabulary, pronunciation and even grammatical idiosyncrasies. There is also one variant referred to as Standard German, which is the “official” variant used in the media (in Germany) and some regions and understood generally. The variation among the German dialects is quite considerable, with mostly only neighboring dialects being mutually intelligible, and most dialects are not intelligible to people who only speak Standard German.
German has four cases (nominative, genitive, dative and accusative) and the nouns are inflected by case, gender and number. German has three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). In German, nouns and most words with the syntactical function of nouns are capitalized, a characteristic which is almost unique to German today. Unlike English, where compounds of nouns are written with a separating space, German forms compound words without spaces: for instance, “kitchen door”, with the German words Küche for “kitchen” and Tür for “door”, becomes Küchentür. Such noun compounds can have more than two parts, which can result in very long words.
German spelling and grammar are determined by the rules in the Duden, the German language dictionary, which is updated regularly.