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German language

German
Deutsch
Pronunciation [ˈdɔʏtʃ]
Native to primarily German-speaking Europe, also in the worldwide German diaspora
Native speakers
90 million (2010) to 95 million (2014)
L2 speakers: 10–15 million (2014)
as a foreign language: 75–100 million
Standard forms
Latin (German alphabet)
German Braille
Signed German, LBG
(Lautsprachbegleitende / Lautbegleitende Gebärden)
Official status
Official language in


Several international institutions
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by

No official regulation

(German orthography regulated by the Council for German Orthography).
Language codes
ISO 639-1 de
ISO 639-2  (B)
 (T)
ISO 639-3 Variously:
deu – German
gmh – Middle High German
goh – Old High German
gct – Colonia Tovar German
bar – Bavarian
cim – Cimbrian
geh – Hutterite German
ksh – Kölsch
nds – Low German
sli – Lower Silesian
ltz – Luxembourgish
vmf – Mainfränkisch
mhn – Mócheno
pfl – Palatinate German
pdc – Pennsylvania German
pdt – Plautdietsch
swg – Swabian German
gsw – Swiss German
uln – Unserdeutsch
sxu – Upper Saxon
wae – Walser German
wep – Westphalian
hrx – Riograndenser Hunsrückisch
yec – Yenish
Glottolog high1287  (High Franconian)
uppe1397  (Upper German)
Linguasphere
Legal statuses of German in the world.svg
  (Co-)Official and majority language
  Co-official, but not majority language
  Statutory minority/cultural language
  Non-statutory minority language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

No official regulation

German (Deutsch [ˈdɔʏtʃ]) is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and (co-) official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein; it is also an official, but not majority language of Luxembourg. Major languages which are most similar to German include other members of the West Germanic language branch, such as Afrikaans, Dutch, and English. It is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

One of the major languages of the world, German is the first language of about 95 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union. German also is the third most widely taught foreign language in both the US (after Spanish and French) and the EU (after English and French; at lower secondary level), the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the third most widely used language on websites (after English and Russian). The German speaking countries are ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books, with one tenth of all books (including e-books) in the world being published in the German language.


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