German language

Native toGermany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium
Native speakers
90 million[1]
L2 speakers: 80–85 million (2014)[2]
Standard forms
Signed German
Official status
Official language in

Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1de
ISO 639-2ger (B)
deu (T)
ISO 639-3Variously:
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[note 1]
sli – Lower Silesian
ltz – Luxembourgish[note 2]
vmf – Mainfränkisch
mhn – Mòcheno
pfl – Palatinate German
pdc – Pennsylvania Dutch
pdt – Plautdietsch[note 3]
swg – Swabian German
gsw – Swiss German
uln – Unserdeutsch
sxu – Upper Saxon
wae – Walser German
wep – Westphalian
hrx – Riograndenser Hunsrückisch
yec – Yenish
Linguasphere52-ACB–dl (Standard German)
52-AC (Continental West Germanic)
52-ACB (Deutsch & Dutch)
52-ACB-d (Central German)
52-ACB-e & -f (Upper and Swiss German)
52-ACB-h (émigré German varieties, including 52-ACB-hc (Hutterite German) & 52-ACB-he (Pennsylvania Dutch)
52-ACB-i (Yenish)
Totalling 285 varieties: 52-ACB-daa to 52-ACB-i
  (Co)official majority language
  Co-official minority language
  Statutory minority/cultural language
  Non-statutory minority language
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German (Standard High German: Deutsch, pronounced [dɔʏtʃ] ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Western and Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also an official language of Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a recognized national language in Namibia. Outside Germany, it is also spoken by German communities in France (Alsace), Czech Republic (North Bohemia), Poland (Upper Silesia), Slovakia (Košice Region, Spiš, and Hauerland), and Hungary (Sopron).

German is part of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic language family, which itself is part of the larger Indo-European language family. It is most closely related other West Germanic languages, namely Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German, Luxembourgish, Scots, and Yiddish. It also contains close similarities in vocabulary to some languages in the North Germanic group, such as Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. Modern German gradually developed from the Old High German which in turn developed from Proto-Germanic at some point in the Early Middle Ages. German is the second-most widely spoken Germanic and West Germanic language after English as both a first or second language.

Today, German is one of the major languages of the world. It is the most spoken native language within the European Union. German is also widely taught as a foreign language, especially in continental Europe, where it is the third most taught foreign language (after English and French), and the United States. The language has been influential in the fields of philosophy, theology, science, and technology. It is the second-most commonly used scientific language and among the most widely used languages on websites. 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 German.

German is an inflected language, with four cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative); three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter); and two numbers (singular, plural). It has strong and weak verbs. The majority of its vocabulary derives from the ancient Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, while a smaller share is partly derived from Latin and Greek, along with fewer words borrowed from French and Modern English.

German is a pluricentric language; the three standardized variants are German, Austrian, and Swiss Standard German. Standard German is sometimes referred as High German while referring to its regional origin of the High German languages. It is also notable for its broad spectrum of dialects, with many varieties existing in Europe and other parts of the world. Some of these non-standard varieties have become recognized and protected by regional or national governments.

Since 2004, heads of state of the German-speaking countries have met every year[10] and the Council for German Orthography has been the main international body regulating German orthography.

  1. ^ Thomas Marten, Fritz Joachim Sauer (Hrsg.): Länderkunde Deutschland, Österreich und Schweiz (mit Liechtenstein) im Querschnitt. Inform-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-9805843-1-3, S. 7.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference eurobarometer was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Abigail Gillman. 2017. Moses Mendelssohn's Be’ur: Translating the Torah in the Age of Enlightenment. The Torah. 24 Jan.
  4. ^ ספר נתיבות השלום Sefer Netivot ha-shalom. 1783. Translated from the Hebrew into German by Moses Mendelssohn. Berlin : Gedruckt bey George Friedrich Starcke.
  5. ^ המאסף ha-Me'asef. 6644-5571 [1783-1811 [Newspaper in German printed in Hebrew characters]. Königsberg, Prussia.]
  6. ^ Dostrzegacz Nadwiślański / Der Beobakhter an der Vayksel. 1823-1824. Warsaw.
  7. ^ Birgit Klein. 1998. Levi von Bonn alias Löb Kraus und die Juden im Alten Reich. Auf den Spuren eines Verrats mit weitreichenden Folgen, p. 200.
  8. ^ "Lista de línguas cooficiais em municípios brasileiros". IPOL. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  9. ^ a b Goossens 1983, p. 27.
  10. ^ d’Lëtzebuerger Land - Beim Deutschen Bund in Eupen (02. September 2016)

Cite error: There are <ref group=note> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=note}} template (see the help page).

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