German is a West Germanic language and derives most of its vocabulary from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A number of words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer from French and English. Widely spoken languages which are most similar to German include Luxembourgish, Dutch, the Frisian languages and English.

Interesting Facts About the German Language and Germany

  • German almost became the official language of the United States of America. The Continental Congress, convened in Philadelphia during the Revolution, at one time considered adopting a new language for the future of the United States, with the aim of cutting off all ties with England. Among the languages suggested were German, Hebrew and French. When it finally came to a vote, English narrowly won – just by one vote!
  • The first printed book was in German.
  • German is the third most commonly taught language worldwide.
  • Germany borders 9 countries (Austria, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg, Holland, Czech Republic, and Poland).

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Where Is German Spoken?

German is a Germanic language with about 121 million speakers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Belgium, Italy, France, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Australia, South Africa and Namibia.

German is a pluricentric language, with multiple countries having their own standardised variants (e.g. Austrian German, Swiss Standard German). There is also one variant referred to as Standard German.