You might already know that German is not just the language of Germany; a lot of other countries speak German as well. It is one top ten most commonly spoken languages in the world. It has 105 million native German speakers around the world, and around 80 million people, who don’t live in German-speaking countries, speak the German Language as their second language.
The question that frequently arises that is German the same everywhere? Well, it’s not. People in German-speaking countries proudly talk differently from everyone else. Language differentiates people from one another. Every country has its German dialect, pronunciations, idioms, and even vocabulary; and yet all are German.
In this article, we will discuss the German-speaking countries and all the facts about the German dialect. So, without any delay let’s begin and explore the German-speaking countries.
What are the German-Speaking Countries?
The question of how many countries speak the German language depends on how we count countries. German is the official language of six countries in Europe, Germany with over 80 million native speakers, and Austria with 8 million German speakers, and Switzerland with 4.6 million while Luxembourg and Liechtenstein have 390,000 and 35,000 German speakers respectively.
Over 16% European Union’s population speaks German. Moreover German is spoken as an official and minority language in Italy, France, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Romania, and some others. It is the approximate distribution of native speakers of the German language in the world.
People outside Europe, such as Namibia, South Africa, and Kazakhstan speak German as well. Besides, it was also brought to the United States, Brazil, Norway, Mexico, and Australia by the German immigrants during the time of immigration, in the early 20th century.
Let’s have a look at the German-speaking countries in detail.
German Language in Europe
In Europe many countries speak the German language, some of them speak as an official national language while in some countries German is the official language at the local level, and some countries speak German as a minority language.
European countries where German is the official national language
German is the official national language in the following European countries:
- Germany: It has the largest population of German-speaking countries. Around 80 million people out there speak the German language.
- Austria: Over 93% of the population of Austria speaks the German language. It was 8 million German speakers.
- Belgium: 23% of the population speaks German in Belgium.
- Liechtenstein: 85 % of its community speaks German.
- Luxembourg: Roughly 68% of its population speaks German.
- Switzerland: In Switzer land, 70% of the population speaks German.
There are six European beautiful countries where German is the official national language and local co-official language in four countries.
European countries where German is the official language at the local level
These countries include:
- Italy in South Tyrol
Other European countries where German is not the official language
A lot of European countries where minorities and some ethics committees speak German language but it is not the official language there, it includes:
- Russian: It has 500,000 native German speakers. This German is based on 16th-century German dialect.
- Kazakhstan: It has 180,000 native German speakers.
- Romania: It has 37,000 German native speakers.
- Czech Republic: It has over 40 thousand German speakers.
- Hungary: Around 60,000 people speak German in the country.
The German language there is quite interesting as it originates from German regional dialects that were spoken in the 17th and 18th centuries. A recognized minority, around 15 thousand German speakers live in Denmark. You will find German speakers in France as well as in Spain. Over 50,000 people live in Spain who speaks German.
German language in Africa
From 1884 to the early 19th century there was a German colony, Namibia from Southwest Africa where people speak German dialect. Around 20,000 people of Namibians from South Africa are still live there. German was spoken as the official language in Namibia until its independence from South Africa.
German Language in America
Though, German is not the official language in any State of America, however, there are still 46 million people in American with German ancestry. German people in America are the largest, with the ancestry group by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey.
In the 19th century, German immigrants such as Amish, Mennonite, or Hutterite communities kept their way in the United States. There are pockets of German speakers in Latin America, especially in South America, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Chile.
Common Dialects of the German Language
German dialects are the different local varieties of the German language. It includes upper German, Central German, and Low German. Upper and lower German are the subgroups of High German Dialect. In addition, standard German is the standardized form of High German that comes in the early modern period of Central and Upper German Dialect.
All the German-speaking countries speak one of the above-mentioned dialects, according to their territories.
Facts About the German Language
The German language is one of the foreign languages in the world has had a significant impact on other cultures and languages. In the 19th century, the literature of the German language enjoyed a prestigious phase. And a lot of German words including “Kindergarten”, “ wanderlust”, ”delicatessen”, rucksack” and “poltergeist”, exported to other languages.
Today, Germany is leading in the global economy; it is a strong reason that makes people learn the German language. Germany has a strong economy in Europe and the fourth-largest community in the world behind the United States, China, and Japan.
Moreover, German is an important language for those who deal in the automotive, manufacturing, and engineering departments. This is because these industries are the biggest reason for Germany’s strong economy. Besides, qualitative analysis shows that German is known as the language of science and the second most commonly spoken language by the scientist around the world.
Learning the German Language
German did not appear until the mid of eighteenth century and today it is one of the topmost languages of the world used on the internet; around 6% of websites on the internet are in the German language. A lot of books are written and translated into German dialect. According to researches 10% of all the published and printed books are in German. Moreover Standard German is a popular language taught as a foreign language.
The Goethe Institute is the world’s most important organization for German speakers and learns. It was established in 1951 and today it has over 150 branches all around the world. This institute promotes the language as well as the culture of German including varied education programme.
Here are some of the interesting facts about the German language that will make you learn German instantly:
- German is well-known because of having extremely long words such as it’s very common that have 40 to 60 letters in one word.
- German is closely related to Dutch as well as English.
- In the 18th century, German lost the battle of being the official language of the United States of America by just one vote.
Now finally you have quite clear about the German and the countries speaking German countries. German is a beautiful language and a lot of people want to learn German because of the strong economy of Germany. If you want to learn the German language, you must learn according to the dialect of the country.