German is not only the language of Germany because we can see a lot of other German speaking countries as well where German stands as one among the top ten most commonly spoken languages in the world with over 105 million native German speakers. Around 80 million people, who don’t have Germany as their native also speak this German language as their second language.
The question that frequently arises is if the German language is the same in the German speaking countries? Well, the answer would be no. People in German-speaking countries talk differently compared to others. Every country has its own German dialect, idioms, pronunciations, including vocabulary; and yet all are German.
What are German speaking countries?
German is the official language of six main countries in Europe, which include over 80 million native speakers in Germany, over 8 million German speakers in Austria, and over 4.6 million German speakers in Switzerland. Luxembourg has about 390,000 and Liechtenstein has about 35,000 German speakers respectively.
Over 16% of the European Union’s population speaks German. Moreover, German is considered an official and minority language in a few countries like France, Italy, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Romania, and a few others.
People who are far from Europe, such as South Africa, Namibia, and Kazakhstan speak German as well. Later on, it expanded to Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Norway, and Australia the German immigrants in the early 20th century during the time of immigration.
Let us explore the German speaking countries in detail:
Check out French Vs German Language.
German Language in Europe
Several countries in Europe speak the German language, whereas, some of them speak it as an official national language and some speak the German language at the local level, and some speak German as a minority language.
The following European countries uses German as an official national language:
- Germany: It ranks as the largest population of German-speaking countries where around 80 million people speak the German language. (Read also: Languages of Germany)
- Austria: Austria which has over 93% of the total population speaks the German language.
- Belgium: About 23% of the entire population speaks German in Belgium.
- Liechtenstein: Around 85% of the people belonging to the community speaks German.
- Luxembourg: A rough estimate of about 68% of the population speaks German.
- Switzerland: About 70% of the population speaks German in Switzerland. (Read also: Languages of Switzerland)
There are six European countries with German as an official national language and there are four countries where German is a local co-official language.
The German speaking countries include a lot of European countries where minorities and some ethics committees speak the German language. This includes:
- Russian: There are about 500,000 native German speakers where German language is similar to the 16th-century German dialect.
- Kazakhstan: There are over 180,000 native German speakers.
- Romania: There are over 37,000 German native speakers.
- Czech Republic: There are over 40 thousand German speakers.
- Hungary: Around 60,000 people speak German in Hungary.
The German language is quite interesting as it has its origin from German regional dialects that were during the 17th and 18th centuries. You will find German speakers in France, Denmark and Spain.
German Language in Africa
There was a German colony named ‘Namibia’ which is Southwest Africa during the early 19th century. The people during that time spoke the German dialect. Around 20,000 Namibian people Namibians who hailed from South Africa are still living there.
Check out German Tongue Twisters.
German Language in America
German is not an official language in most of the parts of America, but there are about 46 million people with German ancestry in America. In the 19th century, German immigrants especially from Amish, Mennonite, or Hutterite communities kept traveling to the United States. There are also German speakers in Latin America, South America, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
As stated earlier, all the German-speaking countries speak various dialects of the same language and it depends on their territories.
Read also Family members in German.