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Percentage of German language use in Europe

Germany is a multilingual country, with approximately 67% of Germans having the ability to speak at least one foreign language. 27% of Germans can also speak two foreign languages.


Germany’s official language
Standard German is the official language of Germany. It is a West Germanic language and the most commonly spoken first language in the European Union. It is spoken by more than 95% of the German population.


This figure also includes speakers of Northern Low Saxon, a dialect of Western Lowland German. German is closely related to Low German, English, Dutch, Afrikaans and Frisian.


The writing system uses the Latin alphabet. The vocabulary is mainly based on words from Germanic languages, but a few words also come from Greek, Latin, English and French. German is one of the official and working languages of the European Union.

Minority languages spoken in Germany


Lowland German
Lowland German is one of the minority languages of Germany. This West Germanic language is spoken mainly in northern Germany. The language is distinct from Standard German and is more closely related to English, Frisian and Dutch.
There are about 5 million native speakers of Low German in Germany.


Upper Sorbian
Upper Sorbian is spoken by Sorbs living in the historical German province of Upper Lusatia. The province is today part of the state of Saxony.


Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian, a Slavic minority language, is spoken by Sorbs living in the historical German province of Lower Lusatia (now part of Brandenburg). Most of the speakers of this language are elderly. The language is now highly endangered.
Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian are spoken by about 0.09% of the population of Germany.


Frisian
North Frisian, a minority of West Germanic languages, is spoken by about 10,000 people living in the North Frisian region of Germany. Satran Frisian, the last surviving dialect of East Frisian, is also spoken in Germany.
Other minority languages in Germany


Romance and Danish are two other minority languages in Germany. Approximately 0.08% of the German population speaks Romance languages. Danish is spoken by about 0.06% of the German population.


Immigrant languages spoken in Germany
Immigrants to Germany speak their native languages. Turkish, Polish, Balkan, Kurdish and Russian are the most spoken immigrant languages in Germany.


Foreign languages spoken in Germany
English is the most important foreign language in German schools. French and Latin are also taught as second or third languages in schools.


Depending on the geographical location, German schools also offer courses in other languages such as Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Polish and Russian.


Discussions about recognizing English as an official language occur frequently in Germany.


However, according to a 2013 survey, 59% of Germans are in favor of recognizing English as an official language of the European Union.

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