German, Standard


A language of Germany


78,940,000 in Germany, all users. L1 users: 70,800,000 in Germany (European Commission 2012). L2 users: 8,140,000 (European Commission 2012). Total users in all countries: 132,176,520 (as L1: 76,090,520; as L2: 56,086,000).



Language Status

1 (National). De facto national language.


Major related varieties are Bavarian [bar], Swabian [swg], Alemannisch [gsw], Eastern Franconian [vmf], Hessisch, Palatinian, Rheinfränkisch, Westphalien [wep], Saxonian, Thuringian, Brandenburgisch, and Low Saxon [nds]. Many varieties are not mutually intelligible. Our present treatment is incomplete. Standard German is one High German variety, developed from the chancery of Saxony, gaining acceptance as the written standard in the 16th and 17th centuries. High German refers to dialects and languages in the upper Rhine region. Lexical similarity: 60% with English [eng], 29% with French [fra].


SVO; prepositions; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine/neuter); definite and indefinite articles; case-marking (4 cases); verb affixes mark person, number; passives; tense; comparatives; 22 consonants, 22 vowels, 3 diphthongs; non-tonal; stress on first syllable of the root.

Language Use

Many also use English [eng]. A few also use French [fra].

Language Development

Taught in primary and secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1466–2016.


Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage. Latin script, Fraktur variant [Latf], used until 1940. Runic script [Runr], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Based equally on East Upper German and East Middle German. Christian.

Also spoken in:

Expand All
Collapse All
Page Views Left: