Languages of Germany

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Languages of Germany
Official German (95%)
Regional Low Rhenish; Limburgish; Luxembourgish; Alemannic; Bavarian; Danish; Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian; North Frisian, Saterland Frisian; Romani, Low German
Immigrant Turkish, Arabic, Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Dutch, Italian, Greek, Romanian, Hindustani, Spanish; and others
see also:immigration to Germany
Foreign English (63%)[1]
French (18%)
Dutch (9%)
Italian (7%)
Russian (6%)
Spanish (6%)
Danish (2%)
Signed German Sign Language
Keyboard layout
Source ebs_243_en.pdf (

The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95 percent of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language.[2] This figure includes speakers of Northern Low Saxon, a recognized minority or regional language that is not considered separately from Standard German in statistics. Recognized minority languages have official status as well, usually in their respective regions.

The 2011 census and the 1987 West-German census did not inquire about language. Since the 2017 microcensus, a survey conducted with a sampling fraction of 1% of the persons and households in Germany that supplies basic socio-demographic data and facilitates the ongoing monitoring of the labour market, a question asking, "Which language is being spoken predominantly in your household?" was added[3], eighty years since the 1939 Census asked for the Mother tongue of the population.[4]

Minority languages[edit]

Recognised minority languages:[2][5]

Immigrant languages[edit]

Immigrant languages spoken by sizable[clarification needed] communities of first and second-generation (dominant origin of the speakers in brackets):

Second languages[edit]

Most Germans learn English as their first foreign language at school. Sometimes French or Latin are taught first, but usually English is, with French and Latin as common second or third foreign languages. Russian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, classical Greek, and other languages are also offered in schools, often depending on the school's geographic location.

During the existence of the German Democratic Republic, the most common second language taught in East Germany was Russian, while English and French remained the preferred second languages taught in schools in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). [7]

However, German school children's English level isn't as good as the level found in Scandinavian countries.[8]

There exist several bilingual kindergartens and even schools in Germany, offering education in German and English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Turkish, and other languages. [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Welche Sprachen können Sie zumindest einigermaßen gut sprechen und verstehen?". Statista. 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "BBC - Languages across Europe". Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Mikrozensus 2017 Fragebogen" (PDF). Statistisches Bumdesamt: 46. 2017.
  4. ^ Adler, Astrid (2018). "Germany's micro census of 2017: The return of the language question" (PDF). Institut für Deutsche Sprache.
  5. ^ National Minorities in Germany. BMI. 2010. p. 44."Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2014-06-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  6. ^ "Tamil Diaspora - Germany - ஜெர்மனி". Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  7. ^ Livingston, Robert Gerald. "East Germany between Moscow and Bonn". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  8. ^ Hanke, Katja. "Fremdsprachen in deutschen Schulen und Kindergärten". Goethe Institut. Goethe Institut Online. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Informationen zu unserem bilingualen Zweig". Schuele Lammersieth. Retrieved 4 September 2019.