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Languages of Germany

Languages of Germany
Official languages German (95%)
Regional languages Low Rhenish; Limburgish; Luxembourgish; Alemannic; Bavarian; Danish; Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian; North Frisian, Saterland Frisian; Romani, Low German
Main immigrant languages Turkish, Arabic, Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Dutch, Greek, Spanish; and others
see also:immigration to Germany
Main foreign languages English (56%)
French (15%)
Russian (5%)
Sign languages German Sign Language
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The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95% of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language.[1] This figure includes speakers of Northern Low Saxon, a recognized minority or regional language which is not considered separately from Standard German in statistics. Recognized minority languages have official status as well, usually in their respective regions.

Minority languages

Recognized minority first languages:

Immigrant languages

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

  • Turkish (southern Europe and Western Asia) c. 1.8%[2]
  • Kurdish (Western Asia)
  • Russian (eastern Europe and Northern Asia)
  • Arabic (the West Asia and North Africa)
  • Greek (southern Europe)
  • Dutch (Western Europe and southern Africa)
  • Igbo (Nigeria, West Africa)
  • Polish (central Europe)
  • Serbo-Croatian (Western Balkans, southern Europe)
  • Spanish (southern Europe)

Second languages

Most Germans learn English as their first foreign language in 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.

The recognition of English as an official language is frequently discussed in the German public.[3] According to a representative 2013 YouGov survey, 59 percent of all Germans would welcome the establishment of English as an official language in the whole European Union.[4]


  1. ^ "BBC Education". Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "BBC - Languages - Languages". Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  3. ^ English should become an administration language in Germany (German), Die Welt, Essay by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, 15 December 2014
  4. ^ "Umfrage: Mehrheit der Deutschen für Englisch als zweite Amtssprache". Retrieved 17 January 2015.