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German is the first language of almost 100 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union. Proof of proficiency in German is a prerequisite for getting German citizenship.
German is a West Germanic language. It is the most widely spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, but also in parts of Italy, Belgium, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages and Yiddish. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English. Here you can find an automatic compilation of DW's journalistic content referring to the German language.