GERMAN LANGUAGE CLASSES
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and (co-) official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg. Major languages which are most similar to German include other members of the West Germanic language branch, such as Afrikaans, Dutch, English, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. It is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English. One of the major languages of the world, German is the first language of about 95 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union. German also is the fourth most widely taught foreign language in the US (after Spanish, French, and American Sign language) and third in the EU (after English and French; at lower secondary level), the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the fourth most widely used language on websites (after English, Russian and Japanese). The German-speaking countries are ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books, with one-tenth of all books (including e-books) in the world being published in the German language.