German language in Europe
The German language (both as an official language and as a minority language) is spoken in a number of countries and territories in Europe (Deutscher Sprachraum). To cover this speech area they are often referred to as the German speaking countries, the German speaking area, or equivalently German-speaking Europe (the few overseas territories which speak German are not commonly included in the concept).
German is the main language of about 90–95 million people in Europe (as of 2004), or 13.3% of all Europeans, being the second most spoken native language in Europe after Russian (144 million speakers), above French (66.5 million speakers in 2004) and English (64.2 million speakers in 2004).
The European countries with German-speaking majorities are Germany (95%, 78.3 million), Austria (89%, 7.4 million), Switzerland (65%, 4.6 million) ("D-A-CH"), Luxembourg (0.48 million) and Liechtenstein (0.03 million).
- Germany (D for Deutschland)
- Austria (A for Austria, in German "Österreich")
- Switzerland (CH for Confoederatio Helvetica, in German "(die) Schweiz")
"Dach" is also the German word for "roof", and is used in linguistics in the term Dachsprache, which standard German arguably is in relation to some outlying dialects of German, especially in Switzerland and Austria.
The term is sometimes extended to D-A-CH-Li, DACHL or DACH+ to include Liechtenstein. Another version is DACHS (with Dachs meaning "Badger" in German) with the inclusion of the German speaking region of South Tyrol in Italy.
Official status 
|Official language||Majority language||Partially official|
|Switzerland (besides French, Italian and Rumantsch)
Luxembourg (besides French and Luxembourgish)
|Denmark - recognized minority language in the former South Jutland County
South Tyrol in Italy
Poland - a minority language in the Upper Silesia
Hungary (Danube Swabians)
Romania (Transylvania and Banat Swabians)
- German is the country's only official language:
- German is the majority language, and shares official status with other languages:
- German is a minority language with official status:
- Belgium (besides Dutch and French)
- German language has official status only in part of the country/territory:
- German language is recognized as a minority language:
German speaking minorities without official status 
- High numbers of German speaking minorities, but no official recognition:
- German speaking minorities, but no official status:
German as a foreign language 
German is the largest European language by the number of native speakers.German was once the lingua franca of Central and Northern Europe. It remains one of the most popular foreign languages in Europe, after English.  It is one of the official languages of the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission, along with English and French. Thirty-two percent of citizens of the EU-15 countries say they can converse in German (either as a mother tongue or as a second/foreign language). This is assisted by the widespread availability of German TV via cable and satellite. German competence in countries where it is not an official language is highest in the Netherlands, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina (historical connections) and Slovenia (historical connections). Relatively high German competence is also found in Sweden, Belgium (German community), the Czech Republic (historical connections), Slovakia (historical connections), Hungary (historical connections), Poland (historical connections) and Croatia (historical connections).
The learning of German as a foreign language is promoted by the Goethe Institute, which works to promote German language and culture worldwide. In association with the Goethe Institute, the German foreign broadcasting service, Deutsche Welle offers a range of online German courses and radio broadcasts produced with non-native German speakers in mind.
See also 
- Austrian German
- Swiss German
- Swiss Standard German
- Alemannic German
- Swabian German
- Walser German
- Alemán Coloniero
- German-speaking Community of Belgium
- Languages in the European Union
- Germanic languages
- Germanic-speaking Europe
- English-speaking Europe
- German as a minority language
- Example: DACHS-Projekt "Ergotherapie 2010
- "DACH+ Raumentwicklung im Grenzraum von Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz und Liechtenstein" (in German). DACH. Retrieved 2008-03-22.[dead link]
- Eurobarometer: Europeans and Languages from September 2005 (Languages most commonly used and in the EU: 47% English, 30% German, 23% French)
- "EUROPA — Redirection". Ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/dach/ - DACH Blog: Blog about the British Library's German collection, and German culture, politics and literature.