The German language (Deutsch) is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. German is closely related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. Around the world, German is spoken by approximately 100 million native speakers and another 20 million non-native speakers, and Standard German is widely taught in schools and universities in Europe. Worldwide, German accounts for the most written translations into and from a language (Guinness Book of Records). German is also the third most commonly spoken language in American homes.
German is spoken primarily in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, in two-thirds of Switzerland, in the South Tirol province of Italy (in German, S?dtirol), in the East Cantons of Belgium, and in some border villages of the former South Jutland County (in German, Nordschleswig, in Danish, S?nderjylland) of Denmark.
In Luxembourg (in German, Luxemburg), as well as in the French r?gions of Alsace (in German, Elsass) and parts of Lorraine (in German, Lothringen), the native populations speak several German dialects, and some people also master standard German (especially in Luxembourg), although in Alsace and Lorraine French has for the most part replaced the local German dialects.
Some German-speaking communities still survive in parts of Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and above all Russia and Kazakhstan, although forced expulsions after World War II and massive emigration to Germany in the 1980s and 1990s have depopulated most of these communities. It is also spoken by German-speaking foreign populations and some of their descendants in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Siberia in Russia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia).