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  • German is a West Germanic language. It derives most of its vocabulary from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A number of words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer from French and English. Widely spoken languages which are most similar to German include Luxembourgish, Yiddish, Dutch, the Frisian languages, English and the Scandinavian languages. German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with umlauts and the letter ß. German is spoken natively by about 100 million people, making it the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and one of the major languages of the world. German is a pluricentric language, with multiple countries having their own standardised variants as well as many dialects. There is also one variant referred to as Standard German. German is the only official language of Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein; one of the official languages of Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium; and a recognised minor language in many other countries, such as Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Namibia, and Poland.

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