Lately the German government published a fact list about German language.
We translated it for you, if you want to see it in German please click here
...in the world: Around 130 million people speak German as their mother tongue or second language worldwide. This puts the German language in eleventh place in the list of the most spoken languages worldwide.
...in the EU: German is the most widely used mother tongue in the EU - even before English. German is the official language in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein; it is also one of the official languages of Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
...as a foreign language: Around 15.4 million people learn German worldwide, most of the learners are in the EU, where German is the second most spoken foreign language after English.
...as a minority language: About 7.5 million people in 42 countries belong to a German-speaking minority. In the United States alone, 45 million people state that they originate from a German-speaking area, including 1.4 million native German speakers. There are also large German-speaking minorities in Russia, Romania and Namibia.
...and science: German is the second most important language of science; Germany ranks third in the world for its contribution to research and development.
...and the genders of nouns: A special feature of the German language is the distinction between three genders: male, female and neutral. For example, "das Mädchen" (the girl) is neutral-even though it refers to a female person.
...and the articles: The most common German words are the definite articles "der, die das", followed by "in" and "und".
...and the additional consonant: The German language is based on the Latin alphabet. There is one exception: the "ß". This additional consonant only exists in German.