German is a West Germanic language spoken mainly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. It is recognized as a minority language in Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Namibia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, South Africa, Vatican City and Venezuela. There are also significant German-speaking communities in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Paraguay, New Zealand and Peru.
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 third most widely taught foreign language in both the US and the EU, the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the third most widely used language on websites. Germany is 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.