German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and (co-) official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. Major languages which are most similar to German include other members of the West Germanic language branch, such as Afrikaans, Dutch, and English. It is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
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 (after Spanish and French) and the EU (after English and French; at lower secondary level), the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the third most widely used language on websites (after English and Russian).