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German is ranked 11th as the most spoken language worldwide with 90 million speakers. It’s actually the most common mother tongue and takes the top spot from English, Spanish, French, and Italia. 16 percent of people in Europe speak German as their first language. It’s spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, and Luxembourg as well as other countries. German is in the Western Germanic Language family with English and Dutch.
It was standardized because writers wanted to be understood by a diverse array of readers starting in the 19th century. The Brothers Grimm actually authored the largest dictionary, the Deutsches Wörterbuch in 1838.