How many German languages there are is difficult to calculate precisely, but the Germanic languages make up the family of Indo-European languages spoken by around 515 million people who are mostly found in Europe, North America, Southern Africa and Oceania. The 3 that are spoken the most are in the West Germanic group and include Up to 400 million English speakers, 100 million German speakers and 23 million Dutch speakers. Another not so commonly spoken West Germanic language includes 7.1 million Afrikaans’ speakers which resemble Dutch and is spoken mainly in South Africa.
Low German, which is made up of a number of non standardised dialects, has around about 0.3 million native speakers while between 6.7 and10 million understand it. 5 million who reside in Germany and 1.7 million live in the Netherlands. There are also 1.5 million speakers of Yiddish and Scots. There are varieties of Limburgish, which have1.3 million speakers, spread along the Belgian-Dutch–German border; and in Germany and the Netherlands, there are 0.5 million speakers of Frisian languages.
There are 20 million speakers of the North Germanic languages which are Danish, Swedish, Faroese, Norwegian and Icelandic and Faroese, which have a combined total of about 20 million speakers.
How many different languages are spoken in Germany?
Throughout history, the total number of Germanic languages is not known, as some vanished after or during the Migration Period and even a few of the West Germanic languages did not survive the Migration Period, which included Lombardic. During World War 2, the German language experienced a substantial loss of Sprachraum, and extinction of a number of its dialects. Standard German is the most important today and its prevalence is the cause of the loss of other German languages.
Proto-Germanic, referred to as Common Germanic, is the shared ancestor of all of many of the German languages and was spoken around the middle of the first millennium BC in Scandinavia. Proto-Germanic has several specific linguistic features, in particular, the consonant change referred to as Grimm’s Law.