Globally, German is the 11th most-spoken language, with about 90 million native speakers. In Europe, however, it’s the #1 most common mother tongue, beating out Italian, French, Spanish, and even English. About 16% of the European population speaks German as a first language.
Germany is renowned for its famous scholars and musicians: Sigmund Freud transformed the study of psychology, Albert Einstein revolutionized our understanding of science, and Johann Sebastian Bach changed the way we think about music. And though these Germans are household names in the English-speaking world, we tend to not know quite so much about the language that they spoke. For example, did you know that German nouns have three genders, or that the first printed book was written in German?