English Usage: Germany
Approximately 46,165,637 people in Germany speak English as a second or first language. In major cities across the country, most people can speak near-perfect English; however, the number diminishes as one goes into the rural areas. Presented below are further details on the usage of English as a first or second language in Germany.
HOW WIDELY ENGLISH IS USED AS A FIRST OR SECOND LANGUAGE IN GERMANY
- Europe Language ranked Germany seventh with a score of 62.35% among European countries that can speak English best.
- Germany has been using English as a second language since 1960s. English is also a mandatory school subject in Germany, and lessons start in second or third grade.
- Since about 50 years ago, German students started learning basic English conversations before expanding to complex vocabularies and proper pronunciation and spelling.
- Teachers speak to students in eighth grade exclusively in English that follows perfect grammar rules.
- In big cities like Berlin and Frankfurt, most people can speak near-perfect English. Locals in big cities can also speak good English; however, in rural areas, it is rare to find English speakers.
- Older generations aged 40+ speak little English because it became mandatory after the 1960s.
- English has spread widely across Germany, causing some discomfort among Germans who feel that their language and culture are under threat.
- Several politicians have also raised concerns over the increasing number of Germans using English in everyday life. Examples include some waiters in Berlin who speak only English.
- Senior German lawmakers want the European Union to stop using English as its working language following Brexit, and are proposing Germany instead.
GENERAL POPULATION SPEAKS ENGLISH
- 56% of the population speaks English as a second or first language, while 95% of the population are still using German. In 2019, the total population of Germany is estimated at 82,438,639.
- Based on the total population figure and the percentage of English speakers in Germany (56%), it can be estimated that approximately 46,165,637 Germans speak English. The calculation is included in the methodology section.
- 59% of Germans are in favor of the recognition of English as an official language in the European Union.
HOW WIDELY USED IN EACH COUNTRY FOR BUSINESS AND IN ADVERTISING OR MEDIA
- In a survey, 18 out of 30 top companies listed on the DAX index said that they use English as their official business language, including in their key documents, announcements, and guidelines.
- Only three companies in the research stated that their official language remains German, whereas most German firms are switching to English as the primary language for meetings and communication.
- German car maker Volkswagen said it would make English its corporate language across its 120 global sites because it hires more people abroad.
ADVERTISING AND MEDIA
- Results of a study on language in advertising stated that 62% of Germans admitted that they did not understand the English used in adverts. Another 72% of the respondents were unable to translate the English used in the ads into German correctly.
- German companies are embracing English, which they use in advertising and marketing to their international customers. Previously, German companies advertised products using German phrases, and some ads featured a combination of both English and Germany.
- Many Germany radio stations also play a lot of English music. For instance, American pop is popular in Germany and has contributed to English-speaking in Germany.
We leveraged information in business news or news site to get the information such as business insider or marketplace. We searched there because these sites show how Germans use English as per a report published by Marketplace Organization, with the complaints from Germany government that Germans use too much English.
To determine the number of Germans who speak English, we used the estimated percentage of Germans who speak English (56%) as provided by World Atlas. Next, we determined the total population of Germany, which we found to be 82,438,639, as published by Worldometers.
Arithmetically, 56% x 82,438,639 = 46,165,637 Germans.