Standard German is one of the larger languages of the world. According to the Ethnologue, Standard German had 95,392,978 speakers in 1990 and German 101 reports it as being more than 120 million people. Most of these people (75 million) reside in Germany. Standard German is the official language of Germany, Liechtenstein, and Austria; in addition to the multilingual nations of Switzerland and Luxembourg where it shares that status. The ISO 639-3 code for Standard German is 'deu'. Standard German is also one of the official languages of the European Union.
From a diachronic perspective, German descended from the following family line: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Middle German, East Middle German (Ethnologue). Historically, there were a large number of German dialects throughout Western-Central Europe. These dialects were mutually intelligible with adjacent ones, but not with their further removed neighbors.
At some point, several of these dialects were affected by the High German consonant shift. These dialects were classified as High German. The dialects that did not follow the consonant shift became known as Low German. Standard German grew out of High German, while Dutch, for example, came from Low German.
During the 20th century, an increase in communication has caused many of these dialects to dwindle or disappear. Moreover, nationalism and political autonomy have caused a diverge between dialects from different nations, such as Dutch and the Low German.
Standard German has much in common with Dutch and other languages from the German family. It also has a smaller resemblance to English and French (Ethnologue reports the lexical similarity of English1) and French with German as 60% and 29%, respectively).
The demography of the language varies from country to country; however, Germany contains the most German speakers by far. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Germany has a literacy rate of 99% for both male and female. The country is predominately Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic) with a significant number of unaffiliated or 'other' religious commitments.
(In this assignment were were tasked to transcribe certain phrases in the target language and then make recommendations on how speakers of that language may improve their pronunciation of English.)