|population = c. 100–150 million worldwide〔"Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia" by Jeffrey Cole (2011), p. 171; "Estimates of the total number of Germans in the world range from 100 million to 150 million, depending on how German is defined, ..."〕
|langs=German: High German (Upper German, Central German), Low German (see German dialects)
|rels=Roman Catholicism, Protestantism (mainly Lutheranism and the Reformed faith; see EKD),〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Germany - The Lutheran World Federation )〕 non-religious
|related=other Germanic peoples
Germans ((ドイツ語:Deutsche)) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history, and speak the German language as their native language.
The English term ''Germans'' has historically referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages.〔alongside the slightly earlier term ''Almayns''; John of Trevisa's 1387 translation of Ranulf Higdon's ''Polychronicon'' has: ' During the 15th and 16th centuries, ''Dutch'' was the adjective used in the sense "pertaining to Germans". Use of ''German'' as an adjective dates to ca. 1550. The adjective ''Dutch'' narrowed its sense to "of the Netherlands" during the 17th century.〕 Before the collapse of communism and the reunification of Germany in 1990, Germans constituted the largest ''divided'' nation in Europe by far.〔(Europe's Rising Regionalism )〕〔(Germany and German Minorities in Europe )〕〔''Divided'' refers to relatively strong regionalism among the Germans within the Federal Republic of Germany. The events of the 20th century also affected the nation. As a result, the German people remain divided in the 21st century, though the degree of division is one much diminished after two world wars, the Cold War, and the German reunification.〕 Ever since the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire, German society has been characterized by a Catholic-Protestant divide.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Germany )〕
Of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world, roughly 70 million consider themselves Germans. There are an additional 80 million people of German ancestry mainly in the United States, Brazil (mainly in the South Region of the country), Argentina, Canada, South Africa, the post-Soviet states (mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan), and France, each accounting for at least 1 million.〔In these countries, the number of people claiming German ancestry exceeds 1,000,000 and a significant percentage of the population claim German ancestry. For sources: ''see table in German diaspora main article''.〕 Thus, the total number of Germans lies somewhere between 100 and more than 150 million, depending on the criteria applied〔 (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans, partial German ancestry, etc.).
Today, people from countries with a German-speaking majority such as Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other historically-tied countries like Luxembourg, have developed their own ''national'' identity (not ''ethnic'' identity), and since the end of World War II, have not referred to themselves as "Germans" in a modern context.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Austria: Tough choice of self-determination )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Austria - AUSTRIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY )〕
The German term ''Deutsche'' originates from the Old High German word ''diutisc'' (from ''diot'' "people"), referring to the Germanic "language of the people". It is not clear how commonly, if at all, the word was used as an ethnonym in Old High German.
Used as a noun, ''ein diutscher'' in the sense of "a German" emerges in Middle High German, attested from the second half of the 12th century.〔
e.g. Walther von der Vogelweide. See Lexer, ''Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch'' (1872–1878), s.v. "Diutsche".
The Middle High German Song of Roland (ca. 1170) has ''in diutisker erde'' (65.6) for "in the German realm, in Germany".
The phrase ''in tütschem land'', whence the modern ''Deutschland'', is attested in the late 15th century (e.g. Johann Geiler von Kaysersberg, Ship of Fools, see Grimm, ''Deutsches Wörterbuch'', s.v. "Deutsch").〕
The Old French term ''alemans'' is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as ''almains'' in the early 14th century. The word ''Dutch'' is attested in English from the 14th century, denoting continental West Germanic ("Dutch" and "German") dialects and their speakers.〔''OED'', s.v. () "Dutch, adj., n., and adv."〕
While in most Romance languages the Germans have been named from the Alamanni (in what became Swabia) (some, like standard Italian ''tedeschi'', retain an older borrowing of the endonym), the Old Norse, Finnish and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. In Slavic languages, the Germans were given the name of '' '' (singular '), originally with a meaning "foreigner, one who does not speak ()".
The English term ''Germans'' is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term ''Germani'' used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced ''Dutch'' and ''Almains'', the latter becoming mostly obsolete by the early 18th century.〔("German" ), ''The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology''. Ed. T. F. Hoad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 4 March 2008.〕
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