Standard German, High German, or more precisely Standard High German (German: Standarddeutsch, Hochdeutsch, Standardhochdeutsch or, in Switzerland, Schriftdeutsch), is the standardized variety of the German language used in formal contexts and for communication between different dialect areas. It is a pluricentric Dachsprache with three codified (or standardised) specific regional variants: German Standard German, Austrian Standard German, and Swiss Standard German.
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Regarding the spelling and punctuation, a recommended standard is published by the Council for German Orthography which represents the governments of all majority and minority German-speaking countries and dependencies. Adherence is obligatory for government institutions, including schools. Regarding the pronunciation, although there is no official standards body, there is a long-standing de facto standard pronunciation (Bühnendeutsch), most commonly used in formal speech and teaching materials. It is similar to the formal German spoken in and around Hanover. Adherence to those standards by private individuals and companies, including the print and audio-visual media, is voluntary but widespread.
As of 2020, there were 132 million speakers of Standard German, mostly concentrated in German-speaking Europe.