Learn German - Why? Reasons to Learn
German is the most widely spoken
language in Europe.
More people speak German as their native
language than any other language in Europe. It's no wonder, since
Germany's 83 million inhabitants make it the most populous European
nation. But not only the residents of Germany speak German. It is also
an official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and
Liechtenstein. And it is the native language of a significant portion of
the population in northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands,
Denmark, eastern France, parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia,
and Romania, as well as in other parts of Europe.
While learning German can connect you to 120 million native speakers
around the globe, remember that many people also learn German as a
second language. It is the 3rd most popular foreign language taught
worldwide and the second most popular in Europe and Japan, after
Knowing German creates business
economic strength equals business opportunities. Multinational business
opportunities exist throughout the European Union and in the Eastern
European countries, where German is the second most spoken language
after Russian. Companies like BMW, Daimler, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP,
Bosch, Infineon, BASF, and many others need international partners. The
Japanese, who have the 2nd most powerful economy in the world,
understand the business advantages that a knowledge of German will bring
them: 68% of Japanese students study German.
If you're looking for employment in the United States, knowing German
can give you great advantages. German companies account for 700,000 jobs
in the United States, and US companies have created approximately the
same number of jobs in Germany. All other things being equal, the job
candidate with German skills will trump the one without such skills
every time. Most surveyed companies in the United States would choose
someone with German literacy over an equally qualified candidate.
Germans form the largest single
heritage group in the U.S.
you're American or are interested in American culture, learning German
can expand your appreciation and knowledge of U.S. history and culture.
In the year 2000 census, 42.8 million or 15.2% of Americans reported
having German ancestry, making German Americans the largest single
heritage group in the U.S.
In waves of immigration that span nearly 4
centuries, Germans brought with them many customs and traditions that
have become so ingrained in American ways that their origin is often
forgotten. Family names and names of thousands of towns and cities
indicate the German heritage of their ancestors or founders. Such
cultural mainstays as kindergarten, the Christmas tree, and hot dogs and
hamburgers were introduced by German immigrants to America. They founded
multiple breweries, created Levi's jeans, invented ketchup, and created
Hershey's chocolate. Germans had such a fundamental presence at the time
of the founding of the United States that a German language version of
the Declaration of Independence was printed only a few days after it was
U.S. Census Bureau
German is required or recommended by
many undergraduate and graduate programs.
German speakers' strong contributions in
such a broad array of fields makes the language an important asset in
many disciplines. At the University of California, for instance, more
majors recommend a knowledge of German as an important supplement than
any other language (German: 56 majors, French: 43 majors, Spanish: 21
majors, Japanese: 7 majors). These majors include a wide range of
subjects -- from biology, physics, and chemistry to linguistics,
religious studies, and art history.
Considering the importance of the German language in the fields of
publishing and research, it's not surprising that many graduate schools
want their graduates to have at least a reading knowledge of German.
Knowing German gives graduates access to important research published in
German books and professional journals.
German-speaking countries have a rich
Goethe's Faust is one of the world's great
Apart from their many contributions to
American culture, the German speakers have a rich cultural heritage in
their own right. Germany is often referred to as the land of "Dichter
und Denker" -- of poets and thinkers. And rightly so, because German
contributions to the arts and human thought have been nothing short of
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, and Hermann Hesse
are just a few authors whose names and works are well-known
internationally. 10 Nobel prizes for literature have been awarded to
German, Austrian, and Swiss German authors. The world of classical music
is inseparable from the names of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, and
Wagner to name only a few reknowned German-speaking composers. Vienna
remains an international center of music today. From the magnificent
architecture of medieval buildings to the avant garde Bauhaus movement,
from Dürer's woodcuts to the expressionist masterpieces of Nolde,
Kirchner, and Kokoschka, Germans have made substantial contributions to
world art and architecture.
Philosophy and the sciences would also be unthinkable without the
contributions of German speakers. The philosophies of Kant, Hegel, Marx,
Nietzsche, and numerous others have had lasting influences on modern
society. The psychologists Freud and Jung forever changed the way we
think about human behavior. Scientists from the three major
German-speaking countries have won dozens of Nobel prizes in physics,
chemistry, and medicine.
Knowing German allows you to access the works of these people in their
original language and to fully understand the culture whence they
derived. Anyone interested in these fields automatically expands her
knowledge and skill by knowing German.