Reasons for learning another language
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Countries in which German is spoken
Official language in:
Recognised minority language in:
Why learn German? A few reasons parents choose DSAA
- Italy (South Tyrol)
Recognised minority language in:
- Czech Republic
- Italy (Trentino; as "Cimbrian")
- Namibia (national language; official language 1984–90)
- Poland (Auxiliary language)
- Slovakia (Official municipal language of Krahule/Blaufuß)
- Brazil (Espírito Santo and Rio Grande do Sul; as "Pomeranian" and "Riograndenser Hunsrückisch German")
- South Africa
- Vatican City (Co-Administrative and co-commanding language of the Swiss Guard)
- Venezuela (Colonia Tovar)
Why learn German? A few reasons parents choose DSAA
- To capitalize on the students’ learning ability. Some parents want to take advantage of children’s’ natural gift for learning a second language at an early age; and then some parents simply have a child yearning to learn!
- To maintain family ties and native proficiency. Some families have German relatives and hope to keep the door open to their German heritage. Other students with native or near-native proficiency come to our school to maintain and improve their German.
- To foster success in school. Students who take German score higher on college acceptance tests (ACT / SAT) than other students. You need at least two years of a foreign language to study at top universities. Many other colleges highly recommend it or require it as well. Tests administered by the American Association for Teachers of German can be reported to the students' high school for inclusion in their permanent record.
- To study in Germany. In accordance with an AP policy adopted by the German government and universities, American high school students will be admitted directly to German universities if they have passed four AP tests with a score of three (3) or higher. According to the Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen, the AP examination in German is accepted as sufficient proof of knowledge of German for admission to a course of study at a German university. Students, who pass the Sprachdiplom II, will not be required to take the German foreign language proficiency test required of foreign students who wish to study at the university level in Germany. This will give the student the opportunity to have a truly authentic German University experience rather than being limited to attending a program that is taught in English.
- To participate in an exchange program. Many schools are involved in either a travel abroad or exchange program. Such students who learn German can tour places in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- To gain a deeper understanding of English. German and English are both Germanic languages. They both began as basically the same language. They share many of the same words, word origins and grammar characteristics. Both have expanded their vocabularies, especially with Greek, Latin and French words. This makes German a good choice for English speakers.
- To learn about your American heritage. One out of every four Americans nationwide has German heritage. German-Americans are one of the largest ethnic groups in America today. This is confirmed by the 1990 Census, according to which more Americans claim German "ancestry or ethnic origin" than any other: 57.9 million (23.3%). In comparison, 38.7 million (15.6%) claim Irish ancestry, 32.7 million (13.1%) English, 23.8 million (9.6%) Afro-American, 14.7 million (5.9%) Italian, and smaller numbers for other groups. Germans have made tremendous contributions to our country. Some of the more famous include Levi Strauss, Albert Einstein, Werner von Braun, and Henry Kissinger. German is an American "Heritage Language." It allows understanding of authentic German texts in family, community, and nation. Our mainstream culture, our way of life, has been markedly influenced by millions of German-speaking immigrants and their descendants. In "multicultural America" German is a "Heritage Language" of major importance. A vast amount of early records, letters, diaries, etc. were written in German, and America's German-language press had an output that was greater than that of all other foreign-language presses combined. (Some newspapers, like the Nord-Amerikanische Wochenpost and the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung are still available today.) Both the written and the printed legacy are important sources for an understanding of local, state and national history and culture.
- To learn the language spoken by over 120 million people. German is spoken in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, as well as parts of other European countries. West of Russia, twice as many people speak German in Europe than any other language. After English, German is the most popular foreign language to learn in Europe. It is the most popular foreign language of study in eastern European schools.
- To enhance your job prospects in the United States. Many American companies are owned by German companies. You may have heard about the Mercedes purchase of Chrysler or the acquisition of Random House Books by Bertelsmann. German companies now represent the largest source of foreign employment in the United States today. Most of the firms name German as the language they would most like their employees to know.
- To participate in the German economic success. International engineering and business are crucial for the economic health of the U.S. The Federal Republic of Germany is America's largest trading partner in Europe and its third largest partner in the world. More than 1,100 companies from German-speaking countries have subsidiaries in the U.S. and more than 750 U.S. companies do business in Germany. German and Japanese are the pilot languages for new Microsoft products that will eventually be brought onto the market. In the 1994 survey conducted by the German American Chamber of Commerce, 64.9% of all respondents conducting business with Germany "specifically ask for German and English bilingual skills when conducting a search for new employees."
"German is the language of commerce in the EC (European Community) and especially important as the bridge language into the former east block countries," says Manfred Reimann of Ballantrae International, LTD, in Seattle, Washington.
Germany and China host the most trade shows. Trade shows are an excellent way to sell products to distributors all over the world, not just in the host countries. Almost half of all U.S. pharmaceuticals come from Germany and Switzerland. Medical research continues to thrive in Germany and many American companies have affiliates in German-speaking countries. German continues to be one of the main languages of scientific publications.
Germany has made tremendous strides in pollution control, oceanography, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and wildlife management. American and German research scientists often cooperate, as in JOIDES, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth sampling. The creation of the international Nautical Almanac is another cooperative venture, as is the SPACELAB.
- To get a job in the global economy. Germany has the world's third largest economy (after the USA and Japan). Germany is the largest economic and political influence in Europe. Germany has the highest paid workers in the world and is also the leading export nation in the world in proportion to its population. Switzerland, another German-speaking country, is one of the world's richest nations. The standard of living in German speaking countries is among the highest on Earth.
- To appreciate European culture. Many of the founding documents of European culture have been written in the German language.
- Literature (Goethe, Schiller, Thomas Mann, Kafka)
- Classical music (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart)
- Art (Kollwitz, Dürer, Klee, Kaninsky)
- Psychology (Freud, Jung)
- Philosophy (Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno)
- Science (Einstein, Kepler, Röntgen, Planck, Virchow)
- To be a scientist. A majority of the world's scientists have come from or studied in German-speaking countries. Many new scientific discoveries happen in German-speaking countries and much scientific information is only available in German. The newest elements on the Periodic Table were just discovered by a German scientist. Universities encourage science majors to learn German.
- To be a great musician. Most of the western world's famous composers and musicians came from German-speaking countries. Vienna, the capital of Austria, has been the world center of music for hundreds of years. Think of Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Händel, Mozart......
- To work in the tourism industry. Germans are the most traveled people in the world. You will find German tourists everywhere. In the US, they are among the most numerous tourists in states like Florida, New York, and California. Many American tourists go to German speaking countries, which are some of the most beautiful countries in the world. Plus, German is widely spoken throughout Europe.
Sources: American Assoc. of Teachers of German, Dartmouth College, National Council for the Social Studies, St. Olaf College, Univ. of St. Thomas, US News & World Report, World Book Encyclopedia