Ever consider learning German? Compound words, cases and ample conjugations, oh my! Learning German is an ambitious task, but people worldwide are learning Deutsch in increasing numbers, especially the business-minded. But there are more reasons to learn it, beyond Germany’s position as Europe’s largest economy and the fourth largest in the world. CORE Languages believes German is a language of the future and reveres the intellectual and cultural heritage provided by Germans of the past. This enthusiasm for all things German spawned our top five reasons for learning German.
Did you know Germany has the most citizens of any country in Europe, at 83 million inhabitants? German is the most common native language in Europe, meaning that although more people speak English at various proficiency levels, Deutsch is the language in which the most people are fluent. In addition, it’s the second most-spoken language in Europe overall. Four countries besides Germany cite it as a national language, including Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. German is also a front runner as a foreign language. In Japan it is the second most taught language, and it is the third most popular foreign language to learn on earth. Read on to find out why German is so popular!
Reading groundbreaking research and texts in the thinker’s native tongue, rather than a translation, is a cool and insightful experience. You’ve probably heard about the superiority of German engineering, but in addition, we’d like to highlight the long history of superb German science. Although Einstein is the most recognizable name in science, Germany’s scientific accomplishments don’t stop with Albert. Germany is the runner-up for number of Nobel Prizes in chemistry and ranks third in prizes for physiology and medicine. Therefore it’s no surprise that German is the second most common language for science. A less well-known fact is that a few fathers of the social science psychology were also German-speaking. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian medical doctor who, amid his many controversial beliefs, first developed talking therapy methods to improve mental health. Wilhelm Wundt began the first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879. Innovation and experimentation are German fortés, and their work ethic, efficiency and precision are world-renowned.
The intellectual contributions made by German-speakers aren’t confined to science and engineering: the arts and humanities have been embellished by German-speaking contributors. In a single feat, Gutenburg’s printing press was a great step in both mechanical innovation and dissemination capabilities for the written word. Today, the market for German books is surpassed in size only by the English and Chinese markets. Works by Mann, Goethe and Kafka continue to inspire and fifteen Nobel Prizes have gone to German authors. After adding to the list of great German-speaking minds the excellent philosophers and some of the world’s greatest composers (Mozart, Bach, Schubert and Beethoven), you might start to wonder if the ability to think in German heightens intelligence and creativity.
But rest assured German-speakers aren’t always in the laboratory, workshop, office or studio. Germans like to have a good time too! This birthplace of Pilsners and wheat beer or weizenbier, among others varieties, values its beer and makes time to savor it and socialize. The Oktoberfest beer festival is famous for long community tables where making friends is hardly optional. The wine in Germany is not shabby either. German precision and industriousness have also produced great athletes; sports and other outdoor activities are a big deal in Germany. If you’re able to make it at the end of the year, German Christmases are spectacular displays. Although we will not promote any particular behavior with this fact, while we’re discussing fun, seventy percent of German roads have no speed limit.
Since you have read this far in CORE Language’s English article on German language, it’s time to highlight why German is a great language for English speakers to learn. Shared Germanic roots and the same alphabet, with the addition of a few distinctly German letters, make for an easy learning experience from English. Similarities in vocabulary and cognates favor English speakers because forty percent of the vocabulary is recognizable, to some degree, between the two languages. With that momentum to motivate you, know that studying and working in Germany is feasible, because many scholarships to study in Germany are available. Young people from many countries can acquire working holiday visas to gain experience in Germany and working visas are also available for skilled laborers and professionals.
A final point for US citizens: fifteen percent of the ancestry of the US is German, which is a significant figure in a country known as the world’s melting pot. The United States has no official language, largely because selecting English as the national language in the eighteenth century would have alienated the many German-speakers in the new nation.
CORE Languages believes learning German is relatively easy for English-speakers and is a wise choice to access the great German accomplishments of the past and propel you into competitiveness for future opportunities. Stay tuned to the CORE Languages blog for a spotlight on German companies and business prowess!