WHY STUDY GERMAN?
Our students have spent a combined 450 hours answering over 241 000 questions over 10 days? How will this help them going ahead? Why do we celebrate our school achieving such outstanding results? What do students gain from spending so much time learning German? What is the value in studying a Language? What are the advantages of studying German? Prompted by Prof Michael Rosemann, The Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Language Roundtable has summarised the main arguments for studying a language in general, and studying German in particular.
1) THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING A LANGUAGE•
to develop a deeper understanding for how languages are composed and to gain a greater sensitivity for grammar. This leads to improved literacy skills, not just in the second language, but also in English. • to better switch between different contexts. Language is more than just letters, it comes with a certain intrinsic culture. For example, you can express one thing in language A, but language B doesn't have a word for that. Seeing the world in two alternative interpretations, is a good capability for being able to multi-task and for the development of alternatives (as needed in innovation).• To develop a higher mental capacity, i.e. the ability to remember. Research, for example, has shown that bilingual people are better at retaining shopping lists, names or directions.• Bilingual speakers are more perceptive, i.e. they are better in observing their surroundings and spotting misleading information (Sherlock Homes / Hercule Poirot spoke multiplelanguages).• Thinking through a problem in a different language (with different nuances) can improve decision-making skills as it might lead to further insights or new perspectives. • For monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4. For adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5.• to develop higher level critical thinking skills as well as having improved analysis and problem solving skills that are transferable to other areas of the curriculum.• studies show that bi- and multilingual people's brains work differently. The two languages "compete" with each other and therefore strengthen that part of the brain. What if this part of the brain happens to be the same part that you will need for whatever it is in life you do value and the career you do plan to follow? • to learn about other people, their ideas, values and alternate ways of thinking. Students are able to develop an interest in and an appreciation and a respect for diverse cultures that they may otherwise lack. Studies have shown that this additional cultural awareness helps to build social cohesiveness through better communication and understanding. This develops confidence, tolerance and higher levels of cultural sensitivity (e.g. in dealing with migrants).• Employers indicate that the knowledge of another language can enhance employment and career prospects as well as contributing to economic, diplomatic and strategic development. In very pragmatic terms, students who have between finishing school and studying can find au pair work, holiday jobs, etc. easier and it adds to the options they have for their studies afterwards.
2) THE BENEFITS OF STUDYING GERMAN
KNOW• German has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union (far more than English, Spanish, or French).• German is among the ten most commonly spoken languages in the world. It is also a lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe. • “All Germans speak English anyway”? That’s a myth.• 92 Nobel Prizes and counting! 22 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 30 in Chemistry, and 25 in Medicine have gone to scientists from the three major German-speaking countries, while many laureates from other countries received their training in German universities. 11 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to German-language writers, and 7 Germans and Austrians have received the Peace Prize. An understanding for German allows reading related work in the native language of the author. German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world. Thus, it may be often required to read German to comprehend these books and articles.• Germans are world leaders in engineering. • Germany is a desired destination for international students (fourth most popular) and has no/limited tuition fees making it an attractive country to study. The university curriculum, however, is still largely delivered in German.• German and English are similar as they share the same linguistic roots making German (in comparison to for example Asian languages) easier to learn. Many words in German sound or look the same as equivalent English words, because the two languages share the same “grandparent.”• The German-speaking world has produced some of the most revered film makers of the 20th century – from Fritz Lang to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and a generation of transnational directors such as Tom Tykwer and Fatih Akin. German and Austrian film makers such as Lang, Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch shaped the history of Hollywood.
THINK• German is the language of the arts - Arendt, Bach, Beethoven, Bonhoeffer, Brahms, Brecht, Buber, Einstein, Freud, Goethe, Grass, Hegel, Heidegger, Heisenberg, Kafka, Kant, Mahler, Mann, Marx, Mozart, Nietzsche, Planck, Schoenberg, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, Weber, and hundreds more great philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, and composers. But these days it’s also the language of choice for writers, filmmakers and thinkers from a wide array of cultural backgrounds, such as Yoko Tawada, Zsuzsanna Gahse, Terézia Mora, Michael Stavarič and Melinda Nadj Abonji. German isn’t just for “Germans” any more. An opera singer wanted to learn German to know what she is actually singing.• The German book market is the third largest in the world, and many of these books covering philosophy, literature, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German and not translated. .de ist the second most popular web domain after .com. Speaking German provides the ability to read approx 15 million web pages.• 68% of all Japanese students study German. What do they know that you don’t?
EARN• Germany is the world’s second-largest exporter. Direct investment by Germany in the United States is over ten billion dollars. Germany is Australia’s tenth biggest trading partner (2014).• The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide. Its economy is comparable to that of all the world’s Spanish-speaking countries combined.• Germany is home to numerous international corporations. Communicating with business partners in their native language is always appreciated and a sign of customer orientation.• Brexit may motivate UK-based companies to move their headquarter to Germany. • Berlin has become the European hub for start-ups and has the largest pool of venture capital in Europe. Austrade’s Berlin Landing Pad is an initiative to attract Australian entrepreneurs to Germany. • Germany is a popular travel destination. Knowing German will make finding a (holiday) job easier.• Germans are among the world most frequent travellers. Anyone in the tourism industry will be exposed to Germans. Knowing their language can create a competitive advantage, or at least a positive customer experience.• German is widely understood in Eastern Europe.