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If you’re reading this blog post, it’s safe to assume you’re either a) already learning German, or b) thinking about it. Maybe you have a specific reason to learn German (family, work, etc.) or you’re interested in language learning in general, and are considering German as the language you want to learn. Whatever your reason is, sometimes it’s worth being reminded of why German is such a worthwhile language to learn. So here are my 6 top reasons to learn German.
Not only is German spoken in Germany and Austria, it is an official language of Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and a national minority language in several other European countries including Italy (South Tyrol), Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Czech Republic and Romania. That means you could get around most of Europe fairly well with your German language skills.
Due to mass German/Swiss immigration from the 19th Century onwards, you’ll also find German spoken in parts of Brazil, Argentina, and USA. Knowing the German language and/or having an interest in German culture will make visiting places with German ancestry in those countries particularly interesting, especially if you get a chance to experience dialect – such as the Pennsylvania German spoken in parts of the USA.
Due to colonisation, German is also spoken in parts of Africa, including Namibia, where it is considered an official (minority) language. You can find the German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung in Namibia, for example.
So although you may not be able to get around Brazil or Namibia using German language alone, knowing it may help a little. Learning about how and why German language is used across the world is fascinating, too!
The EU currently has three ‘working languages’: English, German and French. Although nothing is definite yet, once the UK leaves the EU, it is speculated that English language might ‘lose importance’. That potentially means the EU will do more of its business in German, giving the German language a much greater status in Europe. But even if that doesn’t happen, learning German is still worthwhile because of its prevalence and importance across Europe: being able to speak German could open up lots more job opportunities for you.
Because of the way German can put nouns together to create long, compound nouns, this language is full of words that just don’t exist in other languages. These are things that would take entire sentences to explain in English, for example. These include Torschlusspanik (‘door closing panic’ – the panic you feel as you realise you’re getting older and have limited time to take all of life’s opportunities) and Handschuhschneeballwerfer (‘glove snowball thrower’ – a rather creative way of calling someone a wimp), to name a few. Here on the German blog we love these words so much, we have an entire series dedicated to them. German has the best words!
So many people have told me how difficult German is to learn. Why is that a GOOD reason to learn it? Because that makes it a challenge. I’m a firm believer that challenges are more rewarding than easy tasks. Once you get the hang of German possessive pronouns, or fully grasp the etiquette of the two different types of ‘you’ in German, you will feel ridiculously good about yourself (and people will think you’re pretty smart, too)!
Although it might seem an alien language at first, take comfort in knowing that German and English come from the same language family. That means that for every confusing word you come across you’ll also find plenty of similarities between German and English words. This will hopefully boost your confidence and help speed up your learning. 🙂
If you’re learning German or thinking about starting, there are several resources right here at Transparent Language which will help you on your journey:
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Happy language learning. Viel Glück. 🙂 And if you’re already learning German – what’s your reason?