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Six Reasons To Learn German Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in Culture, Geography, History, Intercultural, Language

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.

German flag

 

GERMAN IS SPOKEN IN SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

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.

 

GERMAN IS ALSO SPOKEN OUTSIDE OF EUROPE

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!

NamibiaDeutscheSprache

German signs in Namibia. By BlueMars (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

IT HAS A VERY HIGH STATUS IN THE EU

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.

 

IT’S FULL OF FASCINATING WORDS UNIQUE TO GERMAN

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!

 

IT IS A CHALLENGE

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)!

 

….. BUT MAYBE NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK!

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:

  • This blog has a vast archive of posts on various topics relating to German language and culture. Use the search bar to search for any topic you like!
  • Our German Word Of The Day feature, which you will see on the right hand-side of the blog, teaches you one word per day.
  • If you’re looking for structured, online language lessons, look no further than Transparent Language.

And remember to sign up to our newsletter by filling in the form below!

Happy language learning. Viel Glück. 🙂 And if you’re already learning German – what’s your reason?

 

By the way… want more free language learning resources, advice, and news from Transparent Language? Sign up for our newsletter!

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. James:

    Nationalistic rubbish again.

    • Constanze:

      @James Please explain further. 🙂

      • dshux:

        @Constanze you look proud of your colonialist past! it’s a shame that german is spoken by people outside of europe! brazil argentina us and namibia belong to their people and there is no pride about bringing your language there!

        • Constanze:

          @dshux I simply stated that German is spoken outside of Europe, and gave the reasons for that. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

        • Josep:

          @dshux If you don’t like hearing people speak German where it’s not an official language, how different would it be if someone spoke some other language where it isn’t the official one?
          Why do people in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, India, Pakistan and South Africa speak English?
          Why do people in most of Latin America speak Spanish?
          Why do people in some African countries speak French?
          Why do people in Mozambique, Angola, Brazil, Macau and East Timor speak Portuguese?
          You do realize Germany wasn’t the only country with a colonialist past. Why single out German when English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish and Dutch are also spoken outside of Europe? What is so shameful about its presence outside of Europe? How would it be different if Chinese, Japanese or Korean were spoken outside of Asia? Or if Swahili were spoken outside of Africa?

    • Josep:

      @James How the heck is this “nationalistic”? He’s only discussing the German language, not Germany. Besides, German is spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium and Luxembourg. Would it be different it were promoting a different language such as Hebrew? (Yes, I know this website isn’t about Hebrew, but the point still stands).

      As for the article itself, a seventh reason I’d like to add to the list is that, unlike in English, words in German are spelled the way they’re pronounced. Each German vowel has its own distinct sound, as opposed to English vowels and digraphs having multiple different sounds (e.g. the ‘ea’ in ‘hear’, ‘heard’, ‘head’, ‘heart’ and ‘break’).

      • Constanze:

        @Josep Thank you, Josep, for this comment, and for your seventh reason! It’s true that English language can be baffling in ways that German sometimes – surprisingly – isn’t. 🙂 And yes, this is a blog about German language learning, so I thought a post entitled ‘Six reasons to learn German’ would be quite normal on here.

  2. jereme ortega:

    You are exactly right on the importance of learning German and the reasons why it would be helpful in the world of business in Europe and abroad. I studied German in College and continue to learn new words in my spare time. Don’t listen to the pessimistic comments. Yours are all valid.

    • Constanze:

      @jereme ortega Thank you, Jereme! Glad you agree. Keep at it with the learning! 🙂