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Why Should I Learn German? Posted by on Jul 30, 2020 in Culture, Film, Language, People, Traditions

Why would you learn German? Let’s look at a few reasons why you would want to learn German! These reasons are by no means exhaustive, but it might give you some inspiration!

Why should I learn a foreign language at all?

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There are a plethora of reasons to learn a language besides your mother tongue. It might just be for work or because you moved to a new place and knowing the local language was simply a necessity. But learning a language can also just be fun! A language is at the core of any culture. What words are used, what words are not used and why tells you about the history, traditions and habits of the people speaking them. Words convey emotions, thoughts, ideas. They are the glue of society.

And languages go beyond words. Gestures and facial expressions are also a part of this. From famous Italian gestures to Indians shaking their heads in agreement with the head bobble.

In this way, languages enrich you. They give you new ways of expressing yourself, perhaps in ways that you had never before experienced. I feel different speaking English, Dutch or German; each language has its own flow and vernacular that influences how you think and feel in them.

So no matter if learning a foreign language is a job requirement or a fun side project, it is certain to engulf you in an entirely new world!

Why should I learn German?

You often hear that German is the biggest European language, that Germany is one of the world’s largest exporters, one of Europe’s largest economies and the second-most used language in academic writing. While impressive, these probably aren’t the reasons that inspire you to learn German unless you are an academic or businessperson.

No, what I find a lot more inspiring is German culture, from books and music to movies and TV. The best movies I’ve seen about the Second World War are German productions. And watching them in another language or with subtitles simply does not do them justice. The subtleties and meaning that hides in the words uttered is difficult to capture in translation.

For example, a big difference in American and German war movies is their different depiction of the emotional impact of war. Every German war movie takes the emotional toll of the war very seriously, and it is often the main theme of these movies. American war movies are more often branded by comradery, brotherhood and honor. Both are valuable to explore, but both are also best explored in their respective native languages.

More light-hearted topics have the same. Stromberg, the German version of the hit show The Office does not copy the absurd humor of Michael Scott, but gives it a German twist. The events are less absurd, but rather are caricatures of events that could actually take place in a German office. This also reminds me of the excellent 2018 comedy Der Vorname. A movie that will only work in German!

And what about books? Or music? The text of the European anthem is German. I remember reading Franz Kafka in High School in the United States, and while the translation is good, it simply is not equal to the original.

This also reminds me of German humor that finds chuckles in being overly formal, like the legendary Loriot.

Not to forget all the quirky fun, super-long German words you could make up, some of the strangest traditions the Swiss practice and the amazing Nationalparks you could explore. Trust me, also those are more fun in German!

Did this spark your interest in learning German? You could try our online language training for free to get ahead quickly!

Why are you learning German? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator and filmmaker.

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