Learning German is a fantastic challenge that too few people take on. I once overheard someone (who was learning German) jokingly say, “Life’s too short to learn German.” Yet, there are many reasons why you should learn to speak German and lots of good online resources to help you do it. So, if you want to challenge yourself, all while submerging yourself in the German language and its interesting cultural heritage, academia, and technology, read this article on the top 5 reasons why you should learn to speak German.
Reasons to Learn to Speak German
1. It Is the Most Spoken Native Language in Europe
According to Ethnologue, German boasts 76,9 million native speakers, which makes it the language with the most native speakers on the European continent. It is also the second most spoken language in Europe. German is the official language in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a great reason for at least considering whether it’s a mistake to not learn the German language.
For many centuries, German was considered a lingua franca (a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different) in Europe. German still serves this purpose to an extent today, as it bridges Central and Eastern Europe.
2. It Has Great Cultural Inheritance and its Contribution to Knowledge is Priceless
People commonly refer to Germany as “Das Land der Dichter und Denker” (the land of poets and thinkers). The German-speaking population has profoundly contributed to Literature and the Arts. Among these, 13 Nobel prizes in literature and 30 Nobel prizes in physics have been awarded to German-speaking authors/scientists. Mastering the German language will allow you to read classics of literature, philosophy and social and exact science in their original language; you could even enjoy opera classics (why not?).
Some of the most widely known German-speaking thinkers and artists include:
- Literature: Goethe, Thomas Mann, Günter Grass, Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht
- Social science: Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt, Wolfgang Sachs, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Friedrich Engels.
- Classical music: Schubert, Liszt, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Handel, Mozart.
- Philosophy: Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hegel, Heidegger, Humboldt.
- Sciences: Einstein, Kepler, Röntgen, Braun, Hertz, Heisenberg, Hess, Hilbert, Planck.
3. Excellent Business Opportunities
German is the second most-used language in science. Germany is the third biggest contributor to investigations and offers places to study postdoctoral studies for international scientists.
Furthermore, Germany is the third biggest economy in the world, and it is home to leading corporations of the global market such as Audi, Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas y Lufthansa. Some even call Berlin the “Silicon Valley” of Europe. Mastering German thus opens the door to a plethora of business opportunities in universities or in companies with branches either in your country or abroad.
4. Study at Renowned German Universities
Germany offers numerous scholarships through The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, German acronym) for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the best German universities in diverse disciplines. In 2014, the budget for DAAD was 441 million Euros, awarding 48,254 scholarships to foreign students. Moreover, international students, as well as national students, must pay a surprisingly low-priced university registration fee, which, at times, is nonexistent. Furthermore, getting into a German university isn’t as hard as many think. Not only this, but it is an excellent opportunity to receive a top-notch education.
5. It Is Not as Hard as It Is Made Out to Be
To learn a second language successfully depends on how determined you are and how clear your goals are when learning it. This means that learning German does not depend on whether it’s considered a language with ‘easy’ grammar and pronunciation. If you have clear goals such as studying, working or having a cultural exchange in a German-speaking country, nothing will be able to stop you in your learning process, because you will be constantly motivated to reach your goals.
Furthermore, because German is part of the group of West Germanic languages, it shares many similarities with the English language. That means that memorizing German vocabulary will be easier because you can relate them to similar English vocabulary. For example, the English word chin is kinn in German, water is wasser and father is vater. Not that difficult, is it?
I hope that all these reasons for learning German will motivate you to learn to speak German and to start a new project this summer. Remember that using the right language-learning tools will make the whole process easier. For example, the MosaLingua App to learn German will help you efficiently memorize key German vocabulary and learn German grammar. Additionally, the best German dictionaries online will be of great help!
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