German Language – Panorama

Language and Society

Only children who are introduced to books when they are young develop a personal interest in reading later on. Photo: joingate © 123RF

More Reading Pleasure

The “Lesespaß” Initiative in Gütersloh aims to motivate children and young people to read and to build their reading skills. The Goethe-Institut is involved as a partner with innovative projects.More ...
Is the morning hour perhaps just unhealthy? Photo: maxxyustas © 123RF

Proverbs – do they make sense anymore?

In his book Morgenstund ist ungesund, author and journalist Walter Schmidt shows us how many of our common proverbs are not as wise as they sound. So why do we use them at all?More ...
What role did language have in the peace process? Photo: Lise Gagne © iStockphoto

How language used to create peace

How were peace agreements reached in early modern times? What role did language have in the process? A group of scientists joined forces on a far-reaching project to explore these questions.More ...
Translation programs are improving. Photo: Stuart Miles © iStockphoto

Getting better, but not perfect: Machine translation

Ever-larger volumes of text need to be translated for international documentation. Computers are making advances in this area of work. Still, they aren't completely effective without human assistance.More ...
People can be racist without necessarily being hostile toward someone. Photo: Helder Almeida © iStockphoto

Traces of racism in the German language

Very few people see themselves as racists. But does that mean that the way they talk or the words they use are free of racism? Definitely not, says Susan Arndt. Her book shows readers the dark side of the German language.More ...
The Flag of Ostfriesland Photo: gemeinfrei

“Platt” is Modern – A Few Insights

“Plattdeutsch” has regained popularity. It is spoken in many places from Borkum in the north-west of Germany to Usedom on its eastern border. Young people are learning it again, and it is taught to guests. Its proximity to English eases learning.More ...
Aside from English, fewer students are really learning another foreign language. Photo: Pgiam © iStockphoto

Jürgen Trabant: English is smothering the great cultural languages

Jürgen Trabant, a professor from Berlin, thinks the major losers in the unbridled expansion of English in business, science and everyday life will be French, Italian and German.More ...
The BlaBlaMeter helps readers to inspect a text for bits of copy that are light on substance. Photo: kickers © iStockphoto

A cool head for hot air: BlaBlaMeter

“How much bullshit is in your copy?” is the question asked on the BlaBlaMeter web site. The brain behind the site is a clever computer program that helps readers to inspect a text for bits of copy that are light on substance.More ...
A number of projects shall improve the language skills of children of immigrant families. Photo: fatihhoca © iStockphoto

Learning languages at day care

Children of immigrant families often speak the language of their parents when they are at home, but while they are at day care they are immersed in a German-language environment. A number of projects to improve the language skills of these children have been initiated.More ...
Innovative learning projects have been distinguished with European Union certification in 2011. Photo: © eTwinning

Innovative ideas for learning languages

A number of innovative learning projects have been distinguished with European Union certification in 2011: a German-Polish joint project in Görlitz and an eTwinning project with trainee chefs from all over Europe.More ...
The glovico.org website uses Skype to offer language-learning opportunities. Photo: Edward Bock © iStockphoto

Fair-trade Online Language Tuition

The “glovico.org” website uses Skype to offer language-learning opportunities from native speakers from Latin America, Africa and Asia. The company creates an additional source of income for teachers from developing countries.More ...
Linguistic criticism of a different kind: The “Sprachverführer” by Thomas Steinfeld Photo: Andrejs © iStockphoto

“Der Sprachverführer”, an Enticing German Language Guide

In his “Sprachverführer”, Thomas Steinfeld takes his readers on a journey through the German language in 33 essays on subjects ranging from the emergence of German as a civilized language to the language of the generation of 1968.More ...
Jürgen Trabant; © privat

“When Language Dies, Culture Dies Too”. An Interview with Jürgen Trabant

Linguistics expert Jürgen Trabant talked to Goethe.de about the fact that young people have stopped talking, a museum for dead languages and the merits of Latin.More ...
Is it true that children learn foreign languages better than adults? Photo: Catherine Yeulet © iStockphoto

The role of age in learning foreign languages

“If you’ve gone through puberty already, you’ll no longer be able to speak a foreign language perfectly.” This and other blanket statements are not the only thing disputed. But they agree on one thing: Children learn languages differently than adults.More ...
In the past comics were considered as substandard and even dangerous. Photo: Stephen Giordano © iStockphoto

Learning German through comics

When Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck rose to stardom in the 1950s, they were boycotted by teachers in Germany for their unpolished and base vernacular. Today comics are being used in foreign-language classes precisely for their distinctive linguistic qualities.More ...
How experience descendants of migrants their own language biographies? Photo: Marion Nelle © Ruhr 2010

“Arabic is my native country, German is my home” – Days of Languages in the Ruhr

The children and grandchildren of former guest workers often speak two languages. The significance of multilingualism was discussed at the “Days of Languages in the Ruhr”.More ...
Language education plays a key role. Photo: fatihhoca © iStockphoto

Educators learn how to learn languages

Learning grammar structures and teaching small children to read and write all play an important role in early education. But this ultimately poses new challenges for educators.More ...
Every pupil in Europe should not learn just one, but two foreign languages. Photo: Julia Nichols © iStockphoto

Foreign languages in German Schools and Kindergartens

Foreign languages open doors to other cultures, to interesting vocations and to the hearts of people who speak a different language. Most people learn their first foreign language at school – much too late, say experts.More ...
The project coordinator Anneli Sarhimaa Photo: Virkakuvia Annelista

ELDIA measures the forces between the languages in Europe

The interdisciplinary research project ELDIA began in March of this year. Coordinator Anneli Sarhimaa tells us how the project hopes to contribute to a better understanding between the different languages in today’s Europe.More ...
Every language has its own culture of vehemence Photo: Nina Malyna © iStockphoto

How does the world curse?

The odd curse and rant are part of everyday life in Germany. We are confronted with it everywhere. But it is not unique to this country. Every nation has its own conventions regarding the use of swearwords.More ...
The publishers of dictionaries react to the Web 2.0 Photo: M. G. Mooij © iStockphoto

Dictionary 2.0

The age of printed reference works is coming to an end. The German dictionary market, too, is increasingly moving onto the internet. New providers and traditional publishers are trying to tap the benefits of Web 2.0.More ...
© colourbox

Towards a Better Understanding – The Interpreting and Translation Services of the EU

23 different official languages – the EU’s interpreting and translation services have really got their work cut out for them.More ...
A language course at the Goethe-Institut increases the chances to 78 percent Photo: Chris Schmidt © iStockphoto

Immigrant Spouses – What the new Law Changes

In 2007 the residency laws in Germany were altered to require basic German language skills for foreign spouses who wanted to join their partners here. How does this affect people trying to reunite with their loved ones?More ...
Teutonic tongue is not a liability for a band’s popularity Copyright: Roland Aust

“Nothing but love” – German Musicians Stand by their Language

Harsh, awkward, unwieldy. Even unmusical. For years that is how many people felt about German in music. But things have changed. Nowadays there are more genres than ever in which German is quite a natural choice.More ...
In addition to their languages, neighbouring countries also have many delicacies to offer; © Eurokita.jpg

Growing Up With The Neighbour’s Language

An all-purpose English is usually the first foreign language learned at German schools. In border regions, however, kindergarteners already learn the national language of the neighbouring country.More ...
Does it make a difference to the language which writing tool is used to write a text? Copyright: iStockphoto - Stephen Morris

The Influence of Writing Tools on Language Usage

Language guardians have been complaining for years that the German language is in decline. Computers are to blame, they say. Really? Does it make a difference to the language which writing tool is used to write a text - a pen, a typewriter or a computer?More ...
Manfred Gotta invented the product name Megaperls for the traditional brand Persil. Photo/Copyright: Gollnick

Product Names Are more than Sound and Smoke

“Names are sound and smoke”, it says in Goethe’s Faust I. To make sure this is not the case, companies are putting their money on name inventors like the pioneer of the industry Manfred Gotta. Smart, Twingo, Cayenne, Megaperls and Evonik – all these expressions come from his word smithy.More ...
The German language “Miss Manners” belongs on every bookshelf. Foto/Copyright: Gollnick

Guidelines for the Tongue – the Miss Manners Communication Manual for the German Language

A sentence can open doors – or shut them. Everywhere linguistic clangers are waiting to be dropped, at the job and in private. The Deutsch-Knigge, the “Miss Manners for the German Language”, from the publishing house Duden, knows what to do and gives numerous examples of reliable formulations and communication. This is important, for language plays a key role in social conduct.More ...
It awakens longings for Spring, freshness and change: An advert for Persil from 1926. Copyright: picture-alliance/ ZB

Whispering to Our Longings: Advertisers Know What We Want

We're all seducible. Nobody knows that better than an advertising writer. Hence he or she is always on the lookout for the perfect wording that conjures up wishes and longings within us.More ...
Thorsten Eitz und Georg Stötzel; Cop.: Stötzel/Eitz

The Nazi Past in Common Parlance Today – When Language is Turned into an Issue

Linguists, Georg Stötzel and Thorsten Eitz, have been doing research on words from Germany’s Nazi past that are still in common parlance and have compiled their findings in their book, Wörterbuch der „Vergangenheitsbewältigung“ (Dictionary of Coming to Terms with the Past). They were interviewed on how the book came about, Nazi comparisons and the burden of the past.More ...

Language and Knowledge

German as a Second Language? | © Ich-und-Du / pixelio.de

German as a Second Language in Schools

People from an immigrant background often have difficulty tackling this so-called “language of education” and the schools are not paying enough attention to this, says Barbara Krischer.More ...
Audience of the RheinMoselCampus | © Hochschule Koblenz via Wikimedia Commons, Lizenz CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

University Study Programmes in English - Yes or No?

At universities all over the world English is becoming more and more important as the language of instruction. It is however still a moot point whether this is of benefit to the international academic community.More ...
“Wortreich” is set up as a mini world of science and hands-on experiences. Photo: © wortreich in Bad Hersfeld

“Where everyone has a say” – Germany’s first language museum

“Wortreich”, Germany’s first interactive language and communications museum, opened its doors in October 2011. Visitors to the exhibit can experience the fascinating diversity of language and discourse.More ...
Are our computers equipped to handle a multilingual Europe? Photo: © META-NET

New technology for Europe’s many languages

Excluding the numerous regional and minority dialects and languages in Europe, 23 languages are spoken in the European Union. But are our computers equipped to handle a multilingual Europe?More ...
Eleven students are being trained to become qualified translators, interpreters and communications experts

Türkçeden Almancaya çevirmek – Germany’s First Turkish University Course

The Master’s Programme in Turkish Language, Culture and Translation was launched at the University of Mainz, the first course for native speakers of Turkish anywhere in Germany.More ...

Language Policy in the EU: Common Values vs Particular Interests

All the members of the European Union espouse the common value of fair and efficient cooperation.More ...

Multimedia-Based Learning: Laptops in German Classrooms

Christiane and Susanne are telling the story of Kelly’s strange experiences in a greenhouse. But it’s not the content of the multimedial-presented story, which they wrote themselves, that is important here.More ...
„“Mnemonic devices won’t get you very far”: To memorize the stroke order in writing Chinese characters, the only thing that helps is practice, practice, practice. Photo/Copyright: Esther Lerrahn

“The first Ten Characters Are the Hardest”: Chinese for Beginners at German Schools

English, French, Spanish or Latin: these are the foreign languages most German kids learn at school. But more and more exotic sounds have been seeping out of German classrooms lately: Chinese lessons are catching on.More ...

German – A Language Learned all over the World, but Firmly Rooted in Europe

German is the second foreign language in the European Union (EU) and when it comes to the 90 million people whose mother tongue is German, it is actually in first place.More ...
Prof. Dr. phil. Ulrich Ammon. Copyright: Universität Duisburg-Essen

German as a Language of Science and Scholarship: Once a World Language, Now One of Many “Niche Languages”

In the nineteenth century, German was one of the most important languages of the science and scholarship, and scholars and scientists all over the world learned German. Today, on the other hand, German has disappeared from the realm of international communication, particularly in the sciences. Even as the language of instruction at German universities, the monopoly of German has been broken. By Ulrich Ammon.More ...

Language and Profession

The significance of foreign language abilities in the working world is definitely on the rise. Photo: dimmu © 123RF

The Job Profile is Decisive – Foreign Languages in the Workplace

While good foreign language skills play an increasingly important role in the workplace, every situation is different.More ...
A lot of companies target customers who are not just German speaking. Photo: Jacob Wackerhausen © iStockphoto

Business Success Through Linguistic Diversity

In the “Charter for Diversity” initiative, companies undertake to appreciate the diverse potential of their staff and the needs of their customers. That includes cultural aspects, one of which is identification with a language.More ...
Language and Integration Mediators also create a confidential and secure atmosphere. Photo: Ilse Straube

New Job: Language and Integration Mediator

Misunderstandings frequently arise between migrants and specialist staff in government agencies and in schools. The new job of language and integration mediator is intended to provide a long-term solution to this problem.More ...
Original versions of foreign movies with German subtitles are rare in Germany. Photo: Igor Smichkov © iStockphoto

To Read along: Film subtitles

Imagine the telephone rings and Brad Pitt is on the phone. Would you recognize his voice? The answer is probably “no” if you live in Germany because it is not Brad Pitt's voice that you typically hear. It is voice actor Tobias Meister.More ...
Computer linguistic technologies are still moving forward at a rapid pace. Photo: Andrejs Pidjass © iStockphoto

Why computers can’t talk like people ... yet

The real challenge for computer linguists is bridging the gap between the formal logic of machines and the complex natural languages we speak.More ...
The areas in which communications trainers can work range from public speaking to intercultural communication Photo: Steve Cole © iStockphoto

Behind the Words: Communications Trainers

The same language but no understanding? Communications trainers help to get messages across effectively, avoid misunderstandings and raise an awareness of language.More ...
Nearly every foreign film is shown in a dubbed German version Copyright: Barry Gregg

On Hollywood’s Lips: Voice Actors

When actors from all around the world have a German voice, it is not because they are polyglots. Voice actors make cinema and TV stars comprehensible for the audience.More ...
Language as profession: Simultaneous Interpreters Copyright: istockphoto James Tutor

Always Fluent: Simultaneous Interpreters

Listen to and speak two different languages at once? It’s all in a day’s work for simultaneous interpreters. A profession that always demands the highest standards and a perfect command of both languages.More ...
Gerlinde Kempendorff, Photo:Tom Wagner

“Beauty in Language is a Wonderful Thing”

Gerlinde Kempendorff has made language her profession. As a singer, lecturer, cabaret artiste, actress and presenter she uses the spoken word consciously every day. A discussion about the “right” rhetoric.More ...

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