Language and Identity

A bilingual couple: Ursula from Germany and Daniel from Ghana | © Private

Bilingual Relationships: One Love – Many Languages

What are the advantages and disadvantages when personal issues are discussed in a foreign language? Four couples tell their story.More ...
Our society too has its taboos | © triocean - Fotolia.com

“There is no language community without taboos”

How do language taboos arise? What do they say about our society? Professor Andreas Musolff of the University of East Anglia in Norwich explains.More ...
Linguist Guy Deutscher, © C.H. Beck

The Power of Culture – An Interview with Guy Deutscher

Guy Deutscher has been examining the question of how our mother tongue influences our way of thinking and our powers of perception. Goethe.de spoke to this language expert about speaking habits and the power of culture.More ...
A book gives an overview about the Russian-German dialects. © Colurbox.com

Russian-German dialect: bascht, botscht or borschtsch?

In her book on Russian-German dialects, Nina Berend, professor of German studies and director of the “Migration Linguistics” department at the Institute for German Language, portrays a fascinating language microcosm.More ...
Does it make any difference to the knowledge gained whether scientists carry out their research in English or German? Photo: James McQuillan © iStockphoto

Scientific Multilingualism Promotes Innovation

German scientists and scholars are increasingly publishing their work in English. Some scientists now assume that English will eventually prevail as the lingua franca of European science.More ...
German is being increasingly displaced by English in the world of science. Photo: Tomas Skopal © iStockphoto

German as a Language of Science: German Language, Whither Goest thou?

For years there have been heated discussions about the diminishing importance of German in the science world. But what are the disadvantages being debated?More ...
Many artists are using their dialects against the trend. Photo: Diana Lundin © iStockphoto

Dialects in popular culture

If you want to achieve anything in life you have to speak High German. That is at least the prevailing attitude these days. But it’s different on the arts and culture scene, where dialects are not just a sign of authenticity but also a source of comic relief.More ...
Reading aloud is fun for the children and for the reader. Photo: MariyaL © iStockphoto

“But he was still hungry!” – Reading Aloud Sessions for Children

Young children love books. But according to a study, 42 per cent of all parents do not read to their preschool children. Many projects are intended to familiarise children with books.More ...
The German language shall be enshrined in the Basic Law. Photo: Andrea Haase © iStockphoto

Pros and Cons: German – A State Objective?

Germany’s official language is German. But it does not say so in the Basic Law. Some politicians would like to change that. We present the views of philologist Dr Holger Klatte and Edo Reents of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.More ...
Why do languages die? And should we mourn them? Photo: Barbara Polzer

When languages die

According to UNESCO, roughly half of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken worldwide are in danger of extinction. In addition to the dialects in German enclaves around the world, a number of minority languages within Germany are also in that list.More ...
Language begins with the first cry Photo: Nina Vaclavova © iStockphoto

A Baby’s First Cry – But With an Accent Please!

Comparisons of babies a few days old show that even newborns cry in their mother tongue. The reason for this is presumably the different intonation patterns in the two languages, which are already perceived in the uterus.More ...
German has managed to survive in isolated enclaves for 150 to 200 years Photo: © Fotografia Basica

“Ätch hebb Lächer in mine nije strömp” – Language development in German enclaves

Researchers from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt have taken a closer look at the transformation of language in the German enclave.More ...
Language skills: A key to integration Copyright: iStockphoto - Jillian Pond

Language is a Barrier to Integration: Researchers are seeking Solutions

Language barriers at public authorities, in schools and businesses often hamper the integration of immigrants. Researchers are now studying the phenomenon and are seeking solutions.More ...
Copyright: Deutsches Historisches Museum

German – a Modern Language with a History

While it is still a matter of debate as to whether German should be established by Constitutional Law as a national language, two exhibitions in Bonn and Berlin are occupied with the history of the German language. And: getting to know the history of the language is a good basis for discussion. An Interview with Dr. Jürgen Reiche, the Curator of the Bonn Exhibition entitled “One Speaks German”.More ...

"Translation means Both Enrichment and Loss" – German in the Sciences

Is science nowadays still multilingual, and what role does the German language play in science? We discussed this question with Felix Grigat, the editor in charge of the university and scientific journal Forschung & Lehre (i.e. Research & Teaching).More ...

Navid Kermani: “I experience multi-lingualism as a great resource”

The writer and journalist talks with Klaus Hübner about his linguistic homeland, multi-lingualism and ‘literary patchwork identity’.More ...
Copyright: MEV

The Air of Words – of Language and Identity

Words are the archives of life. To rely on words, to rely on the word, is always a posture towards the world, a becoming of the world, a creation. In words, even in the semi-colon that brings sentences into the flow of breathing, bounds them up with the living breathe, live memories. An essay by Marica BodrožićMore ...
Copyright: adpic

Terms like “Infrastructure Planning Acceleration Law”: Citizens become suspicious

German public bodies often cultivate a language that is hard to understand. Thus, it is not only Germans who have problems understanding what is being asked of them in official letters.More ...

In the "førskole" everyone knows "Skrædder Ras"

On Sylt, Germany's northernmost island, the Danish minority cultivates its language and culture

The holidaymakers on Sylt are still asleep, but in the Danish kindergarten on the North Sea island everyone is already wide awake. In the kitchen three children are peeling potatoes for lunch – "Grønsagssuppe", vegetable soup, is on today's menu. The educator explains to them in Danish how to clean the vegetables.More ...

The Power of Coded Communication

Secret languages have a thousand-years old history. Today encoding is a firmly fixed element of our everyday life: without encrypting, modern data communication would be unthinkable.More ...
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The Language as it is Spoken: a Library of Spoken German is Kept in Mannheim

The Archive for Spoken German in Mannheim boasts over 15,000 recordings so that future generations can hear how different German sounded in different regions and parts of the earth.More ...

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DEUTSCH 3.0 – Debatten über Sprache und ihre Zukunft

Conference series by Goethe-Institut, Stifterverband, Institute for the German Language and Duden, exploring from multiple perspectives

Language and Identity: A Window on the Grandchildren’s Generation

Four film portraits show the role of the German language in the lifes of young members of German-language minorities in the Czech Republic.

Migration and Integration

Migration is changing cultures. The Goethe-Institut reflects these developments in Germany and around the world and dedicates its work to the linguistic integration of migrants.

Story of a Friendship – My Favourite Book

Out of more than 4.000 entries from 57 countries the jury has chosen three winners.

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News from Germany’s culture and society

Ausgewanderte Wörter

24 words of German origin which “emigrated” and found a home in other languages

Bridging the World

German language bridges the world. Experiences and impressions - Be part of it!