This glossary explains frequently used terms relating to the language/integration nexus and guides you through the apparent complexities of the relevant concepts and terminology.

Deutsch als Zweitsprache (DaZ) (German as a second language (GSL))

In making the traditional distinction between German as a foreign language (GFL) and German as a second language (GSL), the place of learning is the key criterion: a non-native speaker of German who is permanently resident in a German-speaking country and learns German there is said to be learning “German as a second language“, even though German may be the third or fourth language they have learned. However, a person learning German in their home country or in a non-German-speaking country, e.g. in school or at a Goethe-Institut, is said to be learning “German as a foreign language” (GFL). Someone who makes a short visit to Germany in order to attend a German course is also said to be learning “German as a foreign language”.

The distinction makes it clear that for people who are permanently resident in Germany or a German-speaking country, German is not a “foreign” language. On the contrary, in an ideal scenario, they should come to identify with the German language in the same way as they identify with their mother tongue (or first language) and should reach a similar level of proficiency in German. The integration courses in German as a second language were introduced to help them achieve this goal. The curriculum for "German as a second language" focuses on topics of relevance to immigrants’ daily lives.



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