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Why learn German?

Why Learn German?
Many learn German just for the fun of it and
to widen their experience of the world.

There is no doubt that nowadays knowledge of a foreign language is taking on a greater significance. Knowing German will benefit you in many areas in both your private and your business life.

The advantage of learning a foreign language has already been the subject of several research papers. Below you will find the five aspects most often discussed with our course participants.

this page in German
In an overview: 
German to improve your career opportunities German to improve your career opportunities

German is the mother-tongue in more European countries than English, French, Spanish or Italian. After English, German is the second most important language worldwide for business, tourism and diplomacy. In central and Eastern Europe, German is the most important foreign language.

With German as a foreign language, you can improve your career chances. In particular, German is, after English, the most important language for youth qualifications in the fields of biology, chemistry, pharmacy, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, vehicle manufacture, finance, diplomacy, sports, tourism and the whole area of training.

Worldwide there are about 130 million people who speak German as their mother tongue and about 15-18 millions who are learning German.

According to a study in 1994 by the German-American Chamber of Commerce, around 65 % of the firms asked said that they treated English-German bilingualism as an important factor in selecting new employees.

This applies equally to many technical developments, their names and their explanations.

 
German for business purposes
Sales advantage to international companies Sales advantage to international companies

German is the most important business language in the European Union and a bridge to the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe.

Here are some key figures that clarify the global position of the German-speaking market:

  • The German economy has experienced in 2011 an unbroken boom in foreign trade to a total volume of 1.962 trillion Euros (= 2.747 trililon US$).
    • Exports rose for the first time on the threshold of € 1 trillion ( = 1.060 billion €, = 1.484 billion U.S. $). The growth rate archieved 11% in comparision to the year before.
    • Imports increased by 13% and reached 902 billion euros (=1.263 billion U.S. $).
  • Germany's external trade volume of about 2,145 billion US$ (2006) is the second largest in the world after the USA and, per capita, Germany is the largest.
  • Germany's imports with almost 82 million inhabitants are 966 billion US$ (2006) and almost half as much as the US with 270 million inhabitants.
  • When looking at the exports, the importance of Germany on international trade markets is even more clear. The export volume of Germany with 894 billion US$ (2006) reached 117 % of the US volume, even though the population is under one third the size. Still it reached 125% of the volume of the fast growing economy of China.
  • Germany occupied the first place for global exports in the following sectors (1998 figures):
    • automotives: 19 % before Japan with 15 % and the USA with 12 %
    • chemicals: 13.8 % equal with the USA before France with 7.7 %
    • iron and steel: 11% before Japan with 10.5 % and Belgium/Luxembourg
      with 7 %
    • textiles: 8,8 % before Italy with 8.6 and China with 8. 5%
  • Note: In this statistics the volumes of the two other German-speaking countries Austria and Switzerland are not included.
    Source: www.destatis.de and www.amcham.de
    last update, based on official data in March 2007. Exchange rate for 2006 in an average: 1 Euro = 1,320 US$.

Moreover, high investments in foreign countries and the number of joint ventures between German and foreign companies show the importance of German in the business world.

German speakers are the biggest group of potential business partners in the European Union, forming around one third of the population.

Also, the German language often plays a more important role than English in the developing markets in Central and Eastern Europe: German is an important language in many parts of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, the Ukraine, the Baltic states and the Czech Republic.

It should also be mentioned that the knowledge of foreign languages is valued highly in Germany. Being able to speak the language of the target group can have a big influence on successful marketing. Although roughly 50 % of all Germans can make themselves understood in at least one foreign language, when it comes to selling goods and services, most of them are lost. But: every customer expects the product to be presented in his own language.

The advantage of bilingual employees to an export-oriented firm is obvious. Any company seeing a target market in Europe will be working to improve the bilingual ability of its employees ... and German is the language behind the biggest group of buyers!

A Danish saying goes:

"The Germans sell in English, but they also buy in German."

And you shouldn't forget the significant number of German-speaking Nobel price winners that give German an important place in the scientific community: 30 Nobel prices for chemistry, 25 for medicine, 21 for physics, 10 for literature and 8 peace prices.

Learn German and you'll tap one of the most important markets in the world, because nothing convinces a customer more than when you speak his own language!

 
German is a living language German is a living language - Learn German for "fun and enjoyment" and for cultural, business and political reasons!

There is a wide field of personal interests and hobbies that can benefit from a knowledge of German:

  • History: Long before the world took interest in the events in Germany under the Nazi dictatorship, German was the key to understanding the historical links in Central Europe, that have so often been the trigger point for changes on the world map. Discover the fascinating 2000 years of German history, from the "Germani" through the German empire to the recent history of the Federal Republic.
  • Science: Many scientific theories were first put forward in German. This still applies in the days of the Internet: German is the second most important language in the "Net" and many people would be able to benefit from the advantage of being able to read the original texts in German.
  • Literature: German literature is both rich and well known. The Encyclopaedia Americana, for example, sets aside 14 pages for German Literature, 13 for French, 8 for Spanish, and 6 for Japanese. Many famous authors, such as Hesse, Kafka, Luther, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud und the Nobel price winners Günther Grass (1999) and Thomas Mann (1929), are Germans or have written in German. And there is no doubt that a book is never as interesting as when it is read in the original language.
  • Pop music: Music from the likes of Falco, Kraftwerk, Nina Hagen, Nena or Herbert Grönemeier - to mention just a few - has time and again hit the top of the international pop charts. But you should also seek out our singer-songwriters with carefully crafted lyrics such as André Heller, Wolfgang Ambros, Haindling, Marius Müller-Westernhagen, Zupfgeigenhansl and Ulla Meinecke.
  • Classical Music: German-speaking composers, such as Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart, Strauß and Wagner have played a pivotal role in classical music. Open yourself anew to the well-known operas and operettas by learning to understand the original texts.
  • Language and Culture: The English language becomes ever more dominant, not only through the complex worldwide influence of the American superpower or the history of the British Commonwealth, but also through the spread of the Internet. However, it is ironically becoming ever more important for English speakers to learn another language in order to develop an understanding of diversity and subtle culture differences that are carried within the native language. The translation of everything into English may provide a universal contact point, but at the same time it results in a loss of meaning and subtlety. Thus, the translation often only skims over the original message and intention. German is particularly important in literature, philosophy, painting, architecture and music. You would be surprised at how many of the most historically important works were originally written in German.
 
German is a living language - Learn German for "fun and enjoyment" and for cultural, business and political reasons!
Try your hand at German when you travel round Europe! Try your hand at German when you travel round Europe!

Learn German in order to make you trip through Central Europe an intensive and personal experience.

German is the most widely spread and spoken language in Europe and a knowledge of German will therefore make your travel in Europe a lot easier. In the tourist centers in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, or Greece you can often make yourself better understood in German than in English. One reason for this is that many southern Europeans came to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the 1960s and 70s to work as "guest-workers". Another reason is that Germans have a long tradition of travelling to the Mediterranean, so the local tourist industry has adapted itself to its German-speaking guests.

So, when you find that English is not understood at your holiday destination, try a bit of German: In Eastern Europe almost half of the children learn German in primary school. In Japan 68 % of all students learn German.

 
Try your hand at German when you travel round Europe!
Learn German to learn the history of your ancestors Learn German to learn the history of your ancestors

Over the last 400 years many people have emigrated from central Europe to North and South America and Australia. Many of their descendants are now taking an interest in the surroundings and culture in which their grandparents or great-grandparents lived. Anyone who is seeking their roots and really wants to get to know their "old home", can hardly hope to do this without learning German.

Start your carreer with TREFFPUNKTLearn German to learn the history of your ancestors

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Contents: Alexandra von Rohr, E-mail: info@businessgerman.com, Language Institute TREFFPUNKT, Bamberg / Germany
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