By Nick Schäferhoff Last updated:
“A person who has not studied German can form no idea of what a perplexing language it is. […] surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp.”
– Mark Twain, “The Awful German Language”
If it is such a slippery language, why on Earth would anyone in their right mind want to learn German?
Why wouldn’t you!?
Today, we’ll look at 10 reasons why you should learn German.
- 1. German is easy to acquire
- 2. German is the language of inventors and innovators
- 3. German is an important language in academia
- 4. German is the gateway to a world-class higher education
- 5. Germany is an economic powerhouse
- 6. German companies are global market leaders
- 7. German is the most widely spoken native language in Europe
- 8. German has a big online presence
- 9. Germans are everywhere
- 10. German culture is part of the world heritage
- The Case for Learning German
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
1. German is easy to acquire
Let’s start off by debunking the myth that German is especially hard. Despite all the jokes that are being made about it being an impossible language, if you are an English speaker, you are actually already quite advantaged.
This is because German and English share the same Germanic root. Consequently, there are many thousands of words which are closely related known as “cognates.” For example, the English chin is Kinn in German. Water becomes Wasser and father turns into Vater. Not so hard after all, is it?
Furthermore, unlike Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Arabic, there is no new alphabet to learn, only a few letters to add. If you already know Latin script (and if you do not, I am incredibly amazed you have been following the article this far) the only new arrivals will be the umlauts ä, ö and ü as well as ß which is just a fancy German s.
And that’s not all. There are more shortcuts for learning German fast. It’s really not the time sink that so many people make it out to be. You just have to learn how to study smart rather than study hard.
With the right resources, you can cut through the difficult parts of the language. For example, the FluentU program uses authentic German videos with interactive captions to immerse you in the language and culture as you learn. Or you can check out Germanpod101 for insightful podcasts that are effective in teaching about the culture and language.
The key is to find the program (or programs) that work best for your learning style, and you, too, will soon realize how easy it can be to learn German.
2. German is the language of inventors and innovators
It is said that Germany is the country of poets and thinkers — Das Land der Dichter und Denker. There is definitely no denying the second part. A large percentage of the world’s most impressive achievements were first conceived of in German.
Over one hundred Nobel Prizes have gone to brilliant Germans for accomplishments in physics, medicine, chemistry, literature and other areas. That is not even counting the prizes awarded to people from the other two major German-speaking countries Austria and Switzerland. Plus, many of the recipients from other nations received their training at German universities.
So if you are looking to add a Nobel Prize to your resume, learning German might not be a bad place to start. Perhaps you have slightly lower goals, and are just looking to absorb some of this genius by reading famous publications in their native language.
3. German is an important language in academia
With that big a number of award-winning scientists from its home country, it might not come as a surprise that German is very important in the academic community. In fact, it ranks second as the most commonly used scientific language.
One of the reasons for this is that the German book market is the third largest in the world, right after the Chinese and English publishing industries. Since the percentage of these books that are being translated into other languages is fairly limited, only a knowledge of German will give you access to them.
4. German is the gateway to a world-class higher education
One of the reasons why German has such a high standing in the science community is the fact that Germany’s universities have an excellent international reputation. In the year 2011 ,the country was the fourth most popular destination for students from abroad with more than a quarter million foreigners being enrolled in German schools.
What’s more, the German system for higher education boasts a number of universities with a very low or non-existent tuition fee. No wonder scholars and researchers are flocking there! Learning German to save on student debt sounds like a pretty good return of investment.
5. Germany is an economic powerhouse
German is not only an interesting option for academics, but also those in the business world should consider brushing up on their Deutsch. Germany is the biggest economy within the European Union and the fourth largest worldwide. It is home to numerous international corporations and on the front line of new technologies.
While the schooling system in Germany is set up in a way that every German citizen knows at least some English, communicating with someone in their native tongue is a sign of good faith that is appreciated everywhere. Knowing the language of your German business partners can greatly improve your chances for effective communication and successful professional relationships.
6. German companies are global market leaders
Speaking of German companies: want to work for a business which is an international market leader in its field? Having German skills on your resume might be able to help you get in the door.
Germany is home to a large number of economic global players. Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas and Lufthansa are globally recognized brands and corporations. The country also hosts some of the biggest international trade fairs including CeBIT, the world’s largest exhibition for information technology, as well as the IFA trade fair for consumer electronics.
Meanwhile the German capital Berlin is turning into a hub for innovative startups. Some go so far as to dub it “the Silicon Valley of Europe.” As a consequence, knowing German has the potential to greatly enhance your career opportunities.
7. German is the most widely spoken native language in Europe
English, French and German are the three official working languages of the European Union. In absolute numbers, German is the second most-spoken language on the continent of Europe. However, when it comes to native speakers, German is number one.
For centuries the language served as a lingua franca (a common language which unifies different peoples)in large parts of the European continent. It continues to serve this purpose as an important second language in central and eastern Europe. In the English-speaking world, German is also the third most taught foreign language. In addition to that it comes in at tenth place as one of the major languages of the world. That’s not too shabby for a relatively small country.
It may not have the numbers behind it that Chinese does, but knowing German gives you approximately 100 million additional people to talk to. Not such a small pool after all!
8. German has a big online presence
You don’t even have to meet those 100 million people in the real world. You can do so from the convenience of your own home! German websites make up a huge part of the internet. In fact, in terms of domain endings that are clearly affiliated with a particular country, Germany’s .de is the most popular top-level domain out there. I know, I’m as surprised as you are.
Knowing German gives you access to an additional 15 million websites and that is not even counting the German sites ending in .net, .org and .info. Of course, in terms of absolute numbers .de takes second place to .com which is way ahead of everything else. Second place in the whole worldwide web? Not bad at all, Germany, not bad at all.
9. Germans are everywhere
Even if you are not planning on going to a German-speaking country or are reluctant to stalk German speakers on the internet, don’t worry: they will find you. If you have traveled abroad, you have likely witness this phenomenon firsthand. Germany’s citizens are some of the world’s most voracious travelers. With almost six weeks of annual leave and plenty of disposable income, you can run into them allover the globe.
In fact, German people are record holders when it comes to money spent on international travel. For years they invested more in globetrotting than anyone else. It is only lately that they had to cede the pole position to tourists from China. However, that did not keep them from spending an impressive 84 billion dollars on traveling in 2012!
Those of you in the tourist industry can tap into this market with German-speaking guides and staff. If you are just looking to make friends on the road, a little German can make a big difference when you bump into a native German speaker.
10. German culture is part of the world heritage
Though Germans have a reputation for being left-brained, analytical and in love with logic, the German-speaking world has also produced some of the greatest literary, musical, artistic and philosophical minds in human history. It is the language of the famous written works of Goethe, Kafka, Brecht and Mann. It was the native language of composers Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner. Revolutionary philosophy poured onto the pages in German when pens were first lifted by Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.
Learning German gives you the opportunity to appreciate the masterpieces of these artists in their original form. It lets you tap into parts of the world’s cultural heritage in a direct and unfiltered manner. Goethe’s “Faust” alone, which is written completely in rhyme form, is well worth the effort. Wouldn’t it be cool to pick up some of your favorite works in German and discover the true meaning of the original text for yourself?
The Case for Learning German
Let’s face it: Out of the available languages in the world, German is not an obvious choice. There has to be a reason why so many people decide to hop on board the German train.
When contemplating learning a new language, you might be asking yourself if the Teutonic tongue is really worth the time and effort. After all, on a global scale German is used by relatively few people.
However, there are good reasons why this language is a good investment. Not just from a linguistic point of view, but also in terms of economic opportunity, networking potential and cultural gain. German is a worthwhile choice.
So whether you are still on the fence about giving the language a try, or if you are already a student of German and looking for reassurance that you are not wasting your time, I hope this post has shown you why German is well worth learning!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
What are the best reasons to learn German? ›
The global career: Knowledge of German increases your job opportunities with German and foreign companies in your own country and abroad. Tourism and hospitality industry: Tourists from German-speaking countries travel wide and far, and are the world's biggest spenders when on holiday.Why is it important to learn German? ›
German is an excellent language to learn in preparation for professional careers in international business or law, engineering, government and international affairs, economics and finance, and education, as well as for academic careers in such fields as history, religion, philosophy, art history, political science, ...What does learning German do to your brain? ›
As you begin learning the German language, your brain starts understanding the complexity involved memorizing those words and starts developing a pattern. As your brains channel the complex words to the process of communication, you tend to develop cognitive thinking skills and carry out effective decision-making.What are the pros and cons of learning German? ›
- It Can Boost Your Career.
- More Companies Would Consider Your Candidacy.
- German Makes It Easy to Learn Other Languages.
- Alter View on Languages.
- German is Difficult.
- There Are Many Versions of German.
- You Need to Hire a Good Teacher.
- A gateway to great economic powers. ...
- Access to Top-Ranked Universities. ...
- A language of high-end business. ...
- Large speakership. ...
- Easy to learn for English speakers. ...
- Plenty of culture in the German language. ...
- Inexpensive education. ...
- Start young!
With an interesting and rich history narrated by the old-fashion and colorful architecture, castles, palaces, cathedrals and monuments themselves, its landscapes, mountains and forests, delicious food and beer, Germany remains one of the top destinations in the world for travelers.Why the Germans do everything better? ›
Why the Germans Do It Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country is a 2020 book by British journalist John Kampfner. Publication rights in the Commonwealth of Nations, excluding Canada, were acquired by Atlantic Books in March 2019.Is German a beneficial language? ›
German. Germany is the most widely spoken language throughout Europe, as Germany remains Europe's most dominant economy. For this reason, if you do business or plan to do business in Europe, German is one of the most important languages to learn.Do what makes you happy in German? ›
"Do what you want if it makes you happy." in German
Des Menschen Wille ist sein Himmelreich.
Fluency in the German language in India has opened up job possibilities in medicine and healthcare, education, logistics, automobile, power and utility, mass media, entertainment, tourism, information technology, financial services, outsourcing, etc.
What is the most effective way to learn German? ›
Best Way to Learn German. As with any language, the fastest and best way to learn German is through total immersion, preferably through living in a German-speaking country.Why is German quality so good? ›
Steel Availability: With the German Steel Federation formed in 1874, Germany was one of the first industrialized countries to have unhindered access to vast amounts of high-quality steel, which led to the development of precision machine tools and high-quality metal goods.What are 10 interesting facts about Germany? ›
- Germany Has 1,000 Varieties of Sausages!
- The Most Popular German Surname is Müller.
- Beer is a Food in Bavaria.
- Germany Loves Bread.
- Gummy Bears are a German Invention.
- The First Oktoberfest Was a Wedding.
- JFK Was Not a Jelly Donut.
- Germany Has the World's Largest Cathedral.
- The largest train station in Europe is in Berlin.
- Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris.
- There are more than 20,000 castles in Germany.
- Germany is the EU's largest economy.
- German is the third most widely taught language in the world.
- The German language has 35 dialects.
- 65% of the highways in Germany have no speed limit and are called the Autobahn.
- Germany sells around 6 million cars a year, making it one of the largest car producers in the world.
- The first book ever printed was in German, and the first magazine was launched in Germany in 1663.
Generally speaking, Germans are considered to be well-organized people who love rules and prohibitions and are punctual, hard-working, disciplined, reliable, but also comparatively humorless. In fact, many Germans strive to do everything thoroughly, well and precisely.Does learning German make you smarter? ›
Sure! You see, when you study a foreign language you improve your memory, problem-solving skills and cognitive reasoning. It even delays the onset of brain degenerating complications such as dementia, which means you will keep your memory well into old age and keep speaking German.Which country is better to live USA or Germany? ›
Ans. USA is better in terms of annual salaries and job opportunities. Also, Germany has higher taxes than the US so it is better to work in US after completing your studies.Is German worth studying? ›
Learning to speak German is a challenge, but it's the tenth most-spoken language in the world. It's, therefore, one which is very much worth learning, so that you're able to communicate with over 200 million people. One of the best ways to absorb a language is to force yourself to speak it every day.How do you motivate in German? ›
- Man muss an sich selbst glauben. Das ist das Geheimnis. ...
- Es wird nicht leichter. Du wirst stärker. ...
- Alle sagten, das geht nicht. ...
- Du schaffst das. ...
- Gib niemals auf! ...
- Du hast erst verloren, wenn du aufhörst es zu versuchen. ...
- Sei glücklich. ...
- Du hast nicht zu wenig Zeit.
How do Germans express their love? ›
Unlike other languages, the German expression “Ich liebe dich” is almost exclusively used in romantic relationships. Nevertheless, Germans like to express their love for their friends and family too. In most cases, they say “Ich hab' dich lieb,” which could be translated as “I have love for you.”Where is speaking German useful? ›
German is the Language of Business
Because it is one of the most important languages for business. In fact, it's the most spoken language in Europe – more people speak German as a native language than any other language in the European Union.
- Use Your First Language to Learn the Second.
- Avoid Language Interference.
- Learn Nouns With Their Genders.
- Stop Translating.
- Learning a New Language Is Learning to Think in a New Way.
- Get a Good German-English Dictionary.
- Learning a New Language Takes Time.
- Passive Skills Come First.
So, if you're wondering how to learn the German language if you're a complete beginner, we recommend you start with the alphabet. The German language has 26 letters, just like English.How can I improve my German skills? ›
- German speaking Media. ...
- Email pals instead of a pen pals. ...
- Native Speaker - an important resource. ...
- Learn German while playing games. ...
- Talk to yourself. ...
- Visit a German speaking country.
In the Quality of Life Index, Germany lands in a decent 15th place. It performs particularly well in the Safety & Security (9th) and the Environment & Climate (13th) Subcategories. The respondents commend Germany for being a politically stable country (87% happy vs. 64% globally), where they feel safe (90% happy vs.What is the concept of a good German? ›
"Good Germans" is a term referring to German citizens during and after World War II who claimed not to have supported the Nazi regime, but remained silent and did not resist in a meaningful way.Is it worth it to learn German? ›
Learning to speak German is a challenge, but it's the tenth most-spoken language in the world. It's, therefore, one which is very much worth learning, so that you're able to communicate with over 200 million people. One of the best ways to absorb a language is to force yourself to speak it every day.Is learning German good for Career? ›
German language skills can help your career in many of these International corporations like BMW, Bosch, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Daimler, Adidas, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Allianz, BASF, SAP, and Lufthansa which are German powerhouses but established around the world.What is better to learn Spanish or German? ›
Overall, Spanish might be easier than German at the beginning stages, but the two tend to even out in difficulty once learners get to the more advanced stages. German has more complicated grammar rules that need to be mastered early on, but once learners get familiar with them, they find that they're pretty consistent.
Is German an important language to learn? ›
German. Germany is the most widely spoken language throughout Europe, as Germany remains Europe's most dominant economy. For this reason, if you do business or plan to do business in Europe, German is one of the most important languages to learn.What is most useful language to learn? ›
- Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
- German. ...
- Arabic. ...
- Mandarin. ...
- Portuguese. ...
- Russian. ...
Fluency in German has opened up career opportunities in India in the fields such as medical and healthcare, education, logistics, automobiles, power and utilities, mass media, entertainment, tourism, information technology, financial services, outsourcing, and other fields.
Which is the most demanded job in Germany? Ans- Electronics Engineer, Computer Science, IT professionals, Software Developers, Mechanical Engineering.What are the uses of German language? ›
Many of the Western world's most important works of philosophy, literature, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German and continue to be produced in German.Which countries learn German the most? ›
The largest number of German learners is to be found in Poland. With some two million people, the country has the most students of German. France and Russia also feature among the countries where more than one million people are learning the German language.Which language is more important than German? ›
If “useful” is about the sheer number of people you'll be able to converse with, French beats German easily. There are 267 million French speakers in the world, compared to 155 million German speakers. In terms of career opportunities, French and German are both very in-demand as business languages.What level of German is considered fluent? ›
The German language has 6 CEFR levels – starting with A1 (absolute beginner), and ending with C2 (completely fluent).What makes Germans hard to learn? ›
But what makes German so hard to learn? The only reason that German seems so difficult to people is that it has grammar rules that other languages don't. German is a language with relatively high “inflection,” meaning that the words in a sentence change based on their grammatical roles.Is German a powerful language? ›
Europe also has more than 60 regional and minority languages. This undeniably powerful language, German, is challenging to learn but offers many benefits that other languages don't.
What is the most important language in the world? ›
In today's increasingly globalized world, having a shared means of communication—or an international language, rather—is more important than ever. With over 1.1 billion speakers worldwide, English is currently the closest we've come to a lingua franca, a common language that connects people from different backgrounds.