Why German Should be on Every Linguist’s Bucket List

German Every Linguist’s Bucket

At first sight, German seems to be one of the least important of the world’s languages to bother learning. It’s only used in Germany, right? Not quite! Actually, German is spoken in Austria, Switzerland and as a minority language in several other European countries too. In addition, there are significant German immigrant communities scattered across the world including the U.S., Argentina, Canada and Australia. But if you are comparing German with, say, French, Spanish or Portuguese, then certainly these are much more universal. So is Mandarin, Arabic and Indonesian / Malay!

So, why learn German? Why not leave the language to German speakers and German translators can translate anything useful in German into any other language? Here are five good reasons for learning German that you may not have thought about.

Reason no.1 German is easier than you think (if you are an English speaker)

Of course, if you are a Japanese speaker, then learning German is just as difficult as learning English, but English and German have common origins and in fact many words do have strong similarities. In linguistic terms they are called “cognates”. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be a professional German English translator to see the similarity between:

  • Water / wasser
  • Mother / mutter
  • Chin / kin

Of course, as an English speaker you may find the fact that German has three separate classes of nouns (masculine, feminine and neuter) rather unfamiliar! But, hey, at least it’s (almost) exactly the same alphabet. Look at Thai, Hindi, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Arabic and you’ll see what I mean!

Reason no. 2 German is the language of some of the world’s greatest innovators

O.K. Just by learning German won’t make you a great thinker. But you can at least appreciate some of the world’s greatest achievements as they were carried out by German speaking people, not just from Germany, but from Austria and Switzerland, too. Over a hundred Nobel Prize winners are German speakers in fields as diverse as literature, medicine and physics.

Reason no. 3 Germany is a leader in first class educational opportunities

If you are interested in furthering your education, learning German may be an advantage because the country has an outstanding reputation as a location for excellent universities. Many colleges in Germany are also either free or cheap, which is another good reason for learning German. You can get a good education and not rack up a huge student debt!