German Minor

"A different language is a different vision of life." - Federico Fellini, Italian film director

"No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive." - Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian nationalist and spiritual leader

The United States is the only industrialized country that routinely graduates students from high school who lack knowledge of a foreign language. Whereas 52.7 percent of Europeans are fluent in both their native tongue and at least one other language, only 9.3 percent of Americans are fluent in both their native tongue and another language. This statistic does not bode well for the future of America in a global society. The upward trend in language learning must accelerate if the U.S. is to continue to be a major participant on the international stage.

German Minor Requirements [15 hours]

  1. GER1013 -- German I
  2. GER1023 -- German II
  3. GER2033 -- German III
  4. GER2043 -- German IV
  5. GER3XXX/4XXX – Directed German Elective

Why learn German?

To increase global understanding.

Learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside the mind and context of that other culture. Intercultural understanding begins with individuals who have language abilities and provide the community with an insider's view into foreign cultures and those who can understand foreign news sources and give insights into other perspectives on international situations and current events. For survival in the global community, every nation needs such individuals.

Germany has the third strongest economy and is the No. 1 export nation in the world.

Germany has the third largest economy in the world and is the economic powerhouse of the European Union. In 2007 - for the fifth year in a row and despite the strength of the euro currency - the Germans were world champions in exports. The country exported 940 billion US dollars worth of goods, just ahead of the US exports.

Knowing German creates business opportunities.

Germany's economic strength equals business opportunities. Multinational business opportunities exist throughout the European Union and in the Eastern European countries, where German is the second most spoken language after Russian. Companies like BMW, Daimler, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP, Bosch, Infineon, BASF, and many others need international partners. The Japanese, who have the second most powerful economy in the world, understand the business advantages that a knowledge of German will bring them: 68 percent of Japanese students study German. 

Germans are innovators.

From Einstein's theory of relativity, to Brandenburg's creation of the MP3 digital music format, throughout history Germans have proven themselves time and again to be great innovators. That trend continues today. Four of the world's 10 most innovative companies are located in Germany and at 12.7 percent of the world's patent applications, the country ranks 3rd in the world. Germany exports more high-tech products than any other country except the U.S. and more than 600 firms are active in the cutting-edge field of biotechnology. 115 of these are located in Munich alone. The east German city of Dresden has become Europe's microchip center with its more than 765 semiconductor firms.

Germans are the biggest spenders of tourist dollars in the world.

Over half a million Germans visit Florida each year.  In 2007, Germans spent a record 91 billion euros on international travel. Year after year, the residents of Germany spend more on foreign travel than those of any other nation. German tourists visited the U.S. in 2003, making Germans the third largest nationality of tourists to the United States (after the British and Japanese). The most popular U.S. destinations are California, Florida, and New York. 

The German presence on the Internet supersedes most others.

With 8 million Internet domains, Germany's top-level country domain .de is second only to the extension .com. That makes German domain names even more popular than those with .net, .org, .info, and .biz extensions. Even the second-place country extension .uk trails far behind at 3.7 million domain names.

Germans form the largest single heritage group in the U.S.

If you're American or are interested in American culture, learning German can expand your appreciation and knowledge of U.S. history and culture. In the year 2000 census, 42.8 million or 15.2 percent of Americans reported having German ancestry, making German Americans the largest single heritage group in the U.S.

In waves of immigration that span nearly four centuries, Germans brought with them many customs and traditions that have become so ingrained in American ways that their origin is often forgotten. Family names and names of thousands of towns and cities indicate the German heritage of their ancestors or founders. Such cultural mainstays as kindergarten, the Christmas tree, and hot dogs and hamburgers were introduced by German immigrants to America. They founded multiple breweries, created Levi's jeans, invented ketchup, and created Hershey's chocolate.

One of every 10 books in the world is published in German.

German speakers produce nearly 80,000 new book titles each year. The only language markets that produce more books annually are the Chinese and English publishing industries. In number of books published, Munich is second in the world only to New York. Since only a small percentage of German books are translated into other languages (for instance, approximately 10 percent into Korean and Chinese, just over 5 percent into English), only knowledge of German will give you access to a vast majority of these titles.

German-speaking countries have a rich cultural heritage.

Apart from their many contributions to American culture, the German speakers have a rich cultural heritage in their own right. Germany is often referred to as the land of "Dichter und Denker" -- of poets and thinkers. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse are just a few authors whose names and works are well known internationally. Ten Nobel prizes for literature have been awarded to German, Austrian, and Swiss German authors. The world of classical music is inseparable from the names of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, and Wagner to name only a few renowned German-speaking composers. Vienna remains an international centre of music today. From the magnificent architecture of medieval buildings to the avant garde Bauhaus movement, from Duhrer's woodcuts to the expressionist masterpieces of Nolde, Kirchner, and Kokoschka, Germans have made substantial contributions to world art and architecture. Philosophy and the sciences would also be unthinkable without the contributions of German speakers. The philosophies of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and numerous others have had lasting influences on modern society. The psychologists Freud and Jung forever changed the way we think about human behavior. Scientists from the three major German-speaking countries have won dozens of Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine.

German is not as hard as you think.

If English is your native language, or if you already know English, then you already have an advantage when it comes to learning German. Because modern German and modern English both evolved from the common ancestor language Germanic, the two languages share many similarities in both vocabulary and grammar. If you understand any of this...

Meine Schwester hat braunes Haar. Sie ist intelligent. Sie studiert Medizin in Berlin. Sie kann gut singen.

... then you already know some German!

German is required or recommended by many undergraduate and graduate programs.

German speakers' strong contributions in such a broad array of fields make the language an important asset in many disciplines. At the University of California, for instance, more majors recommend knowledge of German as an important supplement than any other language (German: 56 majors, French: 43 majors, Spanish: 21 majors, Japanese: seven majors). These majors include a wide range of subjects - from biology, physics, and chemistry to linguistics, religious studies, and art history.

Germany financially sponsors over 60,000 international exchanges each year.

While promoting innovation and supporting research within Germany, the Germans also recognize that international cooperation and experience is essential to its continued success as a world leader. In the year 2001 alone, the German Academic Exchange Service supported 67,000 scholars, scientists, educators, and students in periods of international research and study. Forty-three percent of these were foreigners who were awarded financial assistance to participate in an exchange in Germany. In addition, like German students, foreign students directly enrolled in German universities pay no tuition fees.