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Goethe Institute sees surging interest in German

The Local · 15 Dec 2011, 07:00

Published: 15 Dec 2011 07:00 GMT+01:00

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“Everyone is learning German,” said Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the institute’s president, this week. He said many young people from struggling European countries like Spain or Greece see the language as their ticket to a brighter future.

In eastern Europe and Russia, German is also experiencing a renaissance, Lehmann said. While English will remain world’s key foreign language for the foreseeable future, German comes a close second, he said.

Interest seems particularly strong, however, in lands that are emerging powers like India, a place where the Goethe Institute is focusing on investing resources.

“Beginning next year we are setting up German language departments at 1,000 schools that are offering German until the university level,” Lehmann, speaking of the institute’s cooperation with a government-sponsored education association that could conceivably reach up to one million young Indians in the next few years.

The Goethe institute may have a tough challenge in the coming years. With the European debt crisis looming, funding cuts to many programmes bankrolled by the German government are a distinct possibility.

Also, some countries are encouraging students to focus only on English as a foreign language, to the detriment of other languages.

And although anecdotal evidence suggests interest in German has risen in economically struggling countries, in much of western Europe, fewer people are learning the language, according to European Union statistics.

Story continues below…

Between 2005 and 2010, for instance, the percentage of secondary students studying German at Dutch schools dropped from 86 percent to 44 percent. In Denmark the proportion dropped from 50 to 35 percent.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:50 December 15, 2011 by Fruitkok
The reason why the number of Dutch students learning German dropped is because students now have the choice between learning German and France, rather than having to learn both languages but each with only half of the school hours. A good policy decision if you ask me, part of a new refocus on main subjects. However, it is undeniable that language skills deteriorated dramatically the last decades, perhaps except for English.
13:49 December 15, 2011 by freechoice
ich glaube, deutsch ist keine internationale sprache!
14:29 December 15, 2011 by SchwabHallRocks
You are missing the point...

Geothe Institute in Germany (like in Schwabisch Hall) in summer = lots of foreign babes, away from home, with daddy's money
15:20 December 15, 2011 by mili17
Ja, Germany will welcome people who want to learn the language and work here, not those people who like to learn the language so that can get some free ride here .
15:46 December 15, 2011 by catjones
Goethe has to make up for the loss of UK revenue.
16:38 December 15, 2011 by mili17
good time is over, people not saving for education of their children and still want to continue the old lifestyle, now looking outside for free.
20:24 December 15, 2011 by MikeJarosz
I studied German in High School in the US. We were told it was a good language for students contemplating a science or technology career.

Interestingly, our German textbooks, produced in Germany, were in THREE languages: German, English and Turkish! Turkish seemed very odd to me at the time, but now that I know more about Germany, I understand.

That text introduced my class to our first really big compound German word. As native English speakers the word "Herrenbekleidungsgeschäft" seemed impossibly long. But, I learned to break it down and now it makes perfect sense.
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