10 good reasons to learn German
Are you thinking of learning a new language, or simply brushing up your knowledge of German? Here are ten good reasons why you should.
The British economy is hugely dependent on exports. In Q1 2014 the UK exported 74.1% of goods, most of the exported goods and services exported go to the European Union’s single market, but 80% of all export managers are unable to conduct business in a foreign language (CILT 2006). Regarding the trade and good export market, Germany is Britain’s second most valuable partner. Thus, poor language competency results in a loss of an estimated ₤7.3bn per annum (CfBT Education Trust survey 2011).
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world (after the US, China and Japan) (World Bank, 2014). It is among the largest exporting economies in the world, and of the world’s 100 biggest companies, 10 are German/Swiss, and 5 are British (Fortune Global 500, 2014).
Germany is becoming increasingly popular among UK tourists. UK travellers made a total of 5.2 million overnight stays in Germany in 2014, the highest UK figure recorded to date, surpassing even that of the 2006 world cup. While many Germans speak English, you can enhance your travels substantially by speaking German.
German companies account for about 500,000 jobs in over 2,500 subsidiaries in the UK, equaling around 1.62 percent of the British workforce. They are especially strong in manufacturing in South East England and the Midlands. The leading German banking and insurance companies have their offices in the City of London.
German speakers are highly sought after by British employers. 77 percent of businesses value foreign language skills among their employees, with 49 percent of them rating German as useful for their business, placing it ahead of Spanish and Mandarin. (CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2015).
German provides great job opportunities even in times of economic uncertainty. Linguistic and cultural fluency is a core competence of executives in multinational companies. There is a growing demand in the traditional careers of interpreting and translating. With the introduction of the English Baccalaureate and the reforms envisaged in the National Curriculum, schools are already actively looking for highly qualified German teachers. A study commissioned by the TEFL Academy (2017) lists German as the most lucrative language in the UK, with jobs requiring German paying an average salary of £34,534.
German is the most commonly spoken language in Europe with 100 million speakers. It is an official language in seven European countries and provinces – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Belgium and South Tyrol. German plays an important role as a foreign language in many other countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. Worldwide, there are currently some 15.4 million people learning German as a foreign language at language institutions and schools!
German and other foreign languages serve Britain’s national interest. It helps to better understand Germany’s policies pursued domestically and abroad. Within the EU institutions British employees are notoriously underrepresented due to the lack of foreign language skills, thereby forfeiting political and diplomatic influence. The FCO has already resumed its in-house language training to enable diplomats to secure Britain’s influence in Europe and the world.
Learning German is fun. It is no harder to speak and write than other languages. Closely related to English, German is one of around 15 Germanic languages in a branch of the Indo-Germanic family of languages – so it’s easier to pick up than you might think! English speakers usually find German quite easy to pronounce, as both languages share common linguistic roots. Therefore, rapid progress can be made while learning the language.
German is the key to a rich cultural heritage at the heart of Europe – for everyone. You might be keen to explore the vibrant culture of cities like Berlin, Munich Vienna and Cologne, or to thoroughly understand the works of Goethe, Nietzsche, Beethoven, Bach, Freud or Einstein. German acts as your personal gateway to discover all of this and to shape your vision of the world.