Why Study German?
German is the native language of more than 100 Million people. Among the German-speaking countries in Europe are Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Luxemburg. Germany itself possesses the world's third most technologically powerful economy in the world, after the U.S. and Japan. In a world economy that is becoming more globalized every day, economic ties between the U.S. and Germany gain visibility through names such as Daimler-Chrysler, Bertelsmann, BMW, Deutsche Bank, and SAP.
Knowledge of German language and culture can open doors to careers in international business, diplomacy, and teaching, as well as other fields. The majority of graduate programs in the humanities at American universities require at least a reading knowledge of German. Many of the most interesting primary texts of Philosophy and Sociology, for example, were written in German. Here, the names of Immanuel Kant, G. W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, or Hans-Georg Gadamer come to mind. Or, in Sociology, the works of Max Weber and the Frankfurt School.
Moreover, the German language is an indispensable research tool in a number of areas. Both in Classics and Art History, the most widely used reference works and many relevant contributions to scholarship were written by scholars from German-speaking countries.
Finally, ever since the first Germans settled in the United States in 1683, the traditions and cultures of the German-speaking countries form a significant part of American life and culture. In many parts of the U.S., especially in Midwestern states such as Ohio, German is still spoken. At least one in five Americans have German-speaking ancestors.