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Why we should learn German

After years of « anti-German propaganda », I risk saying and secretly hope that « German is back ». A few weeks ago, a German friend said to me : « Weisst Du, Catherine, English ist ein Muss aber Deutsch ist ein Plus ! ». I found this approach very alluring and was reminded of the time when I learned German. I was 10 years old, and it was my first encounter with a foreign language. Like John le Carré, the renowned linguist, I am still trying to explain to myself why it was love at first sound. The language fitted me, it fitted my tongue and it pleased my ear. After discovering the beauty of the language, it was time, years later, to dive into German literature, music, and movies. Nowadays, in the middle of my life, this German passion has never left me and it has for sure helped structure my personality and professional life. Against persistent stereotypes about German, you can have a lot of fun with this language. You can tease it, play with it, make up crazy adjectives. You can invent huge words of your own – but real words all the same. To quote John le Carré : « By teaching German, by spreading understanding of German culture and life, today’s honorands and their colleagues will be helping to balance the European argument, to make it decent, to keep it civilised » Read more..

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