Nowadays many people may think that with English one can travel around the
world and communicate easily with everyone. This is true – until a certain point.
However, not everybody speaks English – in fact, even if you learned English in
school and you don’t practice it, you’ll forget it. Languages must be spoken! And
languages first must be learned.

Now, it’s also clear that you won’t be able to learn each specific language of each
specific country you’d like to visit once or even twice in your lifetime. The fact
which brings you to the decision to learn another language, may it be one of the
major languages of the world, as Chinese, Spanish, Russian, French, or German,
or may it be any other language, depends on many factors. Maybe you need it
because you want to study in that country; or you want to go to work there. Or
you need it for your job because the company you work for has a strong
relationship with that country. Or you are just interested to get knowledge of
that language.

Personally, I’m a teacher for German for many years, and the fact that I speak
several other languages myself, as French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian and, of
course, English, and having basic notions of a few others, helps me to explain
better certain facts of the German language if the mother tongue of any of my
students is one of those. Furthermore, I have wide experience in travelling and
knowing other countries and cultures, which helps me, too, to understand much
better the cultural background of my students. Currently I’m teaching students
of different ages and with different learning purposes in Spain, in Catalonia, in
the Netherlands, in the UAE, in France.

Teaching a foreign language is not only transmitting academical knowledge; it’s
something emotional, as the sounds and structures are different and possibly
reflect much more than letters and words of that language. For someone whose
mother tongue is English, German may sound quite familiar; for someone whose
mother tongue is based on a Latin language, as Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian
or Portuguese, which are musical languages, it may sound harsh. The German
language has some particularities which you won’t find in other languages;
concepts which are easier, concepts which are more difficult. But this happens
in any language! For that reason, there is no reason that German cannot be
learned! At the contrary!

So, what would be the real benefits if you decide to study German instead of
trying to come along with English? First of all, communication. Everybody loves
if he or she will be addressed in his or her mother tongue; it will make contacts
easier; it helps to integrate yourself much better into the society. And if you
learn it just for travel purposes, it’s just the same. Just being able to say “hello”
and “what’s your name” or “where are you from” in German, will help you to
get a smile. Second, communication once again: precisely with those people
who don’t speak English. And there are quite a few. Third, if you reach a good
level, you’ll be able to read books or listen to music or watch movies in its
original language. And that’s very important, because every translation is kind
of a treason: how, for instance, can you translate poetry without losing its
essence?? It’s really complicated! Fourth, reaching a good level of German will
open future career perspectives in many fields for you.

That’s the reason why I recommend learning the language, whichever attracts
your interest. Don’t hesitate… simply give it a try. Without giving it a try, you’ll
never know, and maybe one day you’ll regret it. If you try and you conclude that
this language is not made for you, you can always stop. But personally, I’ve had
many positive surprises in this sense; students who carried on, reached a very
good level, and are very happy by now, because of all the benefits mentioned
before. So, to say it again: if you feel attracted to a language, just give it a try.
It’s worthy. You may have many surprises.

If you are considering learning a new language or improving any existing language skills, please visit our main website:

Richard Kornmayer

German Teacher