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Readers Agree, German Language Losing Popularity

According to a recent study, fewer British students are choosing to learn German. Readers say the same is true elsewhere too -- though some of them are exceptions.

A woman reads a German dictionary

One reader said the Internet makes it easier to learn German

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

When I was in school here in America they offered both Spanish and German, now they only offer Spanish. I wanted my daughter to take German but she was forced to take Spanish as a class in school. Just a side note, I am studying German online. -- Wade Oestreich, US

I was not surprised reading about German no longer being a popular language to learn. I myself have been trying to learn the language for years, yet whenever I try to use it in Germany I always get a reply in English. This knocks my confidence and makes me inclined not to progress it further. Only yesterday I telephoned a hotel in Berlin and got a reply in English. Why don't Germans want to help us learn their language? Yet in Spain, I can use Spanish with ease, the people encourage, not discourage me and seem happy that we try to learn their language, which really boosts my confidence. The same is true in Russia, but in Germany, I get no encouragement or thanks for trying to speak the language, although having said that, the DW Web site language courses are superb. -- Stephen, Britain

I live in California and have studied French, German and Spanish. Spanish is the easiest to maintain as we have many Spanish speakers living here. Recently, with the Internet, it has become easier to maintain one's German or French. It is a lot easier to get foreign movies, magazines, newspapers than it was 10 years ago. The schools where I live are dropping the teaching of foreign languages such as French, German, and Italian. There is growth in the teaching of Asian languages here such as Mandarin, Cantonese and Tagalog. -- Tony, US

It seems as if some of the attitudes in English-speaking countries are as if World War II just ended yesterday, and so I think there has been some anti-German sentiment. By turning to Spanish instead of German, English speakers are actually turning away from themselves and away from their roots, since English is in the Germanic family of languages. They would probably benefit more by learning German, since it would help them to re-discover their own language, but in many cases even English is being spoken less and is already a minority spoken home language in some large cities in Canada and the US. For me, Russian is more interesting than Spanish, but I studied German in university. -- Phil, Canada

I'm Egyptian, 19 years old, and in my third year at university. I'm studying mass communication. When I was at school, I studied English as the first foreign language and in the secondary stage I took French. Now I'm learning Spanish because I love it. I think learning language is very mind-blowing, so I learned three languages beside my mother tongue Arabic. -- Salma Zakaria, Egypt

At secondary school in junior high school I had a year of compulsory foreign languages where I leaned some French, Bahasa Indonesian, and Latin. I did not purse foreign languages after that, although French and Bahasa Indonesian were offered as an elective in my late junior high school years. Presently I am teaching myself some German for family reasons via DVD and computer. I believe the five most popular foreign languages taught in Australia are French, Italian, German, Bahasa Indonesian, and Japanese. -- Stuart John Pearson, Australia

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