5 German-language media resources in non-German countries | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 21.02.2017
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5 German-language media resources in non-German countries

Chile, Namibia or the USA: For International Mother Language Day on February 21, we've compiled a list of five German-language media resources that can be found in places where German is not the native language.

Language is a cultural asset. It creates identity, helps us orientate ourselves in the world and with it, we are able to express ourselves.

Over 6,000 languages are spoken the world over - half of which are in danger of dying out because they are spoken by so few people.

To combat this, the International Mother Language Day was initiated by UNESCO in 2000. Every year, on February 21, these threatened languages are celebrated. With the designation, they hope to create a sense of belonging for these small communities.

Of course, with over 100 million speakers, German isn't a threatened language. Many of its speakers, however, belong to a German-speaking minority in a country with another native language. These communities have developed out of former colonies, such as the German Namibians and German Chileans, or those inhabitants of places where, after war, the borders have shifted.

But how do you maintain a culture and identity in countries like the USA, Namibia or Chile, which are thousands of miles from your homeland? One of the most successful mediums for doing so is creating your own newspaper, radio or television broadcast.

With that in mind, we sought out five interesting media that help to bring the German language to those in non-German-speaking countries. Our discoveries include:

1. German music in San Francisco: Radio Goethe 

Screenshot of Website radiogoethe.org (radiogoethe.org)

Radio Goethe plays music from Germany, Austria and Switzerland

How well is music in German received abroad? And how exactly is it received? Some answers can be provided by journalist Arndt Peltner, who's been living in the US for 20 years, and who's the host and producer of the radio program Radio Goethe.

Initially, the program was broadcast via a university broadcaster in San Francisco. It's since spread to more than 40 radio broadcasters in the US as well as in Namibia and Eastern Europe.

The music journalist is supported by the German consulate in San Francisco and the Goethe-Institut. Filmmaker Wim Wenders was once one of his guests.


2. Traditional paper: The Chilean newspaper Condor

Condor is the third oldest newspaper in Chile. Founded in 1938, the German-language newspaper compiles 25 papers of German migrant communities into one that is now available online.

These migrants had originally landed in Chile in 1850; today more than 500,000 million Chileans are the offspring of these German immigrants. Just 40,000 of them speak German as a native language. Condor considers one of their main tasks as the continuation of the language and as such, likewise prints up to 7,000 copies of each weekly edition about things that have happened across the country.


3. Pop music and German news: Hitradio Namibia

Broadcast since August 2012, Hitradio Namibia is the first commercial radio broadcaster in Namibia. The station was founded by a German-Namibian journalist and a Namibian. The program is filled with news from Namibia, Africa and around the world, accompanied by a wide variety of music, including hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s mixed with contemporary pop.

Also available via Livestream around the world, the radio broadcaster's website says they were founded to bring the language to young Namibians.


4. Mer schwetze noch die Mudderschprooch:Hiwwe wie Driwwe

Screenshot of Website hiwwewiedriwwe.wordpress.com (hiwwewiedriwwe.wordpress.com)

"Hiwwe wie Driwwe" is published in Pennsylvania German

Did you get that? Then you must belong to one of the 400,000 speakers of Pennsylvania German (also called Pennsylvania Dutch). The language was spoken by German immigrants to North America who originally arrived in the 17th century. The language they use is a Pfalzian dialect that has been conserved and developed through its use.

Today, it is spoken by members of the community who have spread across parts of Canada and the US, including in Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

These speakers also publish the newspaper "Hiwwe wie Driwwe," which translates roughly to "over there and beyond." It is released twice a year and copies make their way to Germany as well.

Online, you can find an English version, travel tips for Pennsylvania written in High German and an online class in Pennsylvania Dutch.

5. Island radio for immigrants and holiday-makers: Inselradio Mallorca 95.8

With around 30,000 Germans on the island of Mallorca year round, their island radio has to belong to the repertoire of media abroad. One of the most popular German tourist destinations, Mallorca has a German-language radio broadcaster that provides news from around the world, gives tips on Spanish language learning and offers helpful information about building houses or taking trips around the island; they refrain from the loud techno "Ballermann Music" heard elsewhere on the island.

There are similar offerings wherever a large community of Germans live, not only on the Balearic islands but also on the French Riviera.


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