German is among the most spoken languages in Europe. German is the native language of Germany and is the official language in Austria. Other countries that speak German are Luxembourg, Switzerland, and some parts of Belgium.
German as a foreign language has spread worldwide and is taught in many institutions. The number of people who speak it is over 200 million people, plus other dialects. This ranks it among the widely spoken languages of the world.
This time, we intend to look at some reasons as to why you should learn German in high school, especially if you started classes in middle school, along with some of the best online schools that can help you with your learning.
German Speakers In The US
It’s reported that over 50 million American citizens have German origins. However, only 1.06 million people speak the language. An explanation for this could be that the German natives were much more assimilated in the US. It’s mostly spoken in Northern Dakota where it is the second most spoken language. German is the third most spoken language in 16 States after English and Spanish.
German is still taught in universities in the US. But ranks third after Spanish and French. A government-sponsored survey in 2008 showed that only 14% of the schools taught German. Schools teaching German in the US is still quite low.
A myth claims that German should have been the official US language and English only narrowly become the dominant language. Interestingly, the US does not have an official language but uses English on a de-facto basis.
German Lessons in High Schools
The US government has no mandatory laws for schools to teach foreign languages unlike in Europe where the government requires all schools to teach at least one foreign language. Therefore, there are selected schools that teach German in high school. Most of these schools are under the German Language School Conference (GLSC) which is an umbrella for private German schools.
Most of the states allow the schools to set language course requirements for primary and high school graduation. For instance, California allows for either a course in the arts or in any foreign language and in New Jersey a student must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language before being able to graduate. For this reason, German language lessons are starting to be taught in many high schools again.
High school German exams are offered by specific exam bodies which include the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), American German AP (Advanced Placement) created by the College Board, and the SAT German Subject Test.
Most exams aim at instilling the basic knowledge in speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. Students also learn the basic structure of the German language.
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but about learning to dance in the rain.
Common German Exam Bodies In The US
American Association of Teachers of German
The association started in 1926 and has been administering exams for high school students for the past 59 years. More than 22000 students enroll for this exam every year with many students awarded with a visit to Germany. The exam dates are always between the start of December and the end of April.
SAT German Subject Test
This is not a high school requirement exam but one which can boost your portfolio for college admissions and is, therefore, taken while waiting for college admissions. The exam seeks to test writing and listening skills. It’s possible to take this exam even if you haven’t taken German studies at the high school level.
American German AP
This is an examination taken by high school students normally during their fourth year and is provided by the College Board. As a result, students who take this exam will receive high school credits on their German language course. The exam is aimed at not only teaching German lessons but the German culture too.
Good preparation for any paper involves going through past papers. In most cases, the past papers are a reflection of what will be set and the exam standard you should expect. Most of these German exam bodies have been there for many years. You can easily download the past papers that you need from their websites. Also, you can consult the internet or take online courses.
Reasons To Take German Classes
There are so many reasons why you should learn German in high school ranging from career advancement and broader possibilities. Here are a few more reasons if you're quite convinced:
- It’s much easier to learn German for an English speaker. Yeah, this is true. The two languages are almost equal as compared to the romantic languages such as Spanish and French. US English also borrows a lot of words from the German language such as kindergarten.
- German has over 200 million speakers all over the world. Considering the fact that Germany has a population of 80 million people, you should know that means to speak German doesn't mean you need to be in Germany.
- Today, there is a lot of trading between the US and Germany. Most people know English very well but the problem is that people in Germany only speak German. For a business to take place there is a need to learn German.
- If you are planning one day to visit Germany, you will already have the basic language skills. In fact, those who know sole German often get educational advantages if they enroll in any institution which teaches a German course.
- Learning a second language can help you earn money as an interpreter especially if you want to make a career as a tourist guide. There are also intensive language programs and summer courses, too.
- It’s a language requirement to learn German if you want to migrate there. You will gain fluency with effective German learning classes. There are also open requests for exchange students, or you can even study abroad.
German Learning Hacks
If you are watching a movie in German with English subtitles, you can change the preferences of your device to listen to the audio in English and German subs. It's a very efficient way to learn a new language. You can also change the language of your laptop, cell phone and your social networks to German to get used to the language visually.
Why not find German speakers on social networks or online platforms. Chat with them or use video calls. It may be a bit weird at first but once you get used to it. You'll have a native German friend in no time.
On the other hand, a good way to learn another language is by following Facebook or Instagram accounts or any other social network to stay up to date with German culture.
Finally, any language that you will be teaching yourself will require effort. In fact, you should note that a second language is not taught only by reading but by speaking it regularly. At first, it might be difficult but that should not discourage you. Give yourself some time and you will notice how much you will progress.
It's important to realize that although there is a wide range of options available to you including choosing German in high school, learning German ultimately is about how much work you put in. The more you do, the better your language skills will be!