A 1992). It has also been noted

A global or international language is defined as onelanguage used as a way of communicating with citizens from all over the world (Sharifian,2009). German’s position as an international language is a well-researchedissue, as it had changed significantly over the past century, particularlysince World War Two, which is said to have unleashed a “trauma” on the language(Trabant, 2007). The issue at stake here is how and why the language’s positioncurrently differs so much from its previous position(s) that it has held overthe last one hundred years. This essay will focus on answering these questions,and focus on what has brought about these highly substantial changes.  Firstly, a way in which the position of German has changed internationallyover the past century is in the scientific field.

It appears that it holds nogreat significance at all in either chemistry or biology. In a table about languagesthat appear in journals which form part of various fields of study, found in’Status Change of Languages’ by Ulrich Ammon and Marlis Hellinger, Germanrepresents 5.8% for chemistry and 2.8% for biology, compared to 43.2% and 56.4%for biology and chemistry in English.

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However, figures are slightly higher forhumanities subjects such as theology, with 12.3% for German. (Ammon and Hellinger,1992). This is still very low in comparison to English, with 44.9% (Ammon andHellinger, 1992). It has also been noted that many items of scientific literaturepublished in German are not accepted and that English is now dominating theworld of publication (Stefan Michels, cited in Ammon and Heilinger, 1992). Theamount of scientific publications in German rests at about 1% (Ammon, 2009).  Despite the fact that the position of German as aninternational language is highly negative in the scientific field, it has beenmuch more positive in the field of education since 1983, when approximatelyonly 88 countries taught German as a foreign language, compared to 114 in 2005(Ammon, 2009).

In saying this however, it is also well-known that German hasdecreased dramatically in education since then, as since 1998, half ofuniversities that were proposing degree courses in German have now completelystopped doing so, as the demand for learning German has reduced significantly(Scholz, 2015). In addition to this, German has been reducing as aninternational language since 1920, along with its influence (Goethe Institut,2013). Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, German is not actuallyacknowledged as one of the certified languages of the United Nations (UN), anddoes not play much of a contributing role in conferences (Ammon, 1991, cited inClyne, 1999). Over the last century, there was a reasonable amount of migrationof people who spoke German to other parts of the world, e.g. to North America(Stevenson et al, 2018).

The use of German was very common during this time,but since the twentieth century it has lost influence as a language (Stevensonet al, 2018). Additionally, German has not been recognised officially by anyauthorities. In contrast to this, several German-language signs and postershave been seen in America since then (Stevenson et al, 2018).  Let us now proceed to analysing the reasons for thedeclining position of German as an international language over the pastcentury. One reason can be traced back to the rise of English as aninternational language of publication, trade, and English becoming the newlingua franca in the world (Khordorkovsky, 2013). This is due to the norm of learningit from an early age in other countries (where the official language is notEnglish).

The number of English speakers who have learned English as a foreignlanguage now considerably outweighs the number of native English speakers (Smokotin,Alekseyenko and Petrova, 2014). In terms of German, this means that fewerpeople learn it as a foreign language due to the rise of English, leading tonatural declines in use of German in business and trade, resulting overall in amuch lower position as an international language.  A second reason is the decrease in the popularity of thelanguage over the past century. Many learners of German give up as they feel itto be a very difficult language to grasp, and this is also one of the reasonswhy many never take up German in the first place. (Dillon, 2012). In the UnitedStates, many pupils have negative perceptions of Germany and the Germanlanguage, e.g. that German is a highly aggressive language; such negativeperceptions stem from Germany’s dark history of the wars, Holocaust and ThirdReich (Dillon, 2012).

Before the war, there were undoubtedly none of thoseconnotations to be made, whereas nowadays, and certainly within the years thatfollowed immediately after the war, the country and language would havedeveloped a stigma amongst other nations, particularly nations affecteddirectly by Germany’s involvement in the war. German has some words thatinitially appear innocent but actually have morbid meanings with references tothe events of Nazi Germany, with two examples being ‘Endlöser’ (final solution)and ‘Sonderbehandlung’ (special treatment). These words were actually twocodewords used to refer to execution and Jewish mass murder (Constanze, 2016).

From these observations, it can be obtained that negative perceptions of Germanand the complexity of the language have contributed significantly to reducingits position.  Inconclusion, it can overall be obtained that the position of German as aninternational language has reduced over the past one hundred years,particularly in the scientific field, where its international status hasdramatically reduced and been taken over by English, which as we have seen, isbecoming the new lingua franca of the world. The key factors include the risein popularity of English, and the developing distaste for the German languagedue to its rich and complex grammar. It appears that German’s internationalstatus will continue to be overtaken by that of English, but it is highlyunlikely that German itself will die out as a language due to the high numbersof people learning it (Edwards, 2015).

 

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