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Department of Modern Languages and Cultures


1. German is the second most widely spoken language in Europe (after Russian!), and there are over one million German-speakers in the United States.

2. You can make up new words by combining existing ones! 

Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung (die, 41 letters)
"regulation requiring a prescription for an anesthetic"

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (das, 63 letters)
"beef labeling regulation and delegation of supervision law"

Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft (die, 81 letters)
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services" 

See more examples here!

3. German is not as hard as you think. 

Meine Schwester hat braunes Haar. Sie ist intelligent. 

Sie studiert Medizin in Berlin. Sie kann gut singen. 

4. Germany has the 4th strongest economy and is the #3 export nation in the world. 

5. German-speakers are innovators. 

Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. -zlem Türeci are the couple who founded BioNTech (Mainz, Germany) and teamed up with American-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer to develop one of the first Covid-19 vaccines.

German-speakers have won a disproportionate number of Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Medicine, and Literature. Consequently, knowledge of German allows access to rich literary, philosophical, religious, scientific and artistic traditions, as well as contemporary cultural and political developments.

6. Knowing German creates countless study abroad, scholarship, internship and professional opportunities. See our study abroad and alumni pages, and contact Uschi Appelt (appelt@hanover.edu) for more information!

7. Our innovative, anti-racist curriculum is interactive and focuses on inclusive, intercultural and interdisciplinary topics to prepare you for a global citizenship.

8. And, German sounds beautiful!

Why did you choose German?

Allison Compton, HC '23
German Major,
German Club Secretary

I come from a mostly German family and a very German community. However, until my older sister took German in high school, I didn't know anyone who spoke it. My idea of the language was warped by American pop culture, making me think that the language was hard, cold, and ugly. That was until I heard a musical in German. I realized that the language can actually be quite soft, romantic, and musical in nature. I instantly fell in love and knew that I wanted to learn the language. I took German classes all through high school and it is now one of my majors. It's not too different from English and was very helpful when I visited Europe with my family. In our current interconnected world, it is so important to learn and understand different cultures, and German has really done that for me.

Samantha Grunow, HC '21
German Club President

My familial background is Okinawan and German. Because I was able to experience Okinawan culture throughout my childhood, German felt like the natural option when I chose a foreign language to study in high school. Little did I know that this would become one of my favorite subjects. Even now as my busy schedule does not allow for more German courses, I enjoy being a part of German club to continue participating in German culture and conversation. As an International Studies Major, German is a helpful steppingstone with its distinct eurocentric qualities that I can relate to and better understand, and through German I have been able to build on my understandings of other nations I study in northeast Africa and southeast Asia. I look forward to possibly working in Germany next year, but I know that no matter where I go, German culture and language will always be a part of my identity.

Laman Istrabadi, HC '22
German Minor

When I was thirteen, my family and I visited Europe. We traveled to several countries, including both Austria and Germany, and I fell deeply in love with both. I had such a wonderful time immersing myself in the culture and hearing the language for a few weeks. For years after that, I swore I would live in Vienna when I grew up. My father and two of my three grandmothers are German-speakers, one of whom is originally from Germany. I'd always loved my grandmother's accent and hearing her speak her native language, and even asked her how to say grandmother in German so I could refer to her that way. I knew that I wanted to learn German myself, and though I wish I had learnt it earlier in my life, I'm really enjoying Frau Smith's German classes; they've quickly become some of my favorite classes I've ever taken on campus. Getting to learn new languages is a way of opening yourself to a whole new world of possibilities and I'm so excited to continue. 

Grace Miller, HC '22
German Minor,
German Club Vice President

I decided to study German my sophomore year because it fit with my schedule best, but it turned out to be one of my favorite subjects. I found myself looking forward to my German classes and could see how my German was getting better due to the exposure of the German language in class as well as the exposure from the conversation groups and the German club activities. I continuously find myself getting excited about doing the homework and challenging myself through the writing projects and speaking projects. While German has given me insight to other cultures and the joys of learning a new language, German has also allowed me to form strong connections with my classmates and Frau Smith. I truly enjoy studying German and being a member of German club!

Connor Trimborn, HC '21
German Studies Minor

My father is German, and we speak the language in the home, so my taking German in a more formal capacity allowed for better conversation and even led to moments of me teaching him something. I have also had the privilege of being a part of a wonderful community thanks to participating in the German program. There are friends that I still have from high school that I would not have met if not for our shared fondness of the language. German has also allowed me to apply to the Fulbright Scholarship for an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. I don't yet know whether or not I will be a recipient of said scholarship, but the fact that I was able to apply at all is thanks to my years of studying German. I think that, ultimately, learning German has been about connection. Connection to family, friends, and the world. The ties that I have been greatly improved by studying German.

Last updated on 1/17/21.