German is a major world language spoken by approximately 120 million people. It is the national language of Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein, and is one of the official languages of Switzerland. German is also the native language of many inhabitants of Alsace in France, Luxembourg and other countries in Europe and around the world. It is widely spoken throughout Eastern Europe.
German studies can open doors for students with many different interests. Knowledge of German enables students to read great authors such as Goethe, Kafka, Hesse, Grass, Wolf and Bachmann and philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche in their native language. It allows them to appreciate more deeply the music of Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven and other major composers. It can enrich the experience of seeing films by Herzog, von Trotta, Wenders, Fassbinder and other representatives of the German cinema. German is an important language for the sciences as evidenced by the work of Einstein and Planck. Knowing German makes traveling and studying in Europe a more enjoyable experience.
German language skills can be an asset for careers in business and technology. German is the leading economic power in the European Union and the Austrian and Swiss economies are the most stable. Nearly a thousand American companies based in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Volkswagen, Adidas, Bayer, et al) have subsidiaries in the United States. BASF (German), Hoechst (German), Ciba (Swiss) and Voest-Alpina (Austrian) have branches in south Louisiana. Such high tech and manufacturing companies are very interested in job applicants with knowledge of German.
A great deal of academic research is written in German. The study of German as a foreign language is therefore highly beneficial to students majoring in humanities, especially art history, music and philosophy; mathematics and the natural sciences; and the social sciences, especially history, international relations and psychology.
As Americans, we must acknowledge the contribution made by Germans to our national heritage. It has been over 300 years since the arrival of the first group of German settlers in the New World. About seven million Germans followed in the next three centuries. Today, German is one of the largest ethnic groups in America: over one quarter of all Americans claim German descent. German is also spoken in many homes and communities in the United States.
Of the languages commonly taught in high schools and universities in the United States, German is the language most closely related to English. German and English spring from a common source; both belong to the Germanic family of languages. Due to their origins, they share many words and grammatical features. In the twentieth century, German has also increasingly borrowed English terms associated with academics, science, computers, and popular culture. These similarities facilitate the learning of German as a foreign language by native speakers of English.
In addition to preparing students for professions like teaching, translating and interpreting, a minor in German can also be the foundation for careers in trade and diplomacy with the U.S. government and in international law and business. For students minoring in German and other interested students, the German Program at Louisiana State University offers a full range of courses in language, literature and culture at beginning and advanced levels.
The German Program at LSU is small enough for students to enjoy an open and informal relationship with their professors and fellow students. Time for advising and out of classroom activities sponsored by the German Club are considered essential to providing an environment in which students can make the most of foreign language study at LSU.
Information on a Minor in German:
A student minoring in German must complete a minimum of 22 hours of approved German courses, 6 of which must be at or above the 3000 level.
The student German club is an active body of students which has the support of faculty members in the German program. The club sponsors social and cultural activities designed to provide an opportunity for students of German to meet and exchange ideas. One of the most popular activities is Tischlein/Stammtisch, the weekly conversation group. Information about the conversation group will be available when the Fall 2015 semester begins. Affiliated with the club is a chapter of the National German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha. Enjoy and Herzlich Wilkommen!