Scholarly German dying out

Scholarly German dying out
Photo: DPA
The German language is “on its deathbed” in the field of science, the Council of German Culture (Deutscher Kulturrat) said this week. Their figures indicate that just one percent of the world’s published scientific works currently appear in German.

“Retaining use of the German language in science is not about promoting excessive Germaness, and it is definitely not about nationalism. On the contrary, it’s about ensuring cultural diversity and maintaining cultural independence,” council Managing Director Olaf Zimmerman said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that there should be no doubt that German is the lingua franca within the country.

The council appealed to politicians and scholars to act against the trend, saying that consequences were evident everywhere from German university classrooms where professors instruct in English, to research centres and conferences where colleagues communicate in English only. This gives foreign scholars who are guests at German institutions the impression that they don’t need to learn German, the council said.

“The abandonment of German as a scholarly language in Germany is an abandonment of our traditions and the critical reflection of this tradition,” Zimmerman said, adding that the country’s international scholarly position would suffer in the long-term.

Zimmermann also called for the strengthening of the language in fields such as the humanities where it already enjoys a significant role.

“Cultural diversity begins with the preservation of a language,” he said.