Denmark: hardly anyone wants to study German
The allocation of university places in Denmark for the new semester testifies to a dwindling interest in the language of the country's southern neighbour: only 46 young people want to study German as their main subject this autumn. Danish commentators find this disinterest hard to understand.
A truly European language
More people in Europe are native German speakers than native English speakers, Jydske Vestkysten points out:
“It would be hugely advantageous if more people truly had a thorough command of the language that is not only the mother tongue of the Germans but also the official language of communication in Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, parts of Switzerland and northern Italy. Then there's the German native speakers in Belgium, France, Poland and of course Northern Schleswig. In total between 90 and 100 million people speak German as their first language. By comparison the UK has only a little more than 65 million inhabitants, and it is (perhaps) on its way out of the EU.”
Closer ties to our main trade partner
Der Nordschleswiger, the daily newspaper for Denmark's German-speaking minority, calls for government initiatives:
“One reason why German is being increasingly sidelined is undoubtedly that our neighbour's language is often described as difficult and boring. Moreover, the conditions for learning languages in secondary schools have worsened, which translates into the loss of many potential students of German. The Germany strategies of the two previous governments didn't come to much. However, it is vital to make a third go at it if Denmark wants to create closer ties to its biggest trade partner.”