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Wednesday, October 2, 2013
“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” Thus spoke the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The story “German program may be phased out” (The Edge, Sept. 25) gave me cause for concern.
Why would German, one of the world’s most useful languages, be in peril in Roanoke County Schools? In her article “Yes Virginia — Why German Companies Love Virginia,” Nicola Michels of the German-American Chamber of Commerce in New York reports that 130 German subsidiaries are located in Virginia, creating more than 15,000 jobs. She further states that Germany is one of the top investors in our commonwealth.
The website vistawide.com also confirms that German companies account for 700,000 jobs in the United States, and multinational business opportunities abound in Europe, where German is the second most spoken language after Russian. Furthermore, the Japanese, who have the second most powerful economy in the world, understand the business advantage of the language: 68 percent of Japanese students study German.
With such powerful potential, along with the opportunity to learn about a rich culture that has greatly influenced our own, I cannot imagine that a school division would even consider phasing out such a beautiful and important language.
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