German in a Multicultural World
By SAM DILLON
April 13, 2012
ON the day in November 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down, Michael Legutke, a linguist working for the West German government, was in Casper, Wyo., leading a training workshop for the state’s German teachers.
The drama of Berlin’s reunification and Communism’s collapse focused worldwide interest on all things German, and German classes in American public schools saw significant enrollment increases. But by the mid-1990s, the surge ended. The United States was turning its attention to Asia and the Mideast; Arabic and especially Chinese began displacing German and several other European languages once at the core of the American curriculum.
Ever since, the precarious future of the German language in North America has been a concern for the Berlin government, which has turned to Dr. Legutke and Daniel S. Hamilton, a Johns Hopkins professor, to strategize on how to bolster German instruction here.
“In the U.S., German is on the defensive,” they conclude in a new study that could serve as a blueprint for other languages threatened by tectonic shifts in American demographics. “It is under increasing attack from many directions and for many different reasons.”
Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/education/edlife/german-in-a-multicultural-world.html?emc=eta1