Herzlich Willkommen! Welcome!
“Wer keine fremde Sprache spricht, kennt seine eigene nicht.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Those who do not speak a foreign language, do not know their own.”
As the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said two hundred years ago, learning a foreign language also means gaining a more thorough understanding of one’s own, and thus one's own cultural identity, as language and culture are considered by many to be synonymous. But why study German, in particular? Germany today has the world’s fourth largest economy, and German is the most widely spoken language in Europe. It is the official language of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Also, it is the native language of a significant portion of the population in northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, eastern France, parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Romania, as well as in other parts of Europe. For serious scholars in many fields, German is still the key to some of the world's best research in the sciences, and its literature and history are of paramount significance to the Western traditions.
Thus learning German can connect you to 120 million native speakers of the language around the globe, and many people learn German as a second language. It is the third most widely taught foreign language worldwide and the second most popular in Europe and Japan, after English.
Our program is designed to meet the individual needs of students from the elementary to the advanced levels, in keeping with Chapman’s mission to “provide a personalized education of distinction that leads to inquiring, ethical and productive lives as global citizens.”
Some upper-division courses that count toward the German minor can also be applied to other disciplines such as Music, various fields in the Humanities, and the minor in Holocaust Studies. Our classes cover a range of topics in literature, film, business and culture. Every semester one or two upper-division courses are offered. Under special circumstances, independent studies reflecting the special interests of individual students may also be possible.
Students may also design their own major in German Studies with assistance from the German Language Program Coordinator, Dr. Walter Tschacher.
The performing arts students who are enrolled in our classes help promote German culture by regularly performing recitals and German operas. We also have events on campus that connect students with the German business community, such as the spring 2014 program “Culture and Industry: A German Perspective” sponsored by Bosch Siemens Home Appliances B/S/H in Irvine. In 2013 the German program and the German Consulate General of Los Angeles advocated for the successful nomination of Gail S. Halvorsen, the famous Berlin Candy Bomber, for an honorary doctorate at Chapman. We also offer an annual trip to Munich during interterm in January, which gives our students the opportunity to experience the German language and culture first hand.