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German Language

Japan findet Deutsch super

The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit reports that German has become a trendy language in Japan. Apartment complexes are named “Wohnung” or “Grünwald.” A store for writing utensils carries the name “Freiheit,” and a glossy magazine for businessmen is labeled “Goethe.”

For Shinichi Sambe, Professor of German at Keio-University, does have a possible explanation: When Japan connected with the rest of the world at the end of the 19th century, Germany became something like a positive model. Germany, which at that point had barely transformed into a modern nation, was also going through important changes. On a more specific level, the German language became important when German doctors, engineers, and technicians were imported to modernize the country. To this day a patient’s file is called “Karte,” an operation “OP,” an allergy “die Allergie.”

Read more here.

And this is an example for a T-Shirt with a German inscription: Can you figure out what it means?


About GG

Gundolf Graml is Associate Prof. and Dir. of German Studies at Agnes Scott College. He has a Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Minnesota and has published articles on German and Austrian film and tourism. He is currently writing a book about tourism and Austrian national identity after 1945. Other research projects include critical whiteness studies and, most recently, investigations into the connection between memory and nature. At ASC, Gundolf Graml teaches courses on a broad range of topics, from German 101 to German and Austrian Cinema and Afro-German History and Culture.


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