Turkish language in Germany

According to an article I came across today in Today’s Zaman, the number of Germans learning Turkish has been increasing recently. A Turkish graduate of a German university who was interviewed for the article mentions that he has been teaching Turkish in German schools for nine years, but that an ad he posted online seven years ago looking for people interested in learning Turkish received no response. He now receives around ten enquiries a month from a similar ad.

At the same time, according to an article in the Spiegel Online, Turkey has criticized a German draft immigration law which stipulates that if spouses wish to join their partners in Germany they have to possess a basic proficiency in the German language.

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This entry was posted in German, Language, Language learning, Turkish.

13 Responses to Turkish language in Germany

  1. Nikki says:

    I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request, how do partners expect to handle day to day life without any proficiency in the language? On the other hand, what if German classes are difficult to find in Turkey? It doesn’t really go into much detail on just what it would entail, so it’s hard to really judge whether it’s unfair or not.

    Off topic: I changed my email address for the forum and never received a confirmation email, now my account is inactive and I can’t seem to do anything about it. :(

  2. Mike says:

    I’m not sure I’m completely in favor of such a law either. Of course the first person to come into Germany should have a working knowledge (and in my opinion near fluency) in German, but to demand that of the spouse as well, seems a bit extreme. And what of children? or extended relatives?
    In Canada if you have a cousin here, you’re pretty much guaranteed entrance. I’m not sure of the language requirements with those types of entries, but given some of my friends, they can’t be very stringent.
    Thinking about Nikki’s comment made me think of our Goethe Institut here in Montréal, and so I looked to see if there was one in Turkey. In fact, there’s three! Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. If they work anything like the Institute here, courses are relatively inexpensive, extremely thorough (courses given entirely in German from the beginning), not to mention tons of cultural activities including movies and discussion groups. So, given the Goethe Institut’s presence there, I’m sure German lessons are not hard to come by.

  3. dmh says:

    And what happens when the us adopts a similar law?

    Yeah, this is a very bad idea indeed.

  4. Simon says:

    Nikki – what email address do you want to use on the forum?

  5. I would say for this law, it depends on how much time is given for the spouse to acquire proficiency in German–are they expected to do it before even coming into the country, or do they have a certain time allowed in Germany to get up to speed before they test? Either way, though, I think that as long as there’s a reasonable time period allowed, this law makes sense. They’re not asking for fluency, just that you be able to handle the basics. When you’re in a country, its language ought to be the primary one and I think it’s respectful to learn the language. If you are not interested in joining the culture of that country, I think that should be a reason not to move.

    The fact, though, that more Germans are interested in learning Turkish is positive…I think that interest in someone else’s culture can only be a good thing for the community, even though theirs is the dominant culture.

  6. Anders says:

    Of course the spouses need to know German. We have so much problems in Europe with the imigrants from cultures far away. They badly integrate in our societies. This will be a help for the German society as a hole when new turks arrive.

  7. Polly says:

    MA:

    …I think that interest in someone else’s culture can only be a good thing for the community, even though theirs is the dominant culture.

    I agree completely. While I think it’s a no-brainer that immigrants and guest workers should learn the host language, it really does help for natives to bother learning a little something about a large immigrant population and even saying a few words goes a long way in forming a connection. This doesn’t have to be a law, it’s common courtesy and respect.

    And likewise, it should be remembered that nations are not job-placement or recruiting agencies. They are a grouping of people/s with historic ties to one another. The bonds that unite a country are not simply economic, but cultural and linguistic. To come in and expect to reap the benfits of a nation while not condescending to even attempt to learn the language or culture of that nation is pure arrogance and a little mercenary.

  8. rek says:

    I’m not 100%, but I believe immigrating to Canada (under most circumstances) requires applicants and their families to take English or French language courses before they will be allowed entry.

  9. Osman says:

    Well, i am from Turkey and it is understandable that one should learn the language of the country s/he wil go. But, if they won’t live there, why should s/he be insisted to learn German? I don’t understand the point here. Isn’t English enough if that person won’t live in Germany? If s/he will live there, of course s/he should learn German but if s/he doesn’t think of living there… hmm.. do i miss something? By the way, it is true that Turkish is a rising language. Personally, i have met many people learning Turkish as a foreign language and i will make a presentation about it in an international foreign language education conference which is very soon. I research about motives of Turkish learners and difficulties they encounter during their studies. Some learn it because of its interesting linguistic features, some needs it in their daily lives and some for their spouses. Wow! Long story! :-)

  10. Polly says:

    I’m not in Germany, but my wife is Armenian and she actually understands Turkish from hearing her parents speak it. So, I decided to “test” her skills one day. I bought a TurkishEnglish dictionary.
    Long story short, she passed! (not an “A”, but good enough)

    She can’t speak it, but she understood the words and phrases I threw at her from the book. I was really impressed. It actually encouraged me to try and pick up a little Turkish (basic phrases, etc), a language I never thought of before and knew nothing about.

  11. Mike Jezek says:

    Sure they should have to learn German to be able to get in. But my question is, why should there be outside of the EU immigration into Germany in the first place? They don’t need it. It’ll be a sad day when Germany or any other country for that matter, morphs into something else.

  12. Q says:

    Hi, I got a book from my friend that maight be written in Turkish, but I’m not quite sure. Can someone help me to recognise that?

  13. a.erol says:

    polly, this is to you.. nice to hear that your wife is still into turkish. this must be because armenians and turks are border and sometimes street neighbors. this is what we mean when we say turkish is spoken (or understood) by over 300 million people. statistics say turkish is spoken just by the people living in turkey. this is wrong. turkish is one of the top 10 languages worldwide! this is because turkey has empires in its histoy. turks are not just a nation!