Is a title really important to the language

7 questions for Sandro Moraldo
The importance of the German language in Italy

How important is the German language in Italy today? With Dr. Sandro M. Moraldo, we talked about the prospects and challenges of German between Bolzano and Palermo. He is Professor of Modern German Literature, Culture and Language at the University of Bologna, Chairman of Alumni DAAD Italy (ADIT) and editor of the anthology "The German Language in Italy - Between Europeanization and Globalization" (2017).

From the questions asked Ferdinand Krings, representative for the educational cooperation German of the Goethe-Institut Italy.

The name of your anthology is "The German Language in Italy - Between Europeanization and Globalization". Why this title?
The title goes back to Ulrich Ammon. I found it very appropriate: on the one hand in Italy it underlines the importance of the German language in a European context, on the other hand its importance in a globalized world. German is not as widespread around the world as English, Spanish or Chinese, but it still has a high level of language policy that cannot be calculated in numbers alone.

Why is linguistic diversity important?
The importance of multilingualism has increased worldwide. All professional sectors are increasingly acting internationally, the requirements in international communication are growing continuously. Foreign languages ​​are more than just communication. They are the way to understand other cultures. Harald Weinrich once put this thought so nicely: “Learning two foreign languages ​​naturally takes time. But having time for other people is at the heart of all politeness ”.

What about the language skills of Italian students?
Meanwhile there is also a foreign language awareness in Italy. Almost all students learn two foreign languages ​​very early on. However, this is (still) contrasted with the reality of language and speaking competence. There is still a lot of catching up to do. More native speakers simply have to be included in GFL lessons.

What prospects and challenges do you see for German as a foreign language?
Since foreign language teaching has been restructured as part of the common European reference framework and the practical value of the humanities has been adapted to the changed social framework through an application and job-related profile of the courses, DaF has also benefited from it. Due to Germany's economic strength, more and more small to medium-sized companies are relying on the professional added value of the German language. In my opinion, this is where the big challenges lie: We have to train people to be more linguistically competent.

What is the position of the German language in Italy, for example in science, for professional careers, for tourism?
I have long been advocating strengthening German as a scientific language in Italy. Unfortunately, more and more universities, especially the technical ones, are converting their courses to English. But in direct business negotiations with Germany, Austria and Switzerland, German is an important means of communication and subject-specific language knowledge is increasingly required. In addition, tourism is one of the most important branches of the economy. Here professional fields of activity, including tourist offices, tour operators, trade fair organizations, the hotel and catering industry, offer the best opportunities. Good knowledge of German is a valuable qualification for starting a career and promotes a career.

How could one support and improve German teaching in Italian schools?
I think the Goethe-Institut, with its diverse range of offers, is truly incredible. The method repertoire, for example, which is taught in advanced training courses, is the best prerequisite for varied and good teaching. This helps to question routines that inevitably arise over time.

What could be improved in terms of German teacher training in Italy?
More than before, universities must become centers for teacher training. As an employer, the state has a very special responsibility. Without a specially created course, without appropriate subject didactics and without a meaningful combination of practical phases with the course, the training will come to nothing. In addition, the mobility of domestic foreign language teachers from EU programs needs to be promoted more strongly.

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