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Linguistics Professor: Germans Should Learn Arabic and Kurdish

To aid integration, a linguistics professor has said that it is Germans who should learn Arabic or Kurdish, rather than migrants learn German.

Professor Angelika Redder believes that Germans should adopt a multilingual concept of Germany rather than expect new migrants to learn German. She argues that the Germans need to learn Arabic or Kurdish to help the new migrants integrate, echoing the comments of another German professor, Thomas Strothotte, who believes that Arabic should be a mandatory subject for all children in Germany.

In an interview with Die Welt, Ms. Redder stated that we all practice some form of multilingualism in our lives (when we order Italian food, for example), and that in the future we will need to know even more vocabulary from other languages.

When asked if she thought that migrants who come to Germany should learn German she said: “Yes absolutely, but it is a matter of reciprocity,” calling on “German assistance” to integrate with new migrants saying that “we can do something that shows us as being open to other languages. This may be enriching for both sides.”

“For the majority of people in the world, multilingualism is completely normal,” Ms. Redder said, declaring that outside of Europe “a lot of people speak two, three or more languages and switch briskly back and forth.”

The professor made it a point to single out the United States as being mono-linguistic, saying: “Until recently in the U.S. much of the population spoke only English; slowly, Spanish is being included.” When asked what she thought of Germans learning English or French she said dismissively “we can still be proud of something.”

When asked how she would implement a plan to get Germans to learn Arabic she said it was not just the job of private citizens but also of the government and even the health services.

Stating that educational institutions play a “central role” in language learning, she said that new migrant students should be given “special consideration” so that all the students can be made to think “more flexibly.”

The private sector should also have a role in making Germany more multilingual. According to Ms. Redder, businesses should make more active demands for job candidates to know a language, such as Arabic, before they are hired, remaking that some businesses, such as the shipping sector, may do this regardless.

Die Welt ran an online poll asking readers if they thought Germans should learn Arabic. Over 39,000 votes were cast and 95 percent of voters said simply “nein.”

Integration is seen as a top priority for many German law makers and academics. Germans have been outraged at some of the strange attempts to integrate migrants, including launching a smartphone app to help new migrants find dates, and a government funded programme that teaches migrants how to pick up German girls in a so called “flirt school”.

The cost of integration is mounting as very few have any idea how much money will be needed to integrate the over one million migrants who came last year; and even more importantly, if it will even work.

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