foreign language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A foreign language is a language that is not a person's mother tongue . A person can only acquire a foreign language through conscious learning - be it in school , through language courses or self-taught - or through play as a child living in a foreign language area.

The command of at least one foreign language applies in professional life in many sectors of the economy now as a key qualification , eg. As in the hotel , beings in trade and in the research .

Foreign language learning in schools


The most common foreign languages ​​taught in general schools in Germany are English , usually as the first foreign language, as well as Latin , French , Spanish , Italian , Russian , Danish and Dutch . Most students learn English from year 5 onwards. An earlier start of English lessons is also increasingly being introduced: in elementary school or even in kindergarten, children are initially introduced to the first foreign language through play. In the 6./7. A further language can be learned in each of the 1st and 9th grades and then again in grade 11. Knowledge of at least two foreign languages ​​throughout Germany is a prerequisite for acquiring the Abitur .

In the GDR , acquiring the Russian language at secondary schools was compulsory from the 5th grade onwards, and from the 7th grade onwards, optional lessons were mostly offered in English or French.

In a survey carried out by IfD Allensbach between 2006 and 2007, almost half (45%) of Germans over the age of fourteen stated that they did not speak or understand any foreign language.


In the Swiss school system , one of the three most widely spoken of the four national languages ​​is usually taught as the first foreign language. H. German or Italian for children with a French mother tongue, German or French for children with an Italian mother tongue and French or Italian for German-speaking children ( de facto , High German taught from the first grade is already the first foreign language for Swiss-German children, see diglossia ). Romansh- speaking children nowadays often grow up bilingual . The different cantons decide which foreign language is learned first. Furthermore, English is now learned in almost all cantons from at least the 7th grade and for some years now, early English has also been promoted from the 3rd grade.


In order to preserve the country's multilingual and multicultural identity, foreign language teaching in the Luxembourg school system begins in the first grade. Except for the native teaching in Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch) lessons are held entirely in German. From the second grade onwards, French is added as a second foreign language. French is replacing German as the language of instruction in the Lyceum (7th / 8th grade). The mother tongue tuition in Luxembourgish is optional from grade 8, for which the students choose English as a third compulsory foreign language. In the classical lyceum there is also the possibility of taking Latin from grade 8, but then English must be learned as a fourth foreign language from the 9th grade. In addition, in the can secondary education , the section A is selected and other languages (eg. As Portuguese, Italian or Spanish) are occupied.

See also


  • Julia Analena Hollmann: Language & the Brain: The Neural Basis of Foreign Language Proficiency . Kovač , Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8300-5340-8 (= Series of Applied Linguistics from an Interdisciplinary Perspective , Volume 35).
  • Andrea Ender: Vocabulary acquisition and use of strategies for multilingual learners - activation of knowledge and successful linking when reading to understanding in a foreign language . Schneider Hohengehren , Baltmannsweiler 2007, ISBN 3-8340-0193-7 (= multilingualism and multiple language learning , volume 4, also dissertation University Innsbruck 2004).
  • Kristian Bosselmann-Cyran (Ed.): Foreign languages ​​and foreign language acquisition. Berlin 1997 (= The Middle Ages. Journal of the Medievalist Association. Volume 2).

Web links

Wiktionary: Foreign language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence