Many of the Western world’s most important works of literature, philosophy, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German. Whether developing the four basic skills of aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, or examining culture, civilization, and literature, the study of German at Denison, within the Department of Modern Languages, provides an exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that opens new vistas on the world.
Educated people spend their lives trying to grow in political, social and intellectual freedom. One kind of intellectual freedom requires us to break away from the notion that our native language is the most natural and apt means of expressing the full range of human experience. An education can start with the discovery that all words are purely conventional devices. They are nonetheless tools that stir emotions, articulate ideas, and establish relationships with others.
Learning a foreign language contributes to our education by providing an intimate exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that open up new vistas on what it can mean to be human. Furthermore, foreign-language courses allow entry into the subjectivity of the target language on its own cultural and linguistic grounds, thus making possible a different and more profound redefinition of our own culture.