Sunday, March 27, 2011
Deutsche Welle is by far the most effective national broadcaster in teaching the language of its home country, and I have nothing but praise for their German courses. As far as I know, Deutsche Welle is the only one where a student is capable of going from a complete beginner in the language to a fluent or near-fluent user without ever visiting another site, while having a great deal of fun doing it as well due to the variety it offers.
That said, why is Deutsche Welle not in Italian? The site is available in the following languages:
Portuguese for Africa
Looking at the list it's quite clear what their target languages are: at the top are mostly languages that have an importance that can't be denied, followed by a lot of other languages that are in less-developed areas or those where EU integration is a priority. Croatian, Bosnian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Albanian are a few good examples there. Language population doesn't matter here. However, small languages spoken in countries that are already considered to be quite well integrated (Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, etc.) are not there. Either size, or strategic importance.
But Italian seems to be a missed opportunity for Deutsche Welle. Though Italian is one of the "old" EU countries and may not be spoken much outside of Europe, being available in Italian would mean an extra 60+ million people could more easily learn German. On top of that, finding a Italian translators is just about the easiest thing ever. A full news service in Italian wouldn't be strictly necessary (though it would be nice), but at the very least why not translate the German courses into Italian too?
The Italian Wikipedia doesn't give much more information on this either except to note that Italian isn't included.
Deutsche Welle o DW è la rete tedesca di informazione internazionale. Trasmette via satellite (in inglese, tedesco e spagnolo in un canale, ed arabo in un altro), radio e internet in 30 lingue (tra cui non figura l'italiano). Il nome dell'emittente significa Onda Tedesca, è simile a BBC World Service, Voice of America, e Radio France Internationale.And while we're on the subject, I would also recommend Hungarian. Hungary is not one of the more recent EU members, but poll after poll show them to be the worst at foreign languages so if there's anyone that would need a German language course in their own language to learn it, it's them. Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania etc. one is quite likely to find either a fluent Russian or English speaker and they are used to using other languages in that way. Hungary also borders Austria and has much shared history with them.