Germany: And Now for Sprachvergnugen

A TIME correspondent muses about a much maligned language that suddenly many feel they should learn

If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.

-- Mark Twain

So judged Missouri's greatest cultural critic in 1880 regarding what he called "the Awful German Language," and it is probably safe to say that the popular appraisal of the tongue has not moved far since. A fair verdict? As Germany emerges from the partial eclipse known as "the Postwar," the question has fresh urgency: politicians, businessmen and, dare it be whispered, even journalists now need German more than...

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