„Fremdsprachen sprechen und kulturelle Unterschiede kennen öffnet viele Türen.”


REASONS for learning German, French, Italian

1.    Not everyone speaks English

There are approx. 6,900 languages and approx. 200 countries world-wide.  Amongst the 7 billion people worldwide are the following native speakers: 

GERMAN: 110 million native speakers (11th place)

                (German has 120,000 words)

- Germany

- Austria

- Switzerland (four official languages: German [65 % of population], French [23 %], Italian [12 %] and Romansh = Romansch = Rumantsch Grischun [1 %])

- Liechtenstein

German is also spoken by German immigrants / ex-pats world-wide: NZ, Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Namibia (= former South-West Africa) etc.



FRENCH: 80 million native speakers (18th place)

               (French has 80,000 words)

- France (and its overseas territories New Caledonia, French Polynesia etc)

- Switzerland (four official languages: German [65 % of population], French [23 %], Italian [12 %] and Romansh = Romansch = Rumantsch Grischun [1 %])

- Belgium (three official languages: French, German, Dutch [in Belgium the Dutch dialect / language "Flemish" is spoken)

- Luxembourg (three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, German)

- Canada (officially bilingual: French and English and all Export / Imports have to be labelled biligual)

French is also spoken

- in Vanuatu, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc

- by French immigrants / ex-pats world-wide: NZ, Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa etc



ITALIAN: 65 million native speakers (19th place)

                (Italian has 80,000 words)

- Italy

- Vatican City (= Holy See) (official languages: Latin and Italian)

- San Marino

- Switzerland (four official languages: German [65 % of population], French [23 %], Italian [12 %] and Romansh = Romansch = Rumantsch Grischun [1 %])

Italian is also spoken by Italian immigrants / ex-pats world-wide: NZ, Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Argentina etc.

English: 360 million (400,000 words) (5th place)

Arabic: 370 million (4th place)

Hindi (one of most spoken languages in India): 380 million (3rd place)

Spanish: 400 million (80,000 words) (2nd place)

Madarin (China’s official language of the five main languages spoken in China): 870 million (1st place)


Amongst the 200 different Nationalities in NZ (and 100 different nationalities in Tauranga) are

- 40,000 German native speakers

- 35,000 French native speakers

- 30,000 Italian native speakers

Many of them also live in Tauranga & surroundings.

Many people (regardless if English-, German-, French, Italian- etc native speaker) "only" know 5,000 - 20,000 words.

English is not an easy language because of its vast vocabulary.  There are also many exceptions to the pronunciation rules (e.g. the pronunciation of "oo" in mood / hood / flood).  Some words are pronounced the same but spelt differently (e.g. there / their / they're; our / hour).  Sometimes the "h" at the beginning of a word is silent (e.g. hour, honour).  Or spelt the same but pronounced differently (e.g. Polish / polish).  Also NZ has its own unique "Kiwi English" expressions, which are not taught / used anywhere else (e.g. "Bring your own plate").

Understanding native speakes on the phone - particularly call centre staff - can be very stressful for someone who has "only" learned the other language.

Trying to fully understand jokes in another languaegs takes many years - and often one never fully understands them - since jokes totally reflect a specific culture and sense of humour.

2.    Speaking someone’s language is a sign of respect and makes the other person feel welcome

Countries with different languages (or even countries sharing the same language) have different cultures.  Different cultures have different expectations, values, way of thinking, perception of time, personal space, (verbal and non-verbal) communication, behaviour, food, clothing etc.

E.g. Germans usually love their warm, centrally heated houses, bread with a hard crust, spicy sausages, strong coffee, pure linen / cotton bedding etc - but usually dislike cold houses, vegemite / marmite, cheerio sausages, tea with milk, extra sheet between duvet and bed-sheet etc.

Also people of some cultures (incl. German, French and Italian native speakers) talk more direct than "PC" English speakers.  Don't be too shocked - it is just cultural differences and you know much more where you stand.

3.    International students (who include many German speakers and also French and Italian speakers) are an important source of income for Homestay famiies and our Education System

International students must pay full tuition fees.

- Secondary schools: approx. $ 14,000 p.a.

- Polytechs: approx. $ 17,000 p.a.

- Universities: approx. $ 20,000 - 60,000 p.a.

The average homestay fee is $ 220 pw (incl. daily meals).

Unfortunately, sometimes students say that their homesay family is only interested in them as a means to make money - but not as a person.  Also beign away from home - especially at a young age and without family - can be very stressful because of homesickness aggravated by the languages, culture and food shock.  However, we can easily show international students that we care by being interested in their language, culture and food.

4.    New Zealand's ECONOMY (GDP $ 189 billion in 2009) highly depends on EXPORT & IMPORT


Since many of our international business partners are non-English native speakers learnign other languages spoekn outside NZ is very beneficial living in NZ.

CANADA is officially bi-lingual (French and English) and all exports to Canada must be labelled in FRENCH and English.

Many of New Zealand's EXPORTS go to

  • Germany: kiwifruit (3rd place), lamb (3rd place)
  • France:   kiwifruit (8th place), lamb (2nd place)
  • Belgium:   kiwifruit (11th place), wool (among Top 5)
  • Italy:       kiwifruit (9th place), wool (among Top 5), lamb
  • Canada:    lamb and many other products


Many of New Zealand's IMPORTS come from

Germany: cars & trucks, electrical appliances, tableware & cutlery, chocolate, beer, cosmetics, health                              products, shoes, fashion etc

Switzerland: chocolate, watches, Swiss Army knives, sun creams, elevators etc

Austria: shoes

France: cars, cosmetics, fashion, shoes etc

Belgium: chocolate, beer etc

Italy:   kiwifruit (2nd biggest producer after China and followed by NZ, Chile, France etc), wine, cars, fashion, shoes etc


5.    Amongst the 2.5 million annual Visitors to NZ are 150,000 German native speakers and also French and Italian native speakers

In 2009 international visitors spent $ 9.3 Million in NZ, including the $ 344,000 spent by German speakers (both amounts exclude international airfares).  Most German tourists don’t have friends or family here. Thus they spend a lot of money on accommodation, transport, sightseeing, attractions and food.


6.    There are also many Internet articles, TV Films / News (on Triangle-Stratos via e.g. Freeview satellite), books (in libraries, bookshops, online etc) and Cinema Films in German, French, Italian (including International Film Festivals)

7.    Many Operas are written in German, French and Italian

8.    Many Kiwis want to travel or live / work overseas including countries where other languages are spoken


9.    Since language are a complex skill, learning Languages highly stimulates many parts of the Brain

Thus learning languages can also help prevent Alzheimers.