Language | Getting started

Starting at the beginning

Without exchange we couldn’t live in a ­community. It is language that enables us to ­communicate and interact with one another, ­language contains our cultural, historical and ecological knowledge, and language shapes our identity.

Three gestures in sign language making the word "beginning".

This edition reveals just how important ­language is in the DAAD’s work, and how DAAD alumnae and alumni are making important academic contributions to German studies and ­research fields such as multi­lingualism, minority languages and artificial intelligence. Be it the sign languages that DAAD alumna Dr Cornelia Loos is studying at Universität Hamburg, the previously unresearched languages in the South Seas or the use of Tarifit Berber in social media: languages ­connect people, build bridges and are what make genuine exchange possible in the first place. The sign in the illustration above means “Beginning”. So let’s get started! —

Language | Interview

“Language is my life”

She is one of the leading voices in contemporary Belarusian literature: the poems by Volha Hapeyeva, a poet, author and translator with a doctorate in linguistics who was born in Minsk, have been translated into more than 15 languages. She has been living in exile since 2020 and is currently a fellow of the DAAD’s Artists-in-Berlin program.

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Language | In brief

Our favour­ite word

We asked this edition’s protagonists which words they like best – and why.

Language | Overview

Getting to know the world a bit better

Languages play an important role in the DAAD’s work. It is a question of promoting not only German, but also multilingualism. This approach is supported by various programmes and grants.

A key, an open window or a path leading to new horizons – many popular metaphors for languages are about breaking out or setting off on a journey. Learning a foreign language is “the acquisition of a new point of view in the previous world view,” wrote Wilhelm von Humboldt, the founder of comparative linguistics, in around 1825.

Illustration with people of different origins, speech bubbles floating above them.

Language | Engaging in exchange

German studies as a bridge to the world

Professsor Dr Gesine Lenore Schiewer sitting at a table, a bookshelf behind her.

German is widely spoken worldwide, and German studies is an international and transdisciplinary subject. Experts report on what they do to promote German around the world – and how Germany also profits from this.

German studies as a bridge to the world

German is spoken either as a native tongue or second language by an estimated 130 million people, and around 15.5 million people around the world are learning German as a foreign language. One of the most important jobs of the DAAD is to promote this and thereby cultivate links with cultures and people all over the world.


Dr Gerald Heusing speaks into a microphone.

Multilingualism is the goal

Until recently, Dr Heiko F. Marten ran the DAAD Information Centre in Riga. In our interview he talks about the importance of the German language in the Baltic states following the invasion of Ukraine and why it is important to protect minority languages.

Dr. Heiko F. Marten.

Dr Marten, until recently you were the head of the DAAD Information Centre for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Riga and have spent many years living in Scotland, Norway and the Baltic states. How important is the German language in the Baltic states?

German plays a significant role as a kind of supplementary language…


Language | Food for thought

When multilingualism is the norm

Why linguistic diversity in societies should be embraced: a guest article by Professor Heike Wiese from Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.

Societies that long viewed themselves as predominantly monolingual are nowadays witnessing growing multilingual dynamism as a result of globalisation, increased international networking and migration. While my generation for example knew English as a foreign language taught at school, many young people in Germany today routinely watch American series in the original version, follow English-speaking influencers on YouTube and write their TikTok posts in English. In their text mes­sages they combine German not only with English but also with languages that they know as the native tongues of their parents, grandparents or friends.

lllustration of people on a street talking to each other.

Language | In action

Language as a bridge between the past and present

Illustrations of Grimm Prize winners in combination with buildings typical of their countries.

With its Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Prize, the DAAD honours international researchers for outstanding work in the field of German studies. Four prize winners give insights into their current research. READ MORE

Language | In action

Adventures in linguistics

DAAD alumnae and alumni give insights into their research areas.
Individual portraits of DAAD alumnae and alumni from this article.

Language | In dialogue

“I feel as if I have been robbed of my language”

Alla Paslawska and Lilia Besugla.
What role does language policy play in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine? A dialogue between the Ukrainian Germanists Alla Paslavska and Lilia Besugla.
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Language | Keeping in touch

Aesthetics, modernism and an echo of a bygone era

The Japanese script combines elements of Chinese with Japanese innovation. Axel Karpenstein, Director of the DAAD Regional Office in Tokyo, explains why this symbol­ises both identity and change at the same time.

Language | In contact

Networking funding and research scholarships

Learn more about some of the DAAD’s wide range of funding opportunities for former scholarship holders.

Funding for alumni meetings

Would you like to network with other DAAD alumnae and alumni? The DAAD supports events that foster expert exchange and cooperation between alumni. Applications are invited from former scholarship holders in Germany and abroad, alumni and alumnae associations or expert networks registered with the DAAD, and the DAAD network. To qualify, at least half of the participants must be DAAD alumnae and alumni. All the key information can be found here:

Illustration of people with different hair and skin colours.

Language | In contact

Networking funding and research scholarships

Learn more about some of the DAAD’s wide range of funding opportunities for former scholarship holders.

Scholarships for hydrogen research

Are you focusing on green hydrogen during your studies or in your research and are planning a stay abroad, either for yourself or your junior researchers? Then apply now for a scholarship or forward this call to others and become part of our Green Hydro­gen Community. Applications from doctoral students and postdocs can be submitted at any time.

Illustration of people with different hair and skin colours.

Language | In contact

Networking funding and research scholarships

Learn more about some of the DAAD’s wide range of funding opportunities for former scholarship holders.

The digital network for Germany alumni

Alumniportal Deutschland Logo.
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