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The German Language in the Digital Age by Georg Rehm download in ePub, pdf, iPad

Our main concernWhat the Internet

We carry small computers in our pockets and use them to make phone calls, write emails, get information, and entertain ourselves, wherever we are. There are applications and tools for speech synthesis and recognition, spelling correction, and grammar checking. There are plenty of complaints in German speaking countries about the ever-increasing use of Anglicisms.

Nevertheless, there is still a very high research potential on this side of the Atlantic. Summing up, despite the prophets of doom, the German language is not in danger, even from the prowess of English language computing. All our computers are linked together into an increasingly dense and powerful global network. It addresses educators, journalists, politicians, language communities and others. Others will continue to play a role in families and neighbourhoods, but not in the wider business and academic world.

This holds true for extracting information from texts, grammar checking, machine translation, as well as a whole range of other applications. This level of performance means going far beyond simple character sets and lexicons, spell checkers, and pronunciation rules. With almost million speakers, the German language is fairly well positioned compared to many languages. Not in science, aviation, and the global financial markets, which actually need a world-wide lingua franca.

Some even fear that the German language will become riddled with English words and expressions but our study suggests that this worry is misguided. And languages such as Spanish and French are also a lot easier to process than German using current methods. Despite the sharp decline in the international role of the German language, it is still the second most studied foreign language in Europe. The required actions depend on many factors, such as the complexity of a given language and the size of its community.

Our main concern should not be the gradual Anglicisation of our language, but its complete disappearance from major areas of our personal lives. What the Internet connects is still divided by the languages of its users. However, other researchers believe that English is inherently better suited to computer processing. In Austria and Switzerland sales fell slightly.