Die Didaktik der Alten Sprachen und ihr Beitrag zur Mehrsprachigkeit im Fächerkanon des Gymnasiums in Deutschland

Michael P. Schmude (Görres-Gymnasium, Koblenz)


Latin has experienced a sustained growth for years in Germany. Students can choose it as a subject in the classical high school (as the first foreign language) and in the modern high school (as a second foreign language from class 6); in Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, a good third of all school-leavers studied Latin. To a lesser extent, also the other classical language, Greek, has been constantly popular in Germany. The reasons are manifold: Latin is increasingly perceived as an ‘Integrationsfach’ which offers students with an immigrant background as well as German native speakers a reliable access into the complexities of the German language. The analysis of linguistic structures – how language works – contributes to a general improvement in language comprehension. Present-day teaching materials are also oriented, to a large extent, to achieving cultural competence, and focus on the ability to discern and examine texts from the entire range of classical literature – in translation and text interpretation – as is the case in textbooks like Keywords of the European culture (F. Maier). The curricula for the secondary school levels I (classes 5-10) and II (classes 11-13) anchor Latin as ‘multivalentes Bildungsfach’ in the canon of language teaching and in relation with modern foreign languages such as English, French and, increasingly, Spanish. Students and parents recognise that Latin has the same role as ‘service-provider’ in the area of spoken and written languages as fundamental subjects like mathematics in the area of numbers and calculations. While Latin is necessary for a linguistic and cultural all-around education, Greek and Latin literature represents the best humanistic basis for the horizon of our common European identity.

DOI: 10.4424/lam12012-3


Latin language; Humanistiches Gymnasium; School reform; Language teaching; Germany.

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