Navigation – Plan du site

School Languages between Economy and Politics: The Foreign Language Curriculum in Northern German Schools (1850-1900)

Tim Giesler
p. 33-48

Résumés

Au cours du XIXe siècle, le français et (ensuite) l’anglais en tant que langues étrangères modernes ont été intégrés dans les programmes scolaires allemands. En 1901, ce processus s’est terminé quand l’anglais a finalement été accepté dans le cadre du baccalauréat dans les Gymnasien prussiens. Avant, le français et l’anglais avaient déjà joué un rôle substantiel dans le premier cycle et étaient devenus des éléments importants dans les programmes scolaires des Realschulen allemandes, surtout dans les villes hanséatiques. La nécessité pratique des langues étrangères modernes s’est continuellement trouvée confrontée à la conception traditionnelle des langues dans l’éducation générale et formelle ; le besoin de communication des futurs marchands rivalisait avec des méthodes de grammaire-traduction. L’enseignement du français ou de l’anglais ne dépendait pas seulement des partenaires commerciaux mais aussi des différents aspects discutés dans les publications scolaires, comme la littérature, ou des particularités linguistiques de la langue en question. L’article suivant analyse les raisons et les justifications qui ont déterminé le choix et l’ordre d’apprentissage des langues scolaires dans les villes hanséatiques comme Brême ou Hambourg.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

  • 1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Der deutsche Kaufmann macht sich eine Ehre daraus, seine Deutschhe (...)

The German merchant takes pride in throwing his Germanness away and becoming a full-blown Yankee ape. This hybrid being is happy when nobody can tell that he is German, he talks English even with his fellow countrymen, and when he returns to Germany, he plays the Yankee more than ever. You can often hear English spoken in the streets of Bremen but one would be mistaken to believe that everybody who speaks English is a Brit or a Yankee; [...]1 (Engels 1841)

1This was Friedrich Engels’ quite unflattering observation as a young office clerk in 1840s Bremen. It clearly points to three important ideas which this article will examine more closely:

  • The English language was of everyday importance in the Northern German merchant cities in the mid-19th century.

  • It was primarily used as a means of communication, not formal education.

  • The reasons for its use were usually economic.

2Given these observations, the significance of English should be evident in the sequence of foreign languages taught in the Northern German schools. Secondly, one would expect to find the reasons and motivations for this in the school’s publications. Finally, a clear utilitarian approach must surely lead to methodological repercussions – long before Viëtor’s cry for a turnaround in foreign language teaching in 1882.

2. Sequence(s) of Foreign Languages

3Although French was the predominant modern foreign language taught in German higher education throughout the 19th century, English played an important role in some pre-unification German states as well. Among these were obviously Hanover, which had shared one king with Britain between 1714 and 1837, and the northern German Hanseatic cities, especially Bremen and Hamburg.

4The Bremen commercial school (Handelsschule) from 1802, and as part of the public secondary education system since 1817, had offered a foreign language curriculum of French, English and Spanish. The Bremen Bürgerschule was the first in Germany to introduce English as the main foreign language in 1855 (with up to 8 hours per week; Klippel 1994: 293) and taught geography and history partly in English, as an early version of the modern Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) concept.

  • 1 The volumes provide continuous page numbers which do not match the original pagination. Thus the ar (...)

5Other schools in the German merchant cities later followed the Bremen Bürgerschule’s example and introduced English as the first modern language. Here French usually became the second foreign language, and Latin or other classical languages were not taught at all. As this reordering of the sequence of languages was seen as revolutionary and was not always welcomed, teachers and school officials had to justify their choice of languages quite thoroughly. This was usually done in school programmes which were published annually, and, in the case of the Bremen Bürgerschule, also in so called “notices” to the parents (Mittheilungen aus der Bürgerschule), which were published monthly. Especially the latter are an enormously rich source of information, and not just for the history of foreign language teaching. Following a similar structure as school programmes, they mainly include general information for the parents and pupils (Schulnachrichten) and scientific essays written by the school’s headmaster and teachers. The latter often focus not only on scientific findings, but also on teaching methodology and its underlying ideas. The Bremen State Archive (Staatsarchiv) holds a hardback collection1 of all the volumes, which are the main source material used for this paper.

  • 2 The scheme by Richards and Rogers (2001) introduced here is an adaption of an older model by the Am (...)

6On this basis it is possible to take a peek at the theoretical ideas behind the instruction on a level Richards & Rogers (2001: 18-35)2 call the “approach” and to show the different reasons and justifications for and against (mainly) French or English with their methodological repercussions or “designs”.

3. Reasons and Justifications

7It is indisputable that modern foreign languages played an important role in the 19th-century German middle schools known as Realschulen. This can be seen in their dominant position in the timetables, and is easily explained by the international maritime trade, which made the Hanseatic cities wealthy. There was a high demand for future merchants, seamen and dockworkers, who needed enough language skills to be able to communicate with people from all over the world. Here English obviously played a dominant role, as a major part of the sea trade was directly with the USA or indirectly with the transatlantic colonies via Great Britain.

8The need for English language skills in sea trade was not a new development. However, the change that the 19th century did bring was that the languages were not only learned during visits to foreign countries or with the help of Sprachmeister (foreign “language masters” who taught their mother tongue) but increasingly also in the developing state schools.

9Thus, it is not very surprising that local requirements played an important role in the choice and sequence of languages taught. In addition, of course, pedagogical ideas played a key role: pupils should simply start with the language easiest to acquire. Irrespective of these utilitarian ideas, however, Realschulen were a part of secondary education and therefore had to guarantee a degree of formal education and insight into literature, which had traditionally been provided through Latin and Greek. Finally, as education has always been an important part of the public sphere, political influence on the developing public school system was a given – and not always in accordance with the other influences.

3.1 Marketplace and monastery tradition

10McArthur (1998: 83) identifies two major traditions in why and how foreign languages are learned: One is the monastery tradition, whose secularised version survived mainly in higher education. Here, the formal features of a language (i.e. its grammar) play a dominant role in its teaching and learning; languages are learned in order to understand and translate a literary corpus.

11The marketplace tradition, in contrast, focuses on communication. Usually modern languages are learned in order to be able to understand one’s potential customers. Not surprisingly, this tradition entered the state school systems through commercial schools (Handelsschulen) that sought to provide future merchants with the necessary knowledge for their future jobs.

12Both traditions are closely connected to the two German concepts Bildung, or formal education, and Ausbildung, which can be seen as the foundation provided by schools on which training for the job could be built. Consequently, the 19th century brought the development of two kinds of schools for secondary education: the Gymnasium – comparable to the British grammar school (whose name reveals the principal teaching method used) – and the Realschule, in which new subjects such as sciences and modern languages dealt with the “real” world as opposed to the intellectual sphere. If we analyse 19th century schedules, Latin and Greek generally play a major role in the former, while French and English can only be found as main subjects in the latter.

3.2 Local requirements

  • 1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die englische Sprache hat für Bremen, einen Handelsplatz, der haup (...)

13In the merchant cities, English evidently played an important role in the lives of the inhabitants – not only for upper and middle class merchants, but for the lower class seamen and dockworkers as well. Therefore there was little need to justify the importance of learning English, as can be seen in the official statements of the Bremen Bürgerschule: “The importance of the English language for the city of Bremen, which trades mainly with America and England, is too big to neglect in the design of the curriculum”1 (MadB February 1864).

  • 2 Even today, the so-called Franzosenzeit, the “Frenchmen’s time” is commemorated ambiguously in Brem (...)

14The importance of French, on the other hand, was continually declining. Trade with France and its colonies had been of decreasing importance since the 18th century and the French reputation in Northern Germany had suffered badly under Napoleon’s Continental System, which had cut off the Hanseatic cities from their trade partners.2

3.3 Pedagogical ideas and linguistic features

  • 3 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Daß aber das Englische, besonders in seiner Formenlehre, ganz unve (...)

15Alongside the local requirements, pedagogical ideas were crucial for the justification of school subjects. Quite convincingly, most educators claimed that one should teach easier subjects first, before moving on to more complicated matters. The only question here was to decide which of the foreign languages was the easiest to learn. Regarding the linguistic features, this point usually leads to support for the English language: “There has never been a doubt that the English language, especially its inflectional morphology, is disproportionally easier than French”3 (Weidner 1894: 4).

16The authors generally distinguished between pronunciation, orthography and grammar, especially morphology. English pronunciation was allegedly easier for Northern German pupils whose mother tongue was usually the Low German variety (Plattdeutsch or Niederdeutsch), which is closely related to Dutch and English (ibid.: 7).

  • 4 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Was die Aussprache des Französischen anbelangt, so haben unsere Sc (...)

17Nevertheless, a similar argumentation can be found in favour of French. The Bremen Bürgerschule claims, for example, that French articulation is more easily mastered by Northern Germans than by pupils from the other parts of Germany (although in this case French was only the second foreign language in the curriculum), because of their more accurate pronunciation: “Considering the pronunciation of French, our pupils do struggle less with the articulation than in the middle or south of Germany; simply because in Northern Germany, one articulates one’s own language in a better way”4 (MadB January 1865). Without any empirical proof, this might show a local patriotism or rather the author’s attempt to flatter his sponsoring body: the Bremen parents.

  • 5 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Eins unterscheidet sie [die englische Sprache] sehr vorteilhaft vo (...)

18Rather problematic is orthography. As English has few reliable rules for spelling, the argumentation here points to the absence of accents – in itself quite a weak argument: “There is one beneficial difference between the English and the French language, namely the absence of accents, which cause our little Frenchmen [i.e. the boys learning French] so many headaches”5 (Weidner 1894: 7).

  • 6 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Jedenfalls wird der norddeutsche, viel Plattdeutsch sprechende Sch (...)

19Looking at morphology, modern English almost completely lacks (in)flection. Particularly on a basic level this may lead to the conclusion that English is easy to learn, again supported by the closeness of Low German and English: “However, the Northern German pupil speaking Low German will manage the elementary course in English more conveniently than in French and we have much reason to simplify matters for that very age”6 (Heinrichsen 1874: 2).

  • 7 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Wenn sich hie und da bei unsern Schülern wohl eine Vorliebe für da (...)

20Nicely summing up the argument, the Bremen Bürgerschule explains the choice of French as the second foreign language: “If here and there a preference for the English language can be seen in our pupils this is certainly because they, who at home speak more or less Low German, feel more at home by learning English”7 (MadB January1865). The only question then was whether English might be too easy to be a challenging subject in higher education.

3.4 Formal education

  • 8 Transl. TG. The original reads: “ Die Sprachen, die ersten Kunstschöpfungen des menschliches Geiste (...)

21Learning a language was not only seen as a useful tool for communication, but also as a means of formal education. The complex linguistic systems of the classical languages in particular were seen as a form of intellectual training and sources of insight into foreign cultures: “Languages, the first artificial creations of the human spirit, contain a whole supply of general ideas and forms of thought won and shaped in the developing culture of the peoples”8 (Wolf 1807: 91).

22Having been the core of grammar school education, the classics were still seen as a prerequisite for academic studies. So when the Realschule was increasingly transformed from a more technical school into a place of general education which set the basis for an academic career, this had consequences for the choice of languages as well. Usually, Latin was (re)introduced into the timetables, now dividing the schools into Realschule first order (with Latin) and second order (without Latin).

  • 9 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die französische Sprache, als Tochter der lateinischen, hat in der (...)

23In Bremen, where English had been the first language since 1855, this led to a change in the sequence of languages. The old Bürgerschule (now called Realschule) used French after 1870 as a substitute for Latin to provide formal education: “The French language, being the daughter of Latin, has indeed some of the substantial advantages of the latter, which the English language is missing, that we have to exploit in our language courses”9 (MadB April 1870). The advantages of French were (according to the author) its morphological multitude (Formenfülle), harmonic perfection, and logical regularity of its syntax. It was therefore seen as an excellent tool for mental development (geistige Zucht) (ibid.).

  • 10 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[…] es kommt uns hier nur auf den Bildungswerth der Sprache an, un (...)

24The English language on the other hand was only seldom regarded as a possible means of formal education. The second Bremen Realschule, the Debbe-School, states that in general, among the modern languages, French would be the better choice in this respect: “[…] here we are only concerned with the educational value of the language and thus it would be foolish to dispute the excellence of French amongst the modern languages”10 (Heinrichsen 1874: 1).

  • 11 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Ist aber das Englische zu leicht, ist es nicht im Stande, die geis (...)

25Yet it was also argued that in addition to its practical importance as a means of communication, English might fulfil a role in formal education as well: “If English is too easy, it will not be able to engage the pupil’s mental ability sufficiently […]. We are not of the opinion that English is too easy”11 (ibid.: 2).

  • 12 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Der Verfasser hat nur dartun wollen, daß für die Stufen Sexta und (...)

26The proof provided for the suitability of English was a comparison of grammatical features taught in the first two years of study, demonstrating that the English language gives an adequate level of mental and logical development: “The author has tried to explain, that [in the lower grades] the English grammar is sufficient to provide the necessary mental nourishment and exercise for the Realschule pupil and therefore the strength needed for the progress in higher grades”12 (ibid.: 5).

3.5 Literature

  • 13 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Den edelsten Nahrungs-Stoff nun, und in der edelsten Form, die gol (...)
  • 14 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Dieser Reichthum aber ist an die Sprache gebunden, und nur durch u (...)

27The fourth and last inherent feature discussed as a major reason for the study of languages is national literature. In a neo-humanist view, the classical languages were not only seen as tools for intellectual training but also as media for a superior literary canon. The German philosopher Hegel (2006 [11809]: 460) makes this claim in flowery language: “The most precious nutritional substance in its most precious form, the golden apples in silver bowls, are contained in the works of the ancients, incomparably more so than in any other works from any other age or nation”13. Accordingly, learning a foreign language also meant gaining the ability to participate in these superior cultural products: “This wealth is bound to the language, and only through it and in it do we get to the wealth in all its peculiarity”14 (ibid.: 36).

28Against the backdrop of the ancient cultures held in great esteem, it took a long time for the modern languages to gain a comparable reputation. Before 1800, French was often studied because it was the lingua franca of the European nobility, whereas English was – at least for a part of the educated classes in Germany – the language which enabled its learners to read important works of literature and philosophy (Hüllen 2005: 66). Not surprisingly, this view was still held 100 years later, with the most important English authors cited as key evidence:

[Nobody will] still doubt the high importance, the mental depth, the immemorial diversity of English literature. […] English literature offers rich material on every level, from the simplest narrations to the intellectual magnitude of Shakespeare, Milton, Byron etc.

  • 15 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[Niemand wird] mehr die hohe Bedeutung, die geistige Tiefe, die un (...)

We do not wish to underestimate the value of the French literature in any way; we acknowledge that it had its golden age and features works which are a lasting glory of the nation; it never reaches the abundance of the English literature, though15. (Heinrichsen 1874: 6)

29This statement – which may have been in part fed by common anti-French resentments in the late 19th century (see above) – is especially remarkable because its author, the teacher G. C. Heinrichsen, taught French at the Debbe-Realschule.

3.6 Political reasons

30Besides local requirements and inherent features of the languages, political reasons beyond the dominant economic influence played an important role in the choice and sequence of foreign languages taught. The 19th century saw a multitude of different political influences and systems in Northern Germany – starting with the agony of the First German Reich before 1806, continuing with the French occupation until 1813/15 and the following Restoration, the failed revolutions of 1848/49, and finally Bismarck’s (re)unification of 1871.

  • 16 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die Provinzialschulkollegien sind ermächtigt, in allen Realanstalt (...)

31Before 1866, the Northern German states had been politically sovereign. This enabled them to set up school systems independently to fit their individual needs. As seen above, this favoured English as the first or second foreign language in the merchant cities. With the North German Federation (1866) and the Second German Reich many German states modified their school systems according to the dominant Prussian system, favouring French language instruction. Yet even then, Prussian law permitted the consideration of local needs in the choice of foreign languages – especially when choosing between French and English: “The local councils are authorized to exchange the number of lessons for French and English in any ‘Realinstitut’ under the condition that this variation seems justified by the locality of the school and its trade relations16 (Weidner 1894: 4). Thus, Prussian port towns such as Geestemünde (today a part of the State of Bremen) or Cuxhaven introduced English as the first modern language.

32The ancient languages – especially Latin – nevertheless regained importance when Realschule graduates fought for university entry. The Realschulen of first and second order were separated according to the choice of languages (see above).

  • 17 The question “Have you served?” may serve as a symbol here for the enormous prestige the army and e (...)

33Whereas university entry had been standardised with the Prussian Abitur since 1812, the middle school qualification developed (partly) through the entry into military service. The so-called Einjährigendienst opened a military career as reserve officers for boys who had spent a certain amount of time in secondary education but did not necessarily have to take their final exams. Especially after the formation of the German Reich with “blood and iron” (Bismarck), this was an attractive and prestigious option (often culminating in the well-known question for military service: “Haben Sie gedient?17). The Bremen Bürgerschule offered this option after 1868 along with a change of name:

  • 18 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Durch Senatsbeschluß vom 16. Juni ist der bisherigen Bürgerschule (...)

Following the Senate’s order of 16th June the former Bürgerschule is now a Realschule. In future, the institute shall be entitled to issue school certifications for the one-year voluntary military service just like the Prussian Realschule 2nd order. Thus it is necessary to make the curricula and accomplishments as far as possible comparable to the Prussian Realschule18. (MadB July 1868)

34This led to a significant development in the sequence of languages; French and English changed places at the Bremen Bürgerschule in 1869, making French the first foreign language at a school that had so clearly justified the importance of English until then. As mentioned earlier, other schools such as the Debbe-Realschule then needed to defend their choice of English as a first foreign language.

4. Methodological repercussions

35Given the different features of the languages and the cultures that they mediate, it is very likely that a focus on one of the two languages, English or French, must have had methodological repercussions. Two aspects seem to be worth focusing on. Firstly, the role of communication – which had its first heyday after Wilhelm Viëtor’s 1882 Der Sprachunterricht muß umkehren! – had clearly already been an important aspect in foreign language teaching (although mostly outside of grammar schools). The second aspect is the use of grammar, for example in the predominant 19th century grammar-translation methods.

36When the Bremen Bürgerschule introduced English as the first foreign language in 1855, it laid a strong focus on productive skills and monolingual classrooms in which the teachers had to be fluent in the language taught:

[…] the school has always taken care to employ teachers who, along with a theoretical knowledge of the language, have acquired the very same practically by spending several years abroad.

  • 1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[…] die Schule hat sich immer Lehrkräfte zu erwerben gewußt, die b (...)

[…] Already three years before graduation the pupils are so advanced, that English is the vernacular of communication with the teacher”1. (MadB February 1864)

  • 2 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Außer der Mittheilung geographischer Kenntnisse, soll nämlich an d (...)

37Grammar was given a secondary or ancillary role, and literature was spoken and written about in English. In addition, geography and history were partly taught in English as a substitute for conversation exercises. The advantage was seen in the more challenging and interesting content of the subjects: “Apart from the teaching of geographical knowledge, the exchange of ideas in English – orally and in writing – is to be practised in this subject. Of course these lessons are exclusively in English”2 (MadB August 1866).

38When the sequence of languages at the Bürgerschule was changed and French became the first foreign language in 1869 (see above), there were major methodological repercussions: Grammar and translation came back into focus as French was partly seen as a substitute for Latin (see above); the French language was not taught mainly for communication but for formal education. Even though the communicative approach was not totally discarded, the older methodology celebrated its comeback:

  • 3 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Denn wenn auch die Vortrefflichkeit der mit den bis dahin gebrauch (...)

Although the excellent results concerning practical skills in English achieved with the means of teaching hitherto could not be denied, then again a more intensive and precise knowledge of grammar of both languages [English and French] had to be insisted upon3. (MadB April 1870)

  • 4 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[Etwas], das uns bei der früher verfolgten Lehrweise oft fehlte, [ (...)

39What was claimed to be missing was translation from German into the foreign language: “[Something] that was often missing in our former manner of teaching [was] sufficient tuition in the translation from the mother tongue into the foreign language”4 (ibid.). From a modern point of view, this turnaround is more than surprising, particularly because the Bremen Bürgerschule’s communicative approach seems so aligned with modern CLIL-curricula. Whether this is really true cannot strictly be deduced from the sources, as they only show the teaching design, not the “procedure” (Richards & Rogers 2001: 31-32). Nevertheless, changing fashions in what was regarded as a sensible way of teaching modern foreign languages (and the order in which they should be taught) become apparent.

5. Conclusion

40The sources used here – mainly school programmes and the monthly “notices” from the Bremen Bürgerschule – enable us to gain an insight into the approaches and designs of 19th-century foreign language teaching. However, they do not provide a clear picture of how the lessons themselves might have been implemented. In addition, it is difficult to judge whether the reasons for pedagogical decisions had legitimate justifications, or were merely advertisements for the schools.

41However, at least the contemporary discussion can be deduced from the sources. From these it is clear that there was a struggle between McArthur’s monastery and marketplace traditions – here broadly represented through French and English – and an accompanying skirmish between grammar-translation and more communicative methods, long before Viëtor’s cry for a turnaround in foreign language teaching.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Primary Sources

HEINRICHSEN, G. C. (1874). “Ueber die Bevorzugung des Englischen an unserer Schule”. In Programm 6 der Realschule C.W. Debbe zu Bremen, 1-8.

ENGELS, Friedrich (1841). “Eine Fahrt nach Bremerhaven”. In Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser, 17. bis 21. August 1841.

HEGEL, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (2006 [11809]). “Rede vom 29. September 1809”. In Gesammelte Werke, vol. 10,1: Nürnberger Gymnasialkurse und Gymnasialreden (1808-1816). Ed. by Klaus Grotsch. Hamburg: Meiner, 455-465.

[MadB 1861-1878:] An das Elternhaus. Mittheilungen aus der Bürgerschule und Töchterbürgerschule (und deren Vorbereitungs-schulen). Herausgegeben unter Verantwortlichkeit des Vorstehers der Bürgerschule. Staatsarchiv Bremen, Za-231.

VIËTOR, Wilhelm (21886 [11882]). Der Sprachunterricht muss umkehren! Heilbronn: Henninger. Reprint in Werner Hüllen (ed.). Didaktik des Englischunterrichts, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1979, 9-31.

WEIDNER, G. (1894). “Englisch als erste Fremdsprache der Realschule”. In Programm der Stiftungsschule von 1815 (Realschule) zu Hamburg, Zeughausmarkt 32, 1-19.

WOLF, Friedrich August (1807 [1986]). Darstellung der Altertumswissenschaft nach Begriff, Umfang, Zweck und Wert. Berlin: Realschulbuchhandlung. Reprint Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.

Secondary Sources

HÜLLEN, Werner (2005). Kleine Geschichte des Fremdsprachenler­nens. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.

KLIPPEL, Friederike (1994). Englischlernen im 18. Und 19. Jahrhundert. Die Geschichte der Lehrbücher und Unterrichts­methoden. Münster: Nodus.

McARTHUR, Tom (1998). Living words. Language, lexicography, and the knowledge revolution. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.

RICHARDS, Jack C. & ROGERS, Theodore S. (22001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SCHWARZWÄLDER, Herbert (1995). Geschichte der Freien Hansestadt Bremen. Vol. 2: Von der Franzosenzeit bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg. 1810 – 1918. Bremen: Edition Temmen.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Der deutsche Kaufmann macht sich eine Ehre daraus, seine Deutschheit wegzuwerfen und ein kompletter Yankeeaffe zu werden. Dieses Zwittergeschöpf ist glücklich, wenn man ihm den Deutschen nicht mehr anmerkt, spricht englisch auch mit seinen Landsleuten, und wenn er wieder nach Deutschland kommt, spielt er erst recht den Yankee. Man hört oft in den Straßen Bremens englisch sprechen, aber man würde sich sehr irren, wenn man jeden, der englisch spricht, für einen Briten oder Yankee halten wollte; [...]”

1 The volumes provide continuous page numbers which do not match the original pagination. Thus the articles cited here are referred ti by the month and year they were published.

2 The scheme by Richards and Rogers (2001) introduced here is an adaption of an older model by the American applied linguist Edward Anthony from 1963. Approach “refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning” (20), “design is the level of method analysis” (24) which includes e.g. objectives and the syllabus whereas procedure “encompasses the actual [...] techniques, practices, and behaviors” (31). Klippel (1994: 22-28) employed the same scheme productively for her analysis of 19th century course books and teaching methods.

1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die englische Sprache hat für Bremen, einen Handelsplatz, der hauptsächlich nach Amerika und England hin Verbindungen hat, eine zu große Bedeutung, als daß nicht auch unsere Bürgerschule bei der Ausarbeitung des Schulplanes hätte darauf Rücksicht nehmen sollen.”

2 Even today, the so-called Franzosenzeit, the “Frenchmen’s time” is commemorated ambiguously in Bremen, although the French modernizing influence on the infrastructure and administration was considerable for Napoleon’s bonne ville Bremen, which was the French administrative centre for the north-west of Germany (Schwarzwälder 1995: 14-15).

3 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Daß aber das Englische, besonders in seiner Formenlehre, ganz unverhältnismäßig leichter ist als das Französische, darüber ist nie ein Zweifel gewesen.”

4 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Was die Aussprache des Französischen anbelangt, so haben unsere Schüler weniger als in Mittel- und Süddeutschland mit der Articulation der Laute zu kämpfen; einfach deshalb, weil man in Norddeutschland schon in der eigenen Sprache besser articulirt. […].”

5 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Eins unterscheidet sie [die englische Sprache] sehr vorteilhaft von dem Französischen, das ist das Fehlen der Accente, die unseren kleinen Franzosen so viele Kopfschmerzen bereiten.”

6 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Jedenfalls wird der norddeutsche, viel Plattdeutsch sprechende Schüler den Elementarunterricht leichter im Englischen als im Französischen bewältigen, und wir haben für das entsprechende Alter allen Grund, es dem Schüler noch leichter zu machen.”

7 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Wenn sich hie und da bei unsern Schülern wohl eine Vorliebe für das Englische zeigt, so hat dies gewiß darin seinen Grund, daß unsere Schüler, die im häuslichen Kreise mehr oder weniger plattdeutsch sprechen, beim Erlernen des Englischen mehr angeheimelt werden.”

8 Transl. TG. The original reads: “ Die Sprachen, die ersten Kunstschöpfungen des menschliches Geistes, enthalten den ganzen Vorrath von allgemeinen Ideen und Formen unseres Denkens, welche bei fortschreitender Cultur der Völker sind gewonnen und ausgebildet worden [...].”

9 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die französische Sprache, als Tochter der lateinischen, hat in der That noch einige der wesentlichen Vorzüge der letztern aufzuweisen, die wir im sprachlichen Unterrichte uns zu Nutze machen müssen, die aber der englischen fehlen”.

10 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[…] es kommt uns hier nur auf den Bildungswerth der Sprache an, und da wäre es thöricht, die Vortrefflichkeit der französischen Sprache unter den neueren anzufechten”.

11 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Ist aber das Englische zu leicht, ist es nicht im Stande, die geistige Kraft des Schülers genügend in Anspruch zu nehmen […]. Wir sind nicht der Ansicht, daß das Englische zu leicht ist”.

12 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Der Verfasser hat nur dartun wollen, daß für die Stufen Sexta und Quinta die englische Grammatik hinreicht, dem Realschüler die nöthige geistige Nahrung und Uebung zu gewähren, und dadurch die Kraft, die für den Fortschritt der folgenden Classen nothwendig ist”.

13 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Den edelsten Nahrungs-Stoff nun, und in der edelsten Form, die goldenen Apfel [sic] in silbernen Schaalen [sic], enthalten die Werke der Alten, und unvergleichbar mehr, als jede andern Werke irgendeiner Zeit und Nation”.

14 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Dieser Reichthum aber ist an die Sprache gebunden, und nur durch und in dieser erreichen wir ihn in seiner ganzen Eigenthümlichkeit”.

15 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[Niemand wird] mehr die hohe Bedeutung, die geistige Tiefe, die undenkliche Mannigfaltigkeit der englischen Literatur bezweifeln. […] Die englische Literatur bietet uns auf jeder Stufe und auf allen Gebieten reichen Stoff von den einfachsten Erzählungen bis zu der geistigen Größe eines Shakespeare, Milton, Byron etc. – Wir wollen den Werth der französischen Literatur durchaus nicht unterschätzen; wir wollen gern anerkennen, daß sie ihre goldene Zeit gehabt hat und Werke aufzuweisen hat, die beständig ein Ruhm der Nation waren; – die Reichhaltigkeit der englischen erreicht sie dennoch nicht”.

16 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Die Provinzialschulkollegien sind ermächtigt, in allen Realanstalten die für das Französische und Englische angesetzten Stunden gegen einander vertauschen zu lassen, vorausgesetzt, daß eine derartige Abweichung durch die Lage des Schulorts und seine Verkehrsverhältnisse gerechtfertigt erscheint”.

17 The question “Have you served?” may serve as a symbol here for the enormous prestige the army and especially the Prussian officer had gained around the turn of the century.

18 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Durch Senatsbeschluß vom 16. Juni ist der bisherigen Bürgerschule die Bezeichnung ‚Realschule‘ beigelegt worden. Da die Anstalt künftig die Berechtigung zur Ausstellung von Schulzeugnissen für den einjährigen Freiwilligendienst im Heere in dem Maße, wie die preußischen Realschulen 2r Ordnung, erhalten soll, so macht es sich notwendig, daß sie in dem Lehrplane und ihren Leistungen den preußischen Realschulen in so weit gleichzukommen sich bestrebt, als es […] möglich sein wird”.

1 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[…] die Schule hat sich immer Lehrkräfte zu erwerben gewußt, die bei einer theoretischen Kenntnis der Sprache, sich dieselbe durch mehrjährigen Aufenthalt im Auslande auch praktisch angeeignet haben.

[…] Schon in Klasse III. sind die Schüler so weit gefördert, daß […] das Englische als Umgangssprache mit dem Lehrer […] auftritt”.

2 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Außer der Mittheilung geographischer Kenntnisse, soll nämlich an diesem Unterrichtsstoffe der mündliche und schriftliche Gedankenaustausch im Englischen geübt werden. Es ist darum wohl selbstverständlich, daß dieser Unterricht ganz in englischer Sprache ertheilt wird […]”.

3 Transl. TG. The original reads: “Denn wenn auch die Vortrefflichkeit der mit den bis dahin gebrauchten Lehrmitteln erzielten Resultate in Bezug auf praktische Fertigkeiten im Englischen nicht zu leugnen war, so mußte doch andrerseits auf eine mehr eingehende und genaue Kenntniß der Grammatik beider Sprachen [Englisch und Französisch] gedrungen werden”.

4 Transl. TG. The original reads: “[Etwas], das uns bei der früher verfolgten Lehrweise oft fehlte, [war] nämlich genügende Anleitung zur Uebersetzung aus der Muttersprache in die fremde”.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Documents pour l’histoire du français langue étrangère et seconde, décembre 2014, n°53

Référence électronique

Tim Giesler, « School Languages between Economy and Politics: The Foreign Language Curriculum in Northern German Schools (1850-1900) », Documents pour l’histoire du français langue étrangère ou seconde [En ligne], 53 | 2014, mis en ligne le 06 septembre 2017, consulté le 21 juin 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/dhfles/4062

Haut de page

Auteur

Tim Giesler

Universität Bremen, Germany
giesler@uni-bremen.de

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

© SIHFLES

Haut de page
  • Logo SIHFLES
  • OpenEdition Journals