Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Ciao Italia! Germany’s other migrant influx

“More than a million refugees and migrants from war-torn regions of the Middle East and Africa came to Germany in 2015. It was the news story of the year. But at the same time Germany has been quietly undergoing a radical transformation with another influx of people from closer to home.

In my neighbourhood of former communist east Berlin there’s an Italian deli with the best ciabattas in town. Glamorous young Italian waiters from the Italian restaurant opposite run across the road for occasional emergency supplies of pecorino or parmesan, shouting extravagantly “buongiorno” to their German neighbours.

On the same street, there’s also a stylish Catalan restaurant, round the corner at least three other Italian eateries and on the next block a Spanish restaurant which holds regular Flamenco workshops.

Welcome to the new Germany. Until a few years ago our local cafes were more about wurst and sauerkraut than pizza and pasta.

But in 2009 the eurozone debt crisis hit, bringing Southern European economies to their knees and pushing a new generation of young Greeks, Italians and Spaniards to the richer North to find work – changing the face, and the food, of Germany.

There are more foreigners living in Germany today than at any time in the country’s history. One in 10, or some 8.2 million people in Germany, are non-German. Many of them are young, educated graduates from crisis-rocked Southern Europe.

Of these, some 400,000 from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are employed taxpayers in Germany. Many more are freelancers, students or self-employed workers.”

Read more @ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35131925

Languages do matter!

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