By Priscilla Layne, assistant professor of German in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences
When people hear I’m a German professor, they ask me two questions: Do I have German relatives? Was I a military brat? The answer to both is “no.” People frequently assume that if an American decides to learn German, this must be for familial, functional or professional reasons. I began learning German as a 10-year-old living on the North Side of Chicago because I wanted to understand Indiana Jones! I wanted to know what Indiana Jones was saying when he cleverly disguised himself as a Nazi to infiltrate his enemies. Indiana Jones was my hero. I wanted to become an archaeologist, just like him. And I wanted to be fluent in several languages and cultures, just like him.
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