Fairy Tales and Foreign Languages: Ever the Twain Shall Meet


  • James C. Davidheiser

    1. University of the South
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 2

      James C. Davidheiser (PhD, University of Pittsburgh) is Professor and Chair of the German Department at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.


Fairy tales are certainly not new to foreign language instructors, but on occasion they have been considered either exoteric or unworthy of class time. Yet today there is a resurgence of interest in fairy tales and a rebirth of their use in the arts, which may serve foreign language instructors. This article presents historical background to inform instructors of the origin and development of European fairy tales, while also providing them with necessary information to answer students' questions on fairy tales. It further describes how the author weaves fairy tales into classes on several levels and illustrates how well the tales lend themselves to the learning of other languages and cultures. Course details offer instructors some essentials that may prove beneficial in designing their own courses.