THE GERMAN LANGUAGE PROGRAM

We offer 3 years of German language study: 1st year elementary German (1-3); 2nd year intermediate German (4-6); and 3rd year advanced German conversation and composition (152, 153, 155, 157) as well as Business German (154). 1st year elementary German is also offered as an intensive course during each summer. Language courses at all levels are offered in our German Summer Travel Study Program. Two linguistics courses (140, 141) complete our advanced study of German by focusing on improving language skills while also introducting modern linguistic theory.

We offer a wide range of courses in German linguistics, literature, culture, philosophy, film, and current affairs in German and in English. For current course offerings please go to Courses on the main menu.

Students who have completed two years of German (1-6) and would like to continue are advised to take at least one (preferably more) of the 3rd year German conversation and composition courses (152, 153) before taking more advanced topics courses in literature, culture, and philosophy that are taught in German. Two of our courses (155, 157) serve as a transition form an advanced study of language to advanced topics courses in German. All courses above 150-level are taught in German.

1st Year Curriculum (German 1-3)

The goal in 1st year German language study is to become proficient in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing within a lively, interactive, and stimulating yet relaxed classroom atmosphere. It is expected that students acquire enough German in order to be able to function and communicate on a basic level in a German-speaking country, as well as to gain an insight into German culture. This serves as a good foundation either for further study in German language, linguistics, literature, and culture, or for future career purposes. In addition, students will be exposed to various perspectives on the cultures of German-speaking people and encouraged to link their observations with their own culture and personal lives. In addition, this course will provide students with the opportunity to develop information and media competence in German as well as expand critical thinking and interpretive skills in the context of German culture.

Objectives for the First Year (3 quarters) Language Learning Sequence

  • Linguistic proficiency in all four language skills (speaking, writing, listening, and reading) and communicative competence at the intermediate level 

  • Cultural literacy (cultural competence in the target culture(s); cross-cultural awareness; and recognition of the dynamic relationship between language, culture, and meaning) at the intermediate level

  • Information and media competence in the target language (the ability to locate and evaluate a range or resources, to connect to various language communities, and to access different cultural perspectives) at the basic level

  • Critical thinking and interpretive skills (the ability to interpret a number of short texts and artifacts of the target culture; awareness of diverse ways of creating and interpreting meaning; and reflection on students’ own culturally-determined perspectives, assumptions, and values)

  • Life-long learning (development of successful language learning strategies; reflection on students’ own language use and communication strategies; preparation for further study of language for personal, professional, and academic purposes; gaining access to resources for educational programs and internships abroad)

2nd Year Curriculum (German 4-6)

The 2nd year German course focuses on literature and cultural literacy alongside a broadening of vocabulary, a development of oral, listening, and written competence, as well as grammatical accuracy. The courses expand and refine the skills and knowledge acquired during the first three quarters of college German. Students will develop a broad understanding of the German cultural context by exploring a wide range of themes related to German politics, pop culture, history, music, film, and science. Based on the textbook Denk mal!, each course unit focuses on a city or region in the German-speaking world and combines engaging cultural topics and contextualized grammar. In addition, students will gain a historical perspective on the culture of the German-speaking world and learn to interpret, analyze, and critically evaluate a variety of texts.

Objectives for the Second Year (3 quarters) Language Learning Sequence

  • Linguistic proficiency in all four language skills (speaking, writing, listening, and reading) and communicative competence at the advanced level 

  • Cultural literacy (cultural competence in the target culture(s); cross-cultural awareness; and recognition of the dynamic relationship between language, culture, and meaning) at the advanced level

  • Information and media competence in the target language (the ability to locate and evaluate a range or resources, to connect to various language communities, and to access different cultural perspectives) at the intermediate level

  • Critical thinking and interpretive skills (the ability to interpret a number of short texts and artifacts of the target culture; awareness of diverse ways of creating and interpreting meaning; and reflection on students’ own culturally-determined perspectives, assumptions, and values)

  • Life-long learning (reflection on students’ own language use and communication strategies; preparation for advanced study of language for personal, professional, and academic purposes; gaining access to resources for educational programs and internships abroad)

Further study of German (3rd year language courses)

In the third year (152, 153, 155, 157), current affairs juxtaposed with German cultural history provide the basis for conversation and composition in a genre-approach to more complex writing skills, idiomatic expression, interpretation, analysis, and criticism. The first two in the series (152, 153) are requirements for majors and minors of German and are designed to prepare students for a variety of goals besides preparation for advanced literature courses taught in German (150-level and above). German 152 and 153 are based on current news broadcasts, short documentaries, and talk-shows on relevant cultural, political, and social topics as well as on newspaper articles, and literary texts.

German 155 and 157 are content courses that also incorporate elements of advanced language study. German 155 is based on a large selection of autobiographical texts that are representative of the political and cultural life in Germany in the 20th century. German 157 serves as an introduction to contemporary German cinema.

We also offer a course in Business German (154) that serves as an introduction to German economic reality, system, and policies in the 21st century and incorporates up-to-date information and terminology. In addition, students learn to navigate German job market, create resumes and letters of application, and prepare for an interview.

The two linguistics courses (140, 141) combine advanced language study and modern linguistics theory. Students explore the difference between standard language, colloquial language and dialect; investigate the speech act in various situations, the sounds and sound patterns of modern standard German, the inflections and formations of German words, word and sentence types , the grammatical categories, and the relationship between words in sentences. Topics vary from year to year and might include the sociolinguistics of German, the morphology, syntax and lexicon of German, or the history of German (and Germanic).

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