German Studies first year modules

Module details

Beginners level

For those students taking 60 credits of beginners German:

  • Intensive ab initio German
  • German History and its Images

For those students taking 40 credits of beginners German:

  • Intensive ab initio German

Advanced level

For those students taking 80 credits of advanced German:

  • Practical German Language
  • Outlines of German Literature: Texts in Context

Two modules from:

  • German Linguistics Past and Present
  • Modern Germany: History and its Images
  • Politik und Wirtschaft

For those students taking 60 credits of advanced German:

  • Practical German Language
  • Outlines of German Literature: Texts in Context

One module from:

  • German Linguistics Past and Present
  • Modern Germany: History and its Images

For those students taking 40 credits of advanced German:

  • Practical German Language

One module from:

  • Outlines of German Literature: Texts in Context
  • German Linguistics Past and Present
  • Modern Germany: History and its Images

Module descriptions

Intensive ab initio German

The course is aimed at absolute beginners or near beginners in German. It will introduce students to the main grammatical structures and functions of the language through classroom exercises reinforced by private study. Students will become sufficiently proficient in a wide range of common (predictable) situations and functions. Practical language classes will focus on productive and receptive skills helping students to achieve effective communicative competence up to ‘survival’ level. Aspects of modern Germany will be introduced in the target language at appropriate points. The course will also help students to develop strategies for coping with German in real-life situations, using a variety of materials: semi authentic texts, dialogues and simulated radio & TV programmes. Students will be given the opportunity to work in a group as well as individually. Strategies for independent learning will also be developed. Support of independent learning is provided with the help of extensive WebCT material.

Practical German Language

The module consists of four separate strands. The first of these strands, ‘Grammatik und Übungen’ is taught as a one-hour class per week throughout the academic year. It is taught mainly in English and deals systematically with some of the main areas of German grammar and usage with which post-A level learners have difficulty (e.g. problems in the use of cases and tenses, adjectives and their endings, prepositions, passives, subjunctives, word order): texts of formal grammatical explanation are used, together with printed and computer-based exercise material. The second strand, ‘Sprachpraxis’, is conducted mainly in German and seeks to offer vocabulary building work, training in commentary and textual analysis, oral and written comprehension and pronunciation practice. The third strand of the module is ‘mündliche und schriftliche Textarbeit’ (one hour-long class per week in Semester 1 only) and is taught exclusively in German. It introduces students to methods of systematic text-reading and text-analysis, as well as providing training in other essential study skills. The fourth strand, ‘Introduction to Language Studies’ (one hour-long lecture in Semester 2 only) introduces basic grammatical concepts from German and English and concentrates on particular areas such as the acquisition of vocabulary, awareness of register, using the subjunctive and the passive, and reading German texts.

Outlines of German Literature: Texts in Context

Over the two semesters of this linked module, we will cover a selection of literary texts in German from the nineteenth and twentieth century. The first semester will normally deal with shorter texts from the post-1945 period, whilst the second semester will introduce some longer texts, including one or more texts written before 1945. Texts will be drawn from a variety of genres. Classes will discuss not only the content of the set texts, but also the techniques required in order to analyse literary texts.

German Linguistics Past and Present

The module consists of two components, each taught in one semester: ‘German Linguistics Past’ and ‘German Linguistics Present’:

  • German Linguistics Past: This component will trace the development of the German language from its earliest Indo-European Germanic origins up to the end of the Old High German period (circa 1100 AD)
  • German Linguistics Present: This component introduces key concepts of modern linguistics, including corpus linguistics, and the main areas of sociolinguistics, applied to the contemporary German language.

Modern Germany: History and its Images

This lecture/seminar course consisting of a weekly hour-long lecture, hour-long seminars (six per term) and film viewings provides an introduction to modern German history and covers the period from 1945 to the present in Semester 1 and 1815 to 1945 in Semester 2. The course makes extensive use of video material and focuses on selected films for in-depth study.

Politik und Wirtschaft

This is a topic-driven language course, conducted entirely in German, consisting of an hour-long class per week. A range of topics is covered in the areas of German politics and the German economy, with particular emphasis on the interchange between the two. Students will submit written work and make oral presentations on selected topics, in German. Student contributions in class will normally be in German. In working through the course materials, particular emphasis will be placed on developing appropriate language skills.

 

Disclaimer

Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.