GERM-152 Text in Context: Reading Germany
Fall for 2013-2014
This course aims to familiarize students with academic forms of discourse in all modalities, particularly reading, writing, and speaking. It is a required course for German majors and strongly recommended for students who are planning to study abroad or are otherwise interested in using German in a professional environment (e.g., the business world, banking, non-governmental agencies, think tanks). Themes addressed in the course are likely to include some of the following topics: the role of German past in the German society today, the higher education scene in the German-speaking countries, the role of Germany in the European Union, environment protection, issues of migration and identity, political movements, etc.
Students will be guided to attain a level of accuracy, fluency, and complexity in German that should enable them to interact competently and comfortably in private as well as some public settings where they begin to address a range of issues in contemporary German public life. Accordingly, the course places particular emphasis on language use in public settings, referring to various socio-cultural and political issues or addressing how historical events and interpretations shape contemporary sensibilities and policies. Its particular focus is on language use in academic settings, so that students can perform the kinds of tasks that define academic work, in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It emphasizes individual progress since students are likely to have different language and learner profiles and therefore different needs.
Advanced levels of ability in German mean that a non-native user is able to use different discourse styles with their respective register requirements and ways of structuring texts. The course facilitates acquiring that ability level by a focus on public genres, in spoken and in written language (e.g., narratives, reports, journalistic treatments of issues, political speeches, institutional self-representation in catalogues). In each case we will examine the relationship between meaning/content and linguistic forms, from the organization of whole texts all the way down to specific choices in vocabulary and grammar. A variety of individual and group/ partner tasks should enable learners to become aware of the necessary genre conventions and to make the kind of choices that will enable them to present themselves as competent and credible non-native users of German in public settings. Increasing accuracy, fluency, and complexity of language use, along with an expanded vocabulary range, are part of that desired level of ability.
Prerequisites: completion of 102 or 111 or equivalent
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