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Online course materials for GERM20100

German Language Skills for Ex-beginners

Unit code: GERM20100
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 2
Teaching period(s): Full year
Offered by German Studies
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

GERM20100 Pre-Requisite


This course unit builds on the German language skills acquired in Year 1 and helps students improve further in all four major skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) as well as in grammar competence and vocabulary range.


This core language course unit fosters essential language skills and is delivered in three sessions per week: Grammar and Translation, Sprachpraktische Übung and Landeskunde (see below for details). All of these sessions are taught in German, as far as possible. Classes are complemented by an independent language learning programme, involving reading, writing, speaking and listening activities, as well as vocabulary and grammar work. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own learning and to improve their language learning skills with the help and support provided by their tutors.


This Course is taught through 3 connected course units GERM20100 (20 credits), GERM20120 (0 credits) and GERM20130 (0 credits).

1) GERM20120 (0 Credits) GRAMMAR AND TRANSLATION (seminar: one hour per week)

This part of the course unit is intended to develop competence in written German (writing and reading skills) by focussing on translation skills (English-German and German-English) and consolidating command of a range of grammatical structures.

2) GERM20100 (20 credits) SPRACHPRAKTISCHE ÜBUNG (tutorial: one hour per week)

This element of the course unit, taught by members of staff who are native speakers of German, fosters both oral and written skills. Thematically based material, treating aspects of contemporary German life, provides the background for assignments, which include essay and summary writing as well as giving at least one oral presentation.

Students of a Modern Language and Business and Management will be allocated to one or more groups where the thematic focus is on business and management issues (rather than contemporary German life), although the skills acquired will be the same for all students.

3) GERM20130 (0 credits) LANDESKUNDE I (lecture: one hour per week)

This series of lectures provides basic information about Germany and one other German-speaking country/region (physical and human geography, political system, media, history, arts, and education system), using a range of teaching media (e.g. videos, slides, OHTs, handouts).

Teaching and learning methods

Three 1-hour sessions per week

Language of teaching: Predominantly German, but English is used where appropriate

eLearning: There is an extensive Blackboard site associated with this course unit, providing, among other things, additional resources for students’ independent language learning, which should be accessed on a regular basis.



Convenor: Dr Wiebke Brockhaus-Grand

Taught by:

Eva Adelseck

Dr Wiebke Brockhaus-Grand

Thomas Despositos


1) Grammar/Translation:  various
2) Sprachpraktische Übung:  various

3) Landeskunde

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will have reached level B2 of the Common European Framework and will be able to:

  • demonstrate mastery of the grammar topics covered (valency and cases, noun genders and plurals, adjective declensions, determiners and pronouns, verb forms, prepositions, modal auxiliaries, Subjunctive II)
  • demonstrate competence in translating from German into English, with some understanding of stylistic considerations
  • show basic insight into the particular difficulties of translating from English into German
  • understand extended speech, TV news and current affairs programmes as well as the majority of films
  • read and analyse articles and reports concerned with contemporary issues (related to business and management in the case of MLBM students)
  • speak with a good degree of fluency and spontaneity, and take an active part in discussion covering a range of contexts (e.g. environmental issues, leisure and travel, relationships and family life, diet and health, and Germany since reunification)
  • orally present clear descriptions on a range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options
  • write clear text (including short essays and summaries) on a range of subjects, giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view
  • give a broad description of aspects of two German-speaking countries / regions, with reference to physical and human geography, political systems, history, arts, and education
  • assess their own language learning needs, develop and follow strategies for addressing these needs, and evaluate and further refine these strategies
  • produce word-processed text in German

Assessment Further Information

1) 2-hour written examination at the end of Semester 2, comprising:
i) Translation from German into English (25%)
ii) Summary (140-160 words) in German of a longer German text (25%)

2) Oral examination at the end of Semester 2, lasting about 10 minutes, conducted by two members of staff in German Studies. Students will have the opportunity to choose a topic from a list and will be given 15 minutes to read and reflect on a short text on that topic. They will then be asked to read aloud from the text, to answer questions about it and to discuss the subject with the examiners. The topics will be related to the material that has been covered in the Sprachpraktische Übung during the year and students will be permitted to use their own dictionary during the preparation time. (25%)

3) Two 90-minute invigilated coursework assignments (25%), one in the final teaching week of each semester (12.5% each), consisting of an essay in German of 300-330 words, dealing with the material covered in the Landeskunde lectures. Essay titles will be made available in Week 3 of each semester (via Blackboard), so that students can research their chosen topic and plan their essay in advance of the actual assignment session (which will take place in Week 12 of Semester 1 and Week 11 of Semester 2). Candidates will be allowed to use their own dictionary (Collins or equivalent).

Languages of assessment: German and English

Recommended reading

Preliminary reading

Set texts: 
Collins German Dictionary, 8th edn. 2013. Glasgow: HarperCollins. 
Durrell, Martin, Katrin Kohl, Claudia Kaiser & Gudrun Loftus. 2015. Essential German Grammar. 2nd edn. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Further reading: 
Donald, Sidney G. & Pauline E. Kneale. 2001. Study skills for language students: a practical guide. London: Arnold; Durrell, Martin. 2011. Hammer's German Grammar and Usage. 5th edn. London: Arnold; Durrell, Martin, Katrin Kohl and Gudrun Loftus. 2011. Practising German Grammar: A Workbook. 3rd edn. London: Arnold; Fernández-Toro, María & Francis R. Jones. 2001. DIY techniques for language learners. London: Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research; Langenscheidt Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache, Neubearbeitung. 2010. Berlin: Langenscheidt; Wahrig-Burfeind, Renate (ed.). 2007. WAHRIG Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. Aktualisierte Neuausgabe. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. 


German language

Feedback methods

Nature and timing of feedback:

Details of the extensive range of feedback opportunities available to students can be found on the GERM10210/GERM20100 Blackboard site.

Study hours

  • Seminars - 69 hours
  • Independent study hours - 131 hours

Teaching staff

Wiebke Brockhaus-Grand - Unit coordinator

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