The First Two Years of German Language
The Beginning German sequence at Northwestern University applies a proficiency-oriented framework to language instruction and assessment. Students work with the E-textbook Kontakte, and its accompanying online workbook and testing program Connect. During class, students will engage in exercises that practice the four modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) to communicate meaningfully and effectively in German. Emphasis is placed on using the target language appropriately and creatively for real-life purposes.
Students beginning German at Northwestern University will find an engaging and supportive classroom environment that encourages collaboration and respects diverse learning styles. The courses lay the foundation for continued language development in German and opportunities to study abroad. By the end of the course sequence, students will be prepared to advance to the Intermediate level of language instruction.
Students can begin their study of German during any quarter. The traditional sequence of 101-1,2,3 runs fall, winter, and spring. An intensive course begins winter quarter with 101-1 and finishes in spring with two units, 101-2 and 101-3. A third option allows students to begin German 101-1 during spring quarter with a special focus on music.
Key features of the curriculum in Beginning German include:
- Students bring language to life through partner and small group work
- Students practice pronunciation using NU developed DiLL software
- Literary traditions are taught via text and interactive stations during Goethe days
- Students test their journalism skills by interviewing native speakers in the “Mystery Guest” event
- Theater comes to the classroom in the actors workshop
- Talents are showcased in spring at the annual Evening O’Skits
The three-quarter Intermediate German sequence has several major goals. Students continue to develop proficiency in German language skills using a variety of spoken and written materials. They also gain insight into German culture including Germany and its place in Europe in the past and today. Since history is a critical part of German identity, our examination of German society includes study of the Weimar democratic republic, the Nazi regime, and divided and reunified Germany.
By the end of the academic year, students will be able to handle a variety of communicative tasks in straightforward social situations, including predictable and concrete exchanges necessary for functioning abroad. Once students complete the Intermediate German sequence, they are ready to go and experience life in German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland). Students who successfully complete Intermediate German will be prepared to discover more about German culture, language, and thought in the department’s various 200-level courses.
Starting in fall 2022 we are working with the new Impulse Deutsch 2 printed textbook (Machen) and online workbook (Lernen + Zeigen). We will also continue to work with a variety of original materials, including music, literature, and films.
Some key features of the curriculum include:
- Conversations with native speakers;
- Watching German films with or without English or German subtitles;
- Reading excerpts from German literature;
- Individual and group research and presentations;
- the annual Evening O’Skits.