GERMAN 231 - Second-Year Course
Section: 101
Term: SP 2008
Subject: German (GERMAN)
Department: LSA Germanic Languages & Literatures
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GERMAN 230 or 221.
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
GERMAN 102 or 103 and assignment by placement test.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

By this point in your career as a German student, you're ready to do some really interesting, fun and challenging things. In this course, you will watch 5 feature films (including Good Bye Lenin!) and one set of video interviews online, and see numerous other DVD/video clips in class. You will read some short texts and two short novels edited for language learners. The first is based on a popular movie about growing up and falling in love in former East Germany shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The second is Kafka's Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), in which Gregor Samsa awakes one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed in his bed into an enormous bug, and wonders how he's going to get to work on time. The course pack will provide you with extensive explanatory notes and vocabulary glosses in order to help you to enjoy these two books, and to read them at a reasonable speed. Several class sessions will take place in the computer lab, where you will have an opportunity to listen to some German popular music, look at some art by German-speaking artists, learn about the geography of the German-speaking countries, take (part of) a test that has been proposed as a requirement for immigrants seeking German citizenship, and to inform yourself about the Holocaust.

You will review and extend the grammatical knowledge with which you entered the course by means of an online grammar consisting of summaries, explanations, lots of examples, practice exercises and "diagnostic exercises"; we've done our best to make learning grammar fun and interesting for you by our choice of exercises and examples.

You will have six opportunities in the first month of the course to pass a "Gateway Vocabulary Test" on a list of slightly less than 600 of the most common German words and phrases, most of which you will already have encountered. This will provide you with a solid vocabulary base which will make everything else you do with German easier for you. You need a score of 70% to pass this multiple choice test; once you pass it, you need not take it again. If you do not manage to pass this test by the last scheduled time, your final course grade will be reduced by one grade notch, i.e., an A would become an A-, an A- would become a B+ etc. Six additional, much shorter vocabulary lists later in the course will help you to further extend your vocabulary. We are working on projects that would allow you to listen to this vocabulary against a fun musical background, and to practice the vocabulary online using simulated flashcards; we hope you will enjoy these when they are ready! To help you study for the test, an identical version of the test will be available for you to take online as often as you wish. The test consists of a large item bank, of which you will see 40 items each time the test loads.

The feature films, DVD and video clips, readings and other course materials will cover a variety of fields and themes ranging from popular culture, contemporary social issues and history to classical music, art, and literature. By the end of the course, you should be able to survive without using English in a German-speaking country, and have enough conversational skills to meet people and enjoy yourself. You should be comfortable surfing the web in German, able to read and write independently about short texts covering a wide range of topics, and you should be quite familiar with all the basics of German grammar, so that you will be able to pursue your own specific interests in GERMAN 232 and beyond.

Course requirements include daily homework assignments (reading, writing, learning vocabulary, practicing grammar, watching movies, etc.), regular attendance and participation, tests (including two informal oral tests), quizzes, and the Gateway Vocabulary Test. Instead of a final examination, students will work in groups to produce short videos, which will be screened on the last day of classes. A $200 prize is awarded each semester for the best final video in GERMAN 221/231.

Required Texts:

  • Thomas Brussig: Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee — Easy Reader Series, ISBN: 3126756891 Note: You will need this specific edited version
  • Franz Kafka [edited by Achim Seiffarth]: Die Verwandlung, [Book & CD], ISBN: 88-7754-808-8 Note: You will need this specific edited version
  • Coursepack (CP) (Available at Excel; 1117 South University; 996-1500)

Recommended Grammar Text

All the grammar you are required to know is in the coursepack and on the web, but this book is an excellent reference:

  • Rankin/Wells. Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik (grammar text), 4th Edition (G)

Recommended Texts for "Language Learning Journals"

Please wait for information in class on the "Language Learning Journal" before you decide if you want to buy one of these.

  • Hans Peter Richter: Damals war es Friedrich ISBN: 3423078006
  • Adalbert von Chamisso: Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte [Lesen leicht gemacht Series] ISBN: 3125592208
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen
  • C.R. Goedsche: Cultural Graded Reader: Heine ISBN: 0442220383 Unfortunately, this text has been out of print for some time ==> we cannot order copies for the bookstores. If you are interested in it, you should be able to find a used copy online, e.g. via!

Other Recommended Texts

  • Webster's New World German Dictionary, Concise Edition ($14, orange; conventional dictionary with >100,000 entries)
  • Harper Collins Beginner's German Dictionary, 2nd ed. 10,000 (??) entries, lots of helpful usage examples, especially easy to read and use.
  • PONS Basiswörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Green German-German dictionary. 8,000 entries + 1,500 idioms and much more usage information than a regular dictionary)
  • Zorach & Melin: English Grammar for Students of German, 4th ed.
  • Brown: A Practical Guide to Language Learning

GERMAN 231 - Second-Year Course
Schedule Listing
101 (REC)
MTuWTh 10:00AM - 12:00PM
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