Anthony Bushell
Today German’s own position as a second language represents something of an enigma. As the largest l...
Download (PDF - 123 kb)   Some fundamentals for teaching and learning German[1] ...
[1] Stephan Jaeger, University of Manitoba Download (PDF - 185kb) Einführung: Interdi...
Das Thema Nationalsozialismus ist Bestandteil des landeskundlichen Deutsch­unterrichts und findet...
Einleitung Ziel dieses Beitrages ist die Darstellung und Vorstellung verschiedener erfolgreic...



Some fundamentals for teaching and learning German


Geschichte im DaF-Unterricht des 21. Jahrhunderts. Interdisziplinäre Formen von ‘Landeskunde’ durch Fiktion, Emotionalisierung und Erinnerung


How (not) to neglect the first language: Considering identities in a multilingual classroom

Action-oriented language teaching – „Ja genau!“


Interlanguage prototypes in L2 learning: Evidence from German

Carlee Arnett

The theory of Cognitive Grammar (CG) can be used to account for a number of syntactic structures in a variety of languages in a way that is useful to L2 students (Clancy & Janda, 2002 for Russian; Achard, 2004 for French, Achard & Niemeyer, 2004; Cadierno, 2004 for Danish, Lam, 2005 for Spanish; Masuda, 2005 for Japanese; Zyzik, 2006 for Spanish). Cognitive Grammar is a usage-based theory that assumes that grammatical structure is almost entirely present at the clausal level. Furthermore, CG assumes that speakers extract the “rules” of a language from the linguistic data they hear; there are no underlying structures or derivations. CG is concerned with providing a representation of language as it is produced and understood as well as the dynamics of this interaction. The usage-based character of CG makes it ideally suited for understanding the language produced by second language learners as well as a rubric for students’ knowledge about grammar.

The use and maintenance of German in Manitoba

Kristin Lovrien-Meuwese & Elisabeth Gsell-Dentsoras

Manitoba is home to many heritage speakers of German with origins in Europe, Mexico, Paraguay, and the former Soviet Union. Many of these German speakers are Russian Mennonites, Hutterites or Russian Germans. According to the 2006 census in Canada, the number of persons in Manitoba naming German as a home language increased to 24,440 in 2006 (Statistics Canada, 2007a) after a sharp decline between 1971 and 1991 from 37,635 speakers to 22,790 (Prokop, 2002, p. 75). The increase in the number of German speakers in Manitoba can be explained through immigration. Recent Canadian Census numbers indicate that Manitoba had overall 5.2% more inhabitants in 2011 than in 2006. Much of that increase is attributed to immigration to communities in southern Manitoba such as Steinbach, Winkler, Morden and Altona. Steinbach in particular has had a 22.2% increase in population, which means about 2,500 more people live in the area now than did prior to 2006 (Kirbyson, 2012). Many of the new immigrants are German-speakers from the former Soviet Republics. "Steinbach's largest immigrant group is composed of German-speaking families from the former Soviet Union, notably Kazakhstan, who had lived in Germany since the fall of communism" (Friesen, 2013). In addition to the Russian-Germans, "... Germans and Kanadier -- returning Mennonites from Mexico and Central and South America -- comprise the bulk of new arrivals" (Silvius, 2005, p. 4). They come to Manitoba because of better job prospects, because they have relatives or friends in the area, and because these German-speakers know they can find German-speaking communities in Manitoba (Friesen, 2013) (Silvius, 2005). With so many German-speakers in Manitoba, one should not be surprised that German is in the top five most common languages spoken by newcomers to Manitoba (Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Immigration Division, 2012).

''Can anyone suggest a good German grammar?'': An analysis of a popular North American German grammar

John L. Plews

In 2004 a colleague posted an inquiry about German grammar textbooks to the electronic mailing list of the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG). She asked,


Outcomes-Based Learning in an Interdisciplinary Humanities Model

Jill Scott

In recent decades, there has been a great deal of debate surrounding outcomes-oriented curriculum development in post-secondary education. The Ontario Council of Universities, for example, has developed a framework for designing and evaluating curricula, University Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UUDLEs), which sets out criteria for learning outcomes, such as knowledge acquisition, methodologies, application, skills development, awareness of limitations, and professional preparation.[1] Understandably, this proposal has been met with skepticism by some faculty, who fear that such quality assurance frameworks erode academic freedom and move toward a managerial style of post-secondary education. This paper will bring the work of Claire Kramsch et al (2007) on bridging the gap between Bildung and Ausbildung into dialogue with outcomes-oriented approaches and inquiry-learning methodologies[2]—which involve the learner as participant and co-researcher—in an effort to stretch the disciplinary frontiers of German Studies. With specific reference to my own learning models in interdisciplinary humanities teaching, I will argue that, when combined with inquiry-learning models, outcomes-based approaches are compatible with and complementary to the aims and values of (multi)culturally complex humanistic education.

Foreign language anxiety reconceptualized: Focusing on the individuality of language learners

Kyle Scholz

Foreign language anxiety (FLA) research has reached a point in which its conceptualization is firmly rooted in place as being a state-specific form of anxiety that is unique to the foreign language (FL) classroom, and which can be studied through the implementation and application of the foreign language classroom anxiety scale (FLCAS), as theorized by Horwitz et al. (1986). Although this research has been instrumental in guiding and expanding the research in second language acquisition (SLA) to its position today, it is my contention that it has not evolved with the monumental shifts in SLA discourse, especially in terms of identity construction. It is my goal therefore to re-visit this concept by presenting a reconceptualization of FLA in the hopes to invigorate discussion and re-examine this complex feeling.


German-English Bilingual Programs in Canada: Transitioning to a Dual Immersion Model?

Roswita Dressler

German-English bilingual programs in Canada are designed to provide English speaking children with the opportunity to learn German as a second language (Alberta Education, 1999). In the past, students in Bilingual Programs were typically third and fourth generation immigrants to Canada with little to no knowledge of German from the home (Wu & Bilash, 2000, p. 8). While there have always been a small number of students who speak German at home, the trend of declining immigration of German speakers to Canada has recently reversed (Statistics Canada, 2008), increasing the number of potential students who may enrol in this program to maintain and develop their home language while acquiring or improving English. Researchers (Escamilla & Hopewell, 2009; Grosjean, 2008) refer to these children as Emerging Bilinguals (EBs). The existence of EBs in the German-English classroom suggests a transition from the traditional model of the Bilingual Program as a heritage language revitalization program to one showing similarities to the Dual Immersion (DI) model in the U.S. In this paper, part of a larger case study of one German-English program in Canada, I demonstrate the extent to which this transition is taking place by examining how the numbers of EBs in the Bilingual Program have changed and the effect of this change on the type of bilingualism promoted, the language role models employed and nature of instructional adaptation that takes place as a result.

Sollten Wörter in Lehrbuchtexten wiederholt werden?

Ulf Schütze

Eben noch gehört und schon wieder vergessen. Das geht einem begabten Menschen durchaus oft so. Das gilt auch für den Fremdsprachenunterricht. Ob das Wort nun in einen kommunikativen Zusammenhang gehört oder einfach nur in einem Text laut oder leise gelesen wird, eben dachte man noch, dass man es behalten hätte und als man es dann benutzen wollte, fiel es einem nicht mehr ein. Schade eigentlich. Dann muss ich den Text wohl noch einmal lesen oder meinen Gesprächspartner bitten, noch einmal zu wiederholen, was er da eben gesagt hat. Ein Wort wird vor allem dann nicht behalten, wenn die Zeit der Begegnung mit dem Wort nicht ausreicht, dieses im Gedächtnis zu verarbeiten und zu speichern. Durch mehrmaliges Wiederholen eines Wortes kann man dem entgegen wirken.


Co-Occurring Attributive Adjectives in German: Presenting a Special Case of Alternations of Strong and Weak Inflections

Christa Beaudoin-Lietz, John L. Plews

This article investigates one of the remaining issues of adjective inflections in German: alternations of strong (ST) and weak (WK) inflections on the second of two unpreceded attributive adjectives, specifically in the Dative (DAT) Masculine (MASC) and Neuter (NEUT) Singular (SG). It discusses this special case of inflections on co-occurring attributive adjectives in the contexts of grammar reference works, corpora, and textbook instruction. Inflection on attributive adjectives is a major topic for German as a foreign language (GFL) teachers and students. Much classroom time, from basic through proficient levels, is devoted to teaching, reviewing, and accurately applying the general grammar rules of ST and WK inflection according to whether the attributive adjective is unpreceded or preceded by a determiner. As with almost all aspects of GFL instruction in schools and colleges, the teaching and ongoing practice of adjective inflection occur in the context of a syllabus shaped largely by the textbook selected for the language course. While textbooks can never cover every grammar point, our analysis raises questions about the degree to which GFL textbooks “tell the truth” (Swan, 1994) about adjective inflections. Indeed, we show that the textbook explanation and practice of attributive adjective inflections concerns mostly instances of a single adjective. Students across all proficiency levels have less opportunity to learn about the inflections of two or more co-occurring attributive adjectives and none to discover alternations, an issue that causes insecurity even among native speakers (e.g., see threads concerning inflection of co-occurring attributive adjectives with DAT MASC / NEUT SG on,,, and We contest that this oversight, even if to do with a seemingly trifling aspect of one point of German grammar, can be rectified by GFL instructors even while teaching at the basic levels, for the intake of language structures does not necessarily correspond with proficiency levels or the sequencing of complexity (Ziemer Andrews, 2007).

Digital Realities: Der interaktive Dokumentarfilm „13. Stock“ in DaF-Kursen der Mittelstufe und Oberstufe

Sylvia Rieger

Eine Großzahl der sich heute in Nordamerika im Einsatz befindlichen DaF Textbücher präsentieren eine Kombination von sogenannter Alltagskultur (Themen wie Wohnen, Familie, Einkaufen, Reisen, Sport, Politik udgl.) und literarischen Texten, bildender Kunst, Film usw. Oftmals dominiert in den Textbüchern jedoch ein durchaus homogenes Bild, das die Vorstellung einer von der Mehrheit der „Deutschen“ gleichermaßen geteilten Lebensrealität präsentiert, selbst wenn in vielen Büchern die Themen „Minderheiten“, „Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund“ u. a. heutzutage Einzug gehalten haben. Soll die Weiterverbreitung eines derart homogenen Bildes der sog. target culture verhindert werden, muss sich der Sprachlehrer mit einer Reihe wichtiger Fragestellungen auseinandersetzen: wie lassen sich also vielmehr inter- und intrakulturelle[1] Themen im Sprachunterricht umsetzen, um eine bloße Gegenüberstellung der neu zu erlernenden und der eigenen „Kultur“ zu vermeiden? Sollte nicht im Vordergrund einer angemessenen Auseinandersetzung mit einer „fremden“ Kultur die Reflexion über den eigenen kulturellen Referenzrahmen in der Konstruktion einer gemeinsamen sozialen Realität stehen? Welche Möglichkeiten kann in dieser Hinsicht ein interkultureller Dialog überhaupt haben: zelebrieren wir auf möglichst harmonische Weise unsere gemeinsamen Ein- und Wertvorstellungen und stellen damit gezielt kulturelle Unterschiede in den Hintergrund? Oder ergibt sich ein Dialog zwischen Kulturen gerade aus den Unterschieden und sogar „rupture points“, wie es Claire Kramsch (1993) nennt, zwischen den Mitgliedern verschiedener inter- und intrakultureller Gruppen?


Language Choice in Small Group Activities

Teyana Reichert

Second language acquisition (SLA) research has been involved in an ongoing discussion and controversy about the role of code-switching, i.e., the use of two or more languages within the same conversation in educational settings (Gafarange, 2007). Until relatively recently code-switching to first language (L1) has often been associated with insufficient knowledge in the second language (L2), e.g., with limited vocabulary. Most recent research in SLA offers another perspective on code-switching practices in classrooms, however. Studies on language alternation informed by conversation analysis (CA) describe code-switching as an important interactional device learners employ to manage the task, interpret the situation, organize and structure the discourse (e.g., Unamuno, 2008, Halmari, 2004, Chaves, 2003). Nonetheless, most published research on language alternation does not provide sufficient accounts about its functions in learner interactions in situations when the teacher is not present.

Integrating Technology in the German Class: What Kind of Preparation Do Graduate Student Instructors Need and Receive?

Claudia Kost

The above excerpts are taken from job descriptions for faculty positions in German in the 2008/2009 MLA Job Information List. Similar advertisements have appeared regularly on the job list over the past years and confirm the continuing interest from many departments to hire candidates who have some skill in computer-assisted language learning or other technological expertise across various specializations such as literature, culture studies, translation, or applied linguistics. Hence, what applies to new professors is also relevant to today’s graduate student instructors in foreign language classes; they need both knowledge of foreign language pedagogy and technological literacy in order to deliver effective instruction and satisfy market demand. Most current textbooks today are accompanied by a variety of ancillary technological materials (student CD-ROMs, videos, online workbooks, and web pages). Classroom instruction is regularly supplemented with work in a computer lab, and increasingly incorporates chat and other forms of computer-mediated communication. Electronic grade books and classroom management tools such as WebCT and Blackboard are also often used to assist instructors in their daily work.


DaF-Unterricht mit über 80 Lernern. Studie und Ergebnisse, 2000-2007

Rüdiger Mueller

Als Sprachlehrer nehmen wir oft an, dass Erkenntnisse der Fremdsprachenforschung und -didaktik darauf hinweisen, dass Sprachklassen klein gehalten werden sollten, um den Lernern die besten Voraussetzungen zu schaffen, sich die fremde Sprache in ihren vier Fertigkeiten anzueignen und zu üben.

How to Include All Learners in the Process of Second Language/Foreign Language. Teaching and Learning: Some Suggestions from Conducting Classroom Research

Claudia A. Becker

This is a long-term project in the area of Classroom Research and Experiential Learning in college major/minor programs that offer authentic communicative settings in language classes and employ task-based and content-based learning/teaching or “handlungsorientierter Unterricht”. It is designed to investigate the effects of current SL/FL learning and teaching activities on student performance and how these reflect American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) content standards of FL education or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards for ESL education in the five major goal areas[2] and their specific content standards. In other words, are the teaching methods presently employed in SL teaching effective in bringing students to certain competencies?


Kulturelle Kompetenz und erolgreiche Kommunikation: Zur Signifikanz von Kulturkenntnissen aus der Sicht von Kommunikationsmodellen

Michael Maerlein

Bereits Anfang des letzten Jahrhunderts wurde von Malinowski (1923) erstmalig die Bedeutung des Kontextwissens – und damit auch kultureller Kenntnisse – für das Verständnis von Äußerungen propagiert. Heutzutage ist jedem Fremdsprachenlehrer klar, dass Sprachunter-richt nicht ohne kulturelle Komponente auskommen kann. Im Folgenden soll aus der Sicht dreier Kommunikationsmodelle der Stellenwert von Kulturkenntnissen für den Kommunika-tionsprozess dargelegt werden: kulturelles Wissen hilft nicht nur häufig, den Kontext einer Nachricht zu verstehen, sondern ermöglicht oft erst eine erfolgreiche nonverbale Kommunika-tion.

Challenges and Opportunities for Methodologically Principled L2 Pronunciation Training in German Textbooks and Class

Mareike Müller

The teaching of pronunciation in foreign language classes has experienced methodological waves of interest over the last century. Regarded as an insignificant part of language learning in the grammar translation approach, the teaching of pronunciation “grew in prominence with the rise of the Direct Method and Audiolingualism, only to be pushed again to the sidelines with the ascendancy of Communicative Language Teaching … and the Natural Approach” (Jones, 2005, p. 178). Although phonetics has drawn more attention within the context of second lan-guage (L2) acquisition since the late 1980s, shortcomings inhibiting the teaching and learning of L2 pronunciation are still apparent, particularly within the realm of German as a Foreign Language (GFL), where a lack of appropriate pronunciation training and training material is observable (Dieling & Hirschfeld, 2000).


Die Konstruktion nationaler Identität in den deutschen Medien zur WM 2006: Anregungen zu einer linguistischen Zeitungstextanalyse im DaF-Unterricht

Steffi Retzlaff

Knapp zwei Jahre nach der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft in Deutschland ist das schwarz-rot-goldene Fahnenmeer euphorischer Fußballfans schon ein Bild der Vergangenheit, sind die Freudenrufe und das ungewohnte „Wir-Gefühl“, das die Deutschen im Juni und Juli 2006 ergriffen hatte, nurmehr Erinnerungen. Umso mehr ist es an der Zeit, dieses jüngste deutsche Selbstbild und das beobachtbare neue Verhältnis der Deutschen zu patriotischen Gefühlen zu untersuchen und dabei die Rolle der Medien, die zur Konstruktion des so genannten „neuen deutschen kollektiven Patriotismus“ beigetragen haben, zu analysieren. Der vorliegende Beitrag versucht, Anregungen zur Thematisierung deutscher Identität im Deutschunterricht zu geben. Dabei wird die Analyse ausgewählter Berichterstattung während der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft 2006 in Deutschland im Mittelpunkt stehen.

'Die DDR und die „Bürger deutscher Herkunft“ in Kanada: die Rolle der Gesellschaft Neue Heimat (1980-1990)

Manuel Meune

Der in der Weimarer Republik entstandene und im Nationalsozialismus zu voller Entfaltung gekommene Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland (VDA) wurde 1945 als Träger der rassenideologisch fundierten NS-Expansionspolitik von den Alliierten verboten. 1955 wurde er in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland neu gegründet, durfte wieder die kulturellen Interessen der Deutschsprachigen im Ausland vertreten, kam aber wegen der Betonung des „Deutschtums“ oft in den Ruf, ein Bund mit ultrakonservativen Zielen zu sein. Weniger bekannt ist, dass in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 1964, sozusagen als kommunistisches Pendant zum kapitalistischen VDA, die Gesellschaft Neue Heimat (GNH) gegründet wurde. Ihr Ziel war es, Kontakte mit „Bürgern deutscher Herkunft im Ausland“ (BdHA) – wie die Auslandsdeutschen im DDR-Wortschatz hießen – zu pflegen, und sie mit der „anderen“ deutschen Wirklichkeit vertraut zu machen. Dazu gehörten auch laut Statistiken der 80er Jahre 2,5 Millionen Kanadier deutscher Herkunft, oder zumindest jene, die der deutschen Sprache noch mächtig waren, d. h. vor allem die Vertreter der großen Einwanderungswelle der Nachkriegszeit. Ohne es immer zu wissen, wurden diese zu einer der Gruppen, um deren Gunst sich die ideologisch antagonistischen deutschen Staaten während des Kalten Krieges bemühten.