Level II: Intermediate German: Experiencing the German-Speaking World


German 021, 022, 03


This course description pertains to the two-course sequence of Level II within the German Department’s nationally recognized integrated curriculum “Developing Multiple Literacies.” The course is organized topically to familiarize students with contemporary life in the German-speaking world. In Intensive Intermediate, we explore the following themes in our content-based instructional sequence in one semester, the non-intensive sequence uses two semesters:

The six topics addressed are:
Theme 1: Wo ich zu Hause bin: Was heißt "Heimat"?
Theme 2: Nationalstolz -- eine deutsche Debatte
Theme 3: Von Kunst bis Kitsch: die Kulturstadt Wien
Theme 4: Mensch, Natur und Umwelt
Theme 5: Literature: Märchen
Theme 6: Deutschland aus ausländischer Sicht

Each thematic unit lasts approximately 2-3 weeks and consists of topically related visual and printed texts that allow students to encounter multiple perspectives and genres in both written and oral forms. Instead of the traditional approach to language instruction that is structured around a sequence of grammatical topics, this level relies on the texts themselves to provide the textual, informational, and lexicogrammatical features that serve as the basis for developing students’ language abilities. In other words, the texts act as a blueprint for the type of language use that is emphasized at this level, and textual engagement, through listening, reading, writing, and speaking, is the primary means for expanding students' language abilities.

The primary text type that is used at this level to explore each theme is the story, — personal, public and literary stories. Students typically encounter each text first in class and then engage it further out of class in preparation for subsequent in-depth thematic discussions in class. Class discussions often involve role play and/or group work as a way to enhance conversational and negotiating abilities.

In addition to becoming familiar with the content focus of each theme, students also will be asked to make cross-cultural comparisons between the becoming familiar with the content focus of each theme, students also will be asked to make cross-cultural comparisons between the U. S. and German-speaking countries and to relate the personal stroeis they encounter in the texts to their own experiences.

To demonstrate their progress during the course of the semester, students will complete formal speaking and writing tasks that focus on specific topical issues and language features as exemplified in the texts. Students will also be quizzed periodically on specific language features that have received explicit instructional attention.

In terms of Level II’s place within the curriculum, its topics expand on those in Level I, in terms of complexity and variety, in terms of length, in terms of complexity of the language, and in terms of presumed cultural knowledge that invites a number of perspectives on a given issue. And its emphasis on improving students ability to narrate, compare and contrast, express opinions, and establish causal relationships in speaking and writing lays the groundwork for the historical treatment of stories and histories in Level III.

By the end of the level student will

  • have a good understanding of contemporary life in the German-speaking world with some in-depth knowledge of major social, political, and cultural issues;
  • be able to comprehend authentic materials (film, radio, video, native speaker conversation) with global comprehension and some fine point knowledge and/or analysis;
  • be able to produce spoken and written discourse from description to narration, to formulation of argument and/or hypothesis, incorporating an increasing variety of style and complexity;
  • have improved their writing abilities through extensive writing in a variety of formats (descriptions, dialogues, essays, creative writing), progressing from descriptive and narrative to evaluative and analytical, increasing in length and complexity;
  • have produced both oral and written presentations of various lengths and formats.

This course uses a reading packet comprised of authentic texts with a topical focus. You will receive the reading packet from your instructor at cost. In addition, we will use Larry Wells, Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik and Patrick Süsskind, Die Geschichte von Herrn Sommer - available in the Georgetown Bookstore. We will also use the video series Unser Lehrer Dr. Specht - available in Language Technology Center, ICC 226 and on GUTV.

Approach and Components

In order to reach these goals, it is expected that students actively participate in all classroom activities and keep up with out-of-class work, such as independent projects and homework. Participation entails consistent, creative contribution to class discussion and all collaborative work.

Throughout the course, we favor an approach that highlights in-depth thematic discussion as well as linguistic accuracy and progression toward greater fluency and complexity.

Intensive and extensive listening through video, intensive and extensive reading through short and long works outside of class, textual analysis in class, and multiple draft writing assignments are features which target these objectives and their corresponding skill areas.

Modes of Assessment

Class participation (20%)
Since regular class participation is essential for learning a language, participation is monitored on a daily basis and represents a substantial portion of the final grade. By coming prepared to class and by participating actively in all class activities, students will
1) build up confidence in using German, and
2) learn how to find a balance between accuracy, fluency and complexity.
Students will receive written assessment of their class participation (including group and partner work) after completion of each theme.This feedback will enable students to identify areas of language use that need further attention.

Assessment of class participation is based on the following criteria:

Grade Criteria


always well prepared; attentive and volunteers occasionally; tries to use German with classmates and instructor; makes the most of each activity or exercise; shows real resourcefulness and imagination when using the language; responds to and engages classmates in a respectful manner; remains critical and open-minded toward target and native culture


usually well prepared; attentive and volunteers occasionally; tries to use German with classmates and instructor; makes the most of each activity or exercise; completes activities and exercises with some imagination and resourcefulness; makes some effort to engage fellow students; shows some development of cultural sensitivity


adequately prepared and attentive; occasionally needs to be reminded to use German with instructor and classmates; responds and completes exercises with minimal imagination; does not engage classmates beyond the minimum requirements for an assignment


usually unprepared; makes little effort to participate or complete exercises; rarely tries to use German with instructor or classmates


makes no contribution to class whatsoever

Speaking tasks (15%)
Every student will participate in formally assessed speaking tasks several times during the semester. The contributions to these prepared presentations will be graded according to specific guidelines handed out in advance.

Essay writing (25%)
Our approach to writing is process-oriented. There will be regular essay assignments, each with a rewrite. Essays are to be typed, 12 point, double-spaced with 1" margins and handed in on time. Specific guidelines will be given in advance of each essay, along with information regarding the features that are expected. First drafts are graded and returned with extensive feedback to help students revise their work. Revised essays are also corrected and graded and can improve the final essay grade. Students are encouraged to utilize the Department's tutoring desk and their instructor's office hours in the writing process.

Quizzes (10%)
Students will have short quizzes which target content vocabulary and specific work done in class on formal aspects of the language.

Homework (20%)
There will be regular assignments to be handed in. These include worksheets for extensive reading and listening outside of class. All assignments will be assessed on thoroughness and accuracy. All assignments will be graded according to the following criteria:

  • check plus” (95%): Homework handed in on time and indicating a very thorough effort, including a conscious attempt to use language features emphasized in class
  • “check” (80%): Homework handed in on time and indicating a satisfactory effort
  • “check minus” (65%): Homework handed in on time but indicating unsatisfactory effort

Note: Late homework will be assessed a penalty of 20 % each class day. Because of this policy, any homework assignment that is turned in more than 5 class days after it is due will receive no credit.

Final Exam (15%)
A final exam will be administered during the exam period at the end of the semester and will consist of textual, informational, and lexicogrammatical features that were emphasized during the semester.


You will be allowed a maximum of 3 absences for routine doctor visits and travel for non-emergencies, etc., during the semester without penalty. Beginning with the 4th absence, a penalty of -1% will be levied on the earned final grade for each class missed. In addition, 3 tardy arrivals to class will count as one unexcused absence. The best policy to adopt is to keep your instructor informed if you miss any classes or assignments. Extended illnesses and family emergencies will be treated as exceptions, and absences for these purposes will be excused. Be prepared to show proof of the need for the absences, however, if your instructor asks for it. Note that quizzes cannot be made up and that any exam conflict must be cleared with the instructor in advance, or no credit will be given.

Departmental Activities

Your instructor will keep you informed of departmental and campus events related to the German-speaking world. One way of receiving the latest information from the department is by joining the department’s Listserve and checking the departmental web page for special events. Information on how to join is in the front of your course packet.

Academic Honor Code

All courses in the Department of German strictly adhere to the Honor Code of Georgetown University. Your work in class and on all take-home assignments should be your own. If you have any questions about what constitutes academic honesty within the framework of this course, please speak with your instructor. In cases of alleged violations, the procedures described in the Honor Code will be followed.

Updated November 4, 2003