Processing and Acquisitional Foci for Level III

Processing and acquisitional foci at Level III

Students gradually reorganize their grammar from sentence level processing to discourse level processing, from interactive story-telling to increasingly monologic public narratives. At the same time they are ready to be challenged by accuracy of use, and some fluency at the local level (inflectional and derivational morphology, gender, noun plurals, case relationships and markings). This challenge is set up at Level III and will continue particularly at Level IV and also into Level V.

There is likely to be great disparity in performance among students regarding accuracy, fluency, and complexity. Students need to start developing their own learning goals, and strategies for reaching these goals and will require quite a bit of individual attention and treatment.

I. The emphasis areas listed for level II are NOW ALL DELIBERATELY PLACED INTO A DISCOURSE CONTEXT, orally and in written form.

  • Textual organization, overt discourse markers, covert semantic connections (primarily through lexicon) and paragraph structures are explored in terms of major organizational patterns (e.g., chronology, comparison, contrast, cause-and-effect, deductive, inductive, summative).
  • Author intentionality/stance, audience, genre, presuppositions, implications are explored at the discourse level.
  • Use of flavoring particles, diverse hedges, reducers, levels of certainty/uncertainty, affective positioning is particularly important here.

II. Beginning movement from a primarily verbal (often personal) style (e.g., in narration), into abstract and public language

  • A movement from actor-action sequences to effect, condition, description movement means particularly careful attention to the nominal complex in terms of modification. Prenominal: adjectives, extended adjective constructions. Postnominal: relative clauses, in different locations of insertion (embeddedness, sentence final), under different conditions of case and with prepositions
  • Particular care is necessary in differentiating relative clauses from da- and wo-constructions, a high frequency error until very late.

III. Topically driven expansion of the lexicon, particularly through extensive and intensive reading.

Work with individually constructed semantic fields and individual responsibility for lexicon.

IV. A discourse orientation with its goal of a restructured learner grammar means that a number of “transparencies/flexibilities” need to be demonstrated, analyzed, worked with.

  • between sentence types, e.g., Subordinating conjunction — preposition — linking adverbial Nachdem nach danach
  • between different word categories, e.g., Verb – adjective – noun – prefixes and suffixes; Derivation and compounding
  • between active, passive, and adjectival constructions, (e.g., stative and dynamic passive)


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