Seite 10

Lesen und Schreiben

Skills in reading German can progress more quickly than listening, speaking, or writing. But reading in a second language requires strategies. When reading in their native language, people do not actually read many of the words. Rather, the brain automatically fills in and makes connections.

In a second language, people typically try to read every word. This leads to breakdown of comprehension, because the brain gets stuck on unknown words and resists moving past them. Do not look up the meaning of words and attempt to translate. It takes up a lot of time, is frustrating, and is not necessary.

  1. Pre-reading:
    1. Predict what the topic or theme will be in the reading. For example, for Kapitel 1 the reading will contain personal information (name, age, address, etc.) and descriptions of common objects.
    2. Use previous knowledge about the topic. People do not learn German in a vacuum, so if the topic is about weather, readers will already have some idea of what a weather map looks like and what kinds of information it gives.
    3. Reflect briefly on vocabulary and structures presented in the chapter.
  2. Skim:
    1. Skim through the text without reading. Do not read from left to right, skim from top to bottom.
    2. Locate clear indicators of meaning such as numbers (money, addresses, quantities, distances, etc.), proper names (cities, peoples names, etc.), cognates, images, and illustrations.
    3. Identify words in German you have already learned.
    4. Think about what you understand up to this point.
  3. Scan:
    1. Read the content questions and make sure you understand them. Here you may consider looking up words.
    2. Identify key words in the content questions. For example, if the question would be "Wo wohnt Andrea in Deutschland?", then the subject "Andrea" and verb "wohnen" are key words.
    3. Use the key words to scan through and locate the information in the text.

In most cases, complete sentences (with subject and verb) will be required for the answers. For example, if the question is "Wann wurde Abraham Lincoln geboren", then do not answer with just the date, but rather: "Abraham Lincoln wurde 1809 geboren."

Übung 10-a. Guessing. Keep in mind the context of a reading passage. See the image on the left.
  1. What kind of text is this? Where would you see this?
  2. What is the event?
  3. Who is involved in the event?
  4. What is the location?
  5. What is the time (day, date, time)?

Übung 10-b. Lyndsey ist Austauschstudentin (exchange student) aus den USA. Teresa ist auch Austauschstudentin aus Deutschland und studiert in den USA.
Lyndsey just arrived at the university in Jena, Germany. She writes an email to her German friend, who is studying in the United States.

  1. Think about the topics and words you have learned in this chapter. With this in mind, write down in English what kind of information Lyndsey would share with Teresa.

  2. Skim through the reading and list words in German that fall in the following categories:
    UniversitätEigenschaftenAktivitätenGegenstände im Zimmer



















  3. In German, compound nouns are written together as one word, whereas they are often written separately in English. For example, "tea cup" in German is "Tee" (tea) + "Tasse" (cup) = "die Teetasse". Find words in the Email that mean:

    1. contact information: ________________________________

    2. living situation __________________________________

    3. table lamp: _________________________________

    4. living room: _________________________________

  4. Without looking them up in a dictionary, guess what the following words in the top frame of the email mean in English:

    1. Antworten: _________________________

    2. Weiterleiten: ___________________________

    3. Löschen: _____________________________

    4. Suchen: __________________________________

Übung 10-b. Inhaltsfragen Complete the assignment on BOLT in the designated submission folder under "Assignments". Submit the answers in an MS-Word document ONLY. Answer in complete sentences.

  1. Um wieviel Uhr schreibt Lindsey die Email?

  2. Woher kommt Karl?

  3. Wer ist sportlich?

  4. Was macht Claudia sehr gut?

  5. Warum ist Skype besser als (better than) Telefonieren?

  6. Was für Menschen sind Lyndseys Mitbewohner?

  7. Wie geht es Karl?

  8. Was machen Lyndsey und die Mitbewohner um 19.00 Uhr?

  9. Wie ist Lyndseys Zimmer?

How to Write a Composition in German

  • Rule #1: Do NOT write what you want to write. Write only what you CAN write. Start by doing a brief review of the handouts and textbook material. Remind yourself of what words and sentences you have worked on in class. Do not start by focusing primarily on the topic. You can bend the topic so that it fits with known structures.

  • Rule #2: Do NOT translate from English to German. Even when using a good online translator or dictionary, translating almost always produces gobbledy gook. If you have a native German or someone with more advanced German write for you, that will be obvious, constitutes cheating, and no credit will be given. However, you may have someone at a higher level check your work.

  • Rule #3: Composition is a construction of known elements into a whole. Go through materials that are known to be correct German, such as handouts, the textbook, or other materials. Lift entire sentences from the material and arrange them so that there is connected meaning. Some minor adjustments, such as using a different object or verb, may be necessary to create connections, but it is remarkable how easy it can be to build a composition just by copying sentences in German.
All essay assignments must be submitted in an MS-Word document. No other format is acceptable.
Essays will be submitted to the designated folders on BOLT under "assignments".

Übung 10-c. Schreiben Pretend you are writing an email to a German who is coming to study at your university for a semester. Use the correct salutation: "Liebe" (Dear) for female and "Lieber" for male, as in "Lieber Josef". Introduce yourself: name, age, where you are from, your likes/dislikes, your personality, some daily activities (including times and days).

Ask several questions.

Close with the proper salutation and your name: "Mit freundlichen Grüßen" (Literally "With friendly greetings", equivalent of "yours truly" or "sincerely").

Minimum length for grade of