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GERM1106 - An Introduction to German Linguistics

Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Geraldine Horan
Teaching structure:
Assessment: one assessed 2,500 word essay (50%); and one unseen two-hour written examination with three essays (50%).


Module Description:

The module will provide an introduction to linguistic concepts and topics which help us to understand the structure and use of the German language in contemporary times. The fields studied in the module include: phonetics and phonology; inflection and derivation; syntax; lexical structure, lexical borrowing, and sociolinguistic variation. Although the main focus of the module will be on the German language, comparisons with contemporary English will also be made where relevant. Primary material will be taken from newspapers and magazines, television and the internet where necessary. Students will be encouraged to find their own examples of linguistic phenomena from these sources. An essential part of the module will involve background reading of secondary material to consolidate understanding of guiding linguistic theories and principles.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Jean Aitchison, Teach Yourself Linguistics (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1992).
  • C. Beedham, German Linguistics: An Introduction (Munich, Iudicium, 1995).
  • Michael G. Clyne, The German language in a changing Europe (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995).
  • Anthony Fox, The Structure of German (Oxford, Clarendon, 1990).
  • Christopher Hall, Modern German Pronunciation. An Introduction for Speakers of English (Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press, 1992).
  • Sally Johnson, Exploring the German Language (London, Arnold, 1998).
  • Charles V. J.Russ, The German Language Today (London and New York, Routledge, 1994).*
  • Patrick Stevenson, (ed.), The German Language and the Real World. Sociolinguistic, Cultural, and Pragmatic Perspectives (Oxford, Clarendon, 1995).
  • Patrick Stevenson, The German-Speaking World. A practical introduction to sociolinguistic issues (London and New York, Routledge, 1997).

* You should purchase a copy of this if possible.