German Language in Context: Novice Abroad I

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Course Information
German Language
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 


Additional student cost: 

25 Euro for book/copies for the whole Intensive and semester.


This course is designed for students with little or no prior knowledge of the language. By the end of the course, the successful student will develop a basic foundation in the five skills: intercultural communication, reading, writing, listening, and speaking to accomplish a variety of basic everyday needs in the host culture as described in the learning outcomes below.

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Learning outcomes: 

After the 3-week Intensive section of the course, students should be able to take part in a conversation on a simple level, understand a menu when ordering meals in restaurants, asking for the way and transportation and do daily shopping.

By the end of the semester course, students will be able to achieve some of the outcomes for the Novice Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will be able to meet basic everyday needs using verbal communication, they will be able to use compensatory strategies when they do not know the word or expression (repetition, body language, etc.), and they will be able to identify some basic non-verbal communication strategies.
    2. Students can recognize basic appropriate and inappropriate expressions and behaviors in the host language.
    3. Students will be able to distinguish between basic representations of formality and informality in the language
    4. Students will start to make informed comparisons between the host culture and home culture.
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to understand most basic statements, requests, descriptions, and questions in specific cultural context relevant to them (interactions in class and with hosts, studying, shopping, transportation, meals).
    2. Students will be able to use context to understand the gist of some basic spoken language they overhear, including the media, conversations between others, and announcements.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to use some basic phrases appropriately in some everyday situations (home, new acquaintances, the IES Abroad Center, and the community).
    2. Students will be able to express some basic needs by asking questions, and get what they need in uncomplicated, everyday situations.
  4. Reading
    1. Students will be able to identify and understand basic sentences.
    2. Students will be able to interpret main ideas in short and simple texts as well as news headlines, but their understanding is often limited to the words or groups of words that they have seen in class.
    3. Students will be able to use basic reading strategies (cognate recognition, scanning for meaning, identification of text types, etc.) in order to interpret main ideas.
  5. Writing
    1. With limited accuracy, students will be able to write short sentences and short paragraphs about basic and concrete topics they have studied, such as themselves, their families, their friends, their likes and dislikes, and their daily routines.
    2. Students will be able to send basic emails, text messages, postcards, and fill out some basic forms.
Method of presentation: 
  • Three weeks of Intensive, 3 hours per day, 44 hours in total
  • Oral and written exercises
  • Field-trips (Naschmarkt, Kaffeehaus, city walk explaining directions)
  • The three weeks Intensive is followed by eleven weeks of regular semester instruction
  • German classes take place on three days; 75 minutes per unit
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Oral performance (class work, attendance, presentation of dialogues) - 40%
  • Homework (written) - 10%
  • Tests and quizzes - 25%
  • Final (written) - 25%





Corresponding Learning Outcomes



1. Functional:

  • Information about persons. Greetings and introduce yourself.
  • Useful phrases to start a conversation.



  • Interrogativs W-Fragen/ Ja-Nein Fragen)
  • Word order
  • Personal pronouns (nominativ)
  • Definite and indefinite articles
  • “Sie” and “du”
  • Prepositions: aus, aus der, in,
  • substitute names; er, sie



  • Numbers and the alphabet
  • Countries, cities, languages
  • Address and telephone number


4. Cultural:

  • Learn about Austria and Europe(general information about German speaking countries)
  • Starting Chapter 2 Lehrbuch Optimal A 1
  • Interviewing classmates in order to get to know each other and asking what languages you have learned
  • Writing dialogues introducing people
  • Worksheets on conjugation
  • Filling in missing verbs


  • Pronouncing names in German
  • Memorizing frequently used questions and answers (Woher kommst du? Wie ist die Adresse?...)


  • Chapter 1 in textbook


1. Test








Week 2

1.Functional: Continue Chapter2 Lehrbuch Optimal A1

  • Asking for and describing directions
  • Ask for a city map and find a hotel, ask for a room and register (fill out a form)
  • Information about a city and about your home-town

2. Grammatical:

  • More Interrogatives
  • Word order
  • Accusative
  • Articles
  • Ordinal numbers
  • Negation: nicht-kein
  • Modal verbs

3. Vocabulary:

  • Towns, buildings (with articles), institutions, streets, districts
  • Shopping, eating, drinking
  • Useful phrases when shopping or ordering food

 4. Cultural: Vienna`s Coffeehouse tradition, shopping, and tipping

  • Worksheets on Accusative
  • Telling time
  • Ordinal numbers
  • Dialogues about Vienna and home-town


Pairwork on:

  • At the hotel
  • How to get to different places
  • Describe your way from home to the Institute


Dialogues on:

  • At the market
  • Writing a shopping-list (introduce kilo, deka, liter)
  • Vienna´s Coffeehouses
  • Ordering food and drinks
  • Tipping
  • Excursion to the Vienna Naschmarkt
  • Visit to a Coffeehouse


2. Test

I.A,   I.B,   I.D,  II.A,  II.B,  III.A,  III.B,

IV.A,  IV.B, V.A,

Week 3












1.Functional: Starting Chapter 4 Lehrbuch Optimal A1

  • Daily routine and time (Wie spät ist es?)


  • Verbs with separable prefixes, learning verbs by putting them in chronological order (aufstehen, anziehen...)
  • Question;”Wann”? (um) „Wie spät ist es? (Es ist……Uhr)
  • Wen? Was? Accusative

3. Vocabulary:

  • Learn words in phrases
  • (Zeitung lesen, in der Nacht schlafen...)

4. Cultural: Time expressions in German, working and leisure time

  • Pairwork: Daily routine



Oral Tests:

  • Dialogues on all topics we learned in the three weeks of German Intensive (Introducing a person; finding your way; going to a coffeehouse or restaurant, market, or hotel)



I.A,   I.B,   I.D,  II.A,  II.B,  II.A,  III.B,

IV.A,  IV.B,  V.A






Corresponding Learning Outcomes

Week 1


Functional: Past tense of “haben and “sein” and “es gab”

Sprachen lernen: How do you learn a language?

 Grammatical: Dative after prepositions (aus, mit , von, nach, zu, vor, in, an); dative of def. and indef. article; informal imperative: repetition of modal verbs with the focus on “nicht müssen” “nicht  dürfen”

Oral and written: Speaking and writing about travelling (last week), simple  questions like: Wo waren Sie letzte Woche? Wie war das Wetter? ....Gab es viele Touristen?

Work sheets: phrases with dative prepositions; Sprachen lernen: Wie und warum?; Wie lernen Sie eine Sprache?(pair-work)

I.A,   I.B,   I.C,   I.D,   II.A, II.B, III.A, IV.A, V.A, V.B

Week 2


Vocabulary: Nouns (with articles) and verbs dealing with learning a language in classroom and at home

Culture: general information about  learning in Austria and in the U.S.

First Test


Week 3



Functional: Writing a diary, holiday planning and talking about holiday (in present perf.)

Grammatical: Present perf.tense, personal pronouns (nominative-accusative)

Diary: Last weekend

Oral presentations: Talk about the weekend; Describe the way from your home to Vienna; journeys from A to B

Verblists: Regular and irregular verbs in present perfect


Week 4


Vocabulary: holiday and vacation vocabularies, excursion to another city, leisure time activities, study words in relation to each other  (Musik hören, Hotel-buchen...)

Study the Perfekt with cards

4.Cultural: What sights did you see on vacation?

Sights in Vienna and in your home-town

Work-sheets: The perfect, word order

Diary: Last weekend

Oral  presentations: Talk about a trip you  planned a trip with your room-mate; What did you do on vacation?

Second Test


Week 5


Functional: Description and comparison of living situations in Austria and America; furniture, colours. Description of a picture: Bedroom in  Arles  (Liechtenstein 1992)

Grammatical: Perfect tense; more verbs; focus on a person’s life

Vocabulary: rooms, furniture, colours, living in a city, in the country,

Cultural: Pros and cons of  living in town or in the country

Describe a person’s life; describe your apartment in Vienna and in America; describe a picture; career description (oral and written)

Midterm Test

I.A,   I.D,  II.A, III.A, IV.A, IV.C, V.A

Week 6

Midterm Week



Week 7


Ein Geburtstag

Functional: Inviting guests, organizing birthday parties; cultural aspects of invitations in Austria

Grammatical: personal pronouns dative; sentences with two objects; verbs commanding the dative case and phrases like „antworten“, „gefallen“,… „mir ist kalt“…

Vocabulary: invitation, cooking, menu, recipes

Culture: General information about visiting people, presents for the host

Written: Write an invitation

Dialogue: Make a phone call inviting friends; introduce your guests to each other; talk about food (likes and dislikes); your favourite recipe

I.A,   I.B,   I.C,   I.D,   II.A,   III. A, III.B, IV.A, V.A, V.B

Week 8


Functional: How to set a table; expressing congratulations; Summarizing a process (how do you cook noodles…)

Introduce your family (focusing on possessive-articles)

Grammatical: Possessive-articles

Vocabulary: cooking, setting a table, describing family

Written: Duties in the kitchen and cooking

Role play: Create and deliver an invitation; introduce guests; describe and compliment the food. Describe how you would cook food, and invite the hosts to your next dinner-party.

3. Test

I.A,   I.C,   II.A, III.A, III.B, IV.A, IV.B, V.B

Week 9


Körper und Gesundheit:

Functional: Parts of the body; at the doctor; at the pharmacist

Grammatical: Past tense of modal verbs, some reflexives, two way prepositions with the verbs: „setzen“, „sitzen“, „legen“, „liegen“, „stellen“, stehen“;

Vocabulary: Sickness, medicine, body

Culture: Holidays in Austria (St. Martin`s day,  St. Leopold`s day)

Oral: talk about illnesses; how to stay healthy

Written: Exercises with “setzen”, “sitzen”, “stellen”, “stehen”, “legen”, “liegen”

Important questions at the doctor’s: „Wo tut es weh?“

I.A,   I.B,   I.C,  II.A, III.A, II.B, IV.A, IV.B, V.A, V.B

Week 10

Functional: Thanksgiving in the U.S. and ”Erntedankfest“ in Austria

Grammar: weil, wenn, als in subordinate sentences; starting with adjectives: nominative/accusative/dative; definite and indefinite article; plural without article

Vocabulary: Food for Thanksgiving and Erntedankfest

Culture: Celebrating different feasts in Austria and U.S.

Oral and written: Thanksgiving


Week 11


Functional: Describing clothing and people

Grammatical: More about adjectives: nominative/accusative/dative

definite/indefinite article; plural without the article;

Vocabulary: Clothing; “Nikolaus und Krampus”

Culture: Time before Christmas in the U.S. and in Austria: Christkindlmarkt, Nikolaus and Krampus, Barbarazweige.

Written: Describe your best friend; what are you wearing when you go to a ball, a concert or a dinner party

Worksheets: Adjective endings; feasts and clothing

4. Test



I.A,   I.D,   II.A, II.B, III.A, III.B, IV.A, V.A

Week 12





Required readings: 
  • Folder : Deutsch für IES-Studenten (worked out by  teachers of  the IES)
  • OPTIMAL A1 Lehrbuch Kapitel: 1,2,5,4; (outlines) (Müller, Rusch, Scherling, Wertenschlag, Lemcke, Schmidt und Schmitz)
  • Repetition –handouts (usually each lesson) made up by the teachers according to the   actual  needs of students.
  • Readings: Graded German Reader / Erste Stufe (Hannelore Crossgrove and William C.Crossgrove)