GER 475/575: Advanced German Usage

Course materials:

Spring 2007

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Albrecht Classen

OFFICE: Learning Services Building 318; OFFICE HOUR: TTH 10 a.m.-11 a.m., and after appointment (please feel free to see me any other time if need be)

TEL: (520) 621-1395; FAX: (520) 626-8268; E-MAIL:

Web Page:

CLASS: TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Edu 331

COURSE OBJECTIVES: This is an advanced German language course in which we will work toward expanding your vocabulary, improve your grammatical skills, your pronunciation, and spelling of German to the highest possible degree within your undergraduate/graduate education. We will examine a wide range of authentic texts from German-language web pages, work on the fine points of German grammar, and read a selection of short stories. I also hope that you will gain some basic knowledge about German politics and the current cultural and political discourse.

COURSE OUTCOME: Advanced level of modern German including the ability to read German newspapers and other types of texts, familiarity with political, cultural, sports, science, and technology vocabulary. Mastery of advanced level of German grammar, and the ability to read an extensive corpus of texts without excessive reliance on the dictionary.

PREREQUISITES: Ger 300 and 301, or equivalent, and two upper-level courses in German Studies


Maxim Biller, Wenn ich einma; reich und tot bin. 2nd ed. (1990; Munich: dtv, 2000)

Karin Hall and Barbara Scheiner, Übungsgrammatik  (Ismaning: Hueber, 2001)


Two Oral Reports of ca. 10 minutes about a Current Event (one on a political topic, one on your personal interest): 20%. You can work alone or in groups of 2

4 Papers plus Rewrites: 30% (rewrite always due one week later)

Midterm Exam: 15%

Final Paper on Maxim Biller’s Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin (20%)

Final Exam: 15%

Graduate Students are expected to offer more in-depth research, and to write more extensive papers (ca. 20% more).


Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences: More than three unexcused absences lead to a drop of one grade in this course, and more than five unexcused absences will lead to an automatic grade of E (failing). If justified circumstances prevent you from attending, please inform me in writing either before or after the event, and provide satisfactory documentation (e.g., doctor’s note).

Please treat each other with respect and tolerance. People do have different views and opinions, but all these can only contribute to the rich learning experience I hope you all will have in this class. You are strongly encouraged to participate in class as much as possible. The two class meetings per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, and contribute on your own as often as possible.

For information on the University of Arizona Policy on Threatening Behavior by Students, click on this link.

See also:

– CELL PHONES: You are not allowed to have your cell phones on during class because a ringing will disturb everyone strongly. Either turn them off or mute them. All other electronic gadgets not pertinent to this class must also be off.

SPECIAL NEEDS: Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to participate fully in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Resource Center. ( Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.

If you use secondary material for your papers, make sure that you indicate clearly where you took it from. Plagiarism and cheating violate the Code of Academic Integrity. For further information, see:

Do not ever copy from the work produced by your classmates or by other students who might have taken this course in previous semesters. If you receive help in writing your papers, make sure that the final outcome still represents your own work. You can discuss your papers with your fellow students, but at the end they need to consist of your own ideas and words! Be advised that the Web is a great search tool, but never, never copy from there without identifying very clearly what you used. At this point the scholarly value of web-based material still is not totally reliable, and the chances that you might stumble upon a most dubious webpage with untrustworthy information are very high. When you quote from a secondary source, clearly identify the quote and tell the reader in a footnote where you quoted from. Every year more than 100 students at the UA are caught having committed the crime of plagiarism, resulting in penalties that could be as severe as expulsion from the University! You are smart enough not to copy from other people.

If there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:

Plagiarism and the Web

If there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:

If you commit plagiarism, you could either receive a 0 on your specific assignment, or an F for the entire course. Depending on the gravity of the case, you might even be expelled from the University. Every plagiarism case must be reported to the Head of my depart., to the head of your dept., and to the Dean of Students.


We will work with the grammar book and the exercises in a more fluid manner than indicated by the syllabus. It depends on how much you will need to go into details or practice special aspects. We can also revisit individual chapters. The reading assignments might be unrealistic because of each story’s length and complexity. In that case we will probably cut one or two texts.

Every class meeting we will take a look at Deutsche Welle online, review current politics, cultural and sport events, even weather, and whatever else might be of interest.

January 11: First day of class: introduction: web page exercises: Sprichwoerter

January 16/19: Übungsgrammatik (Üg) 1; Biller, “Rosen, Astern”

January 23/25: Üg 4; Biller, “Rosen, Astern”; 1st report

Jan. 30/Feb.1: Üg 5; Biller; “Meine Tage mit Frenkel”; 2nd report; 1st paper (2-1)

Jan. 30: Census Day

February 6/8: Üg 6; Biller, “Meine Tage mit Frenkel”; 3rd report

February 13/15: Üg 7; Politische Strukturen in Deutschland; political reports; 2nd paper (2-13)

February 20/22: Üg 8; Politische Strukturen in Deutschland; political reports

February 27/March 1: Üg 9; Politische Strukturen in Deutschland; political reports

March 6/8: Üg 11; Midterm exam (3-6); Biller, “Im Geschäft”

March 10-18: Spring Break

March 20/22: Üg 14; Biller, “Ehrenburgs Decke”; 4th and 5th report; 3rd paper (3-20)

March 27/29: Üg 19; Biller, “Ehrenburgs Decke”; 6th report

April 3/5: Üg 17; Werbung in Deutschland; 7th report

April 10/12: Üg 17; Werbung in Deutschland; 8th report; 4th paper (4-12)

April 17/19: Üg 17; Biller, “Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin”; 9th report

April 24/26: Üg 13; Biller, “Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin”; 10th report; Final exam (4-26)

May 1: Last day of class: 11th report

Final paper: May 7, 2-4 p.m.

Possible Changes:
The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.