Language Courses

German Language and Reading Courses

For further information on the department's German language program, please see the section Language Study. If you have additional questions, please contact the Director of the Language Program, Maeve Hooper.

 

Brigitte Riesebrodt, “Schriftbild, Circle” (2002). Courtesy of the artist.
Brigitte Riesebrodt, “Schriftbild, Circle” (2002). Courtesy of the artist.

German Language: First-Year Sequence

Elementary German for Beginners I, II, III
GRMN 10100-10200-10300

PQ for GRMN 10200: placement or consent of language coordinator. PQ for 10300: 10200 or 10201 or placement or consent of language coordinator. No auditors permitted. Must be taken for quality grades.
The goal of this sequence is to develop proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking for use in everyday communication. Knowledge and awareness of the different cultures of the German speaking countries is also a goal. Please note that if you have any prior knowledge of German, you cannot enroll in GRMN 10100. You are encouraged to enroll in GRMN 10201 instead, and/or to take the language placement exam to determine the most appropriate course.
Autumn, Winter, Spring

Elementary German
GRMN 10201

PQ: Placement or consent of language coordinator. No auditors permitted. Must be taken for a quality grade. 
This is an accelerated version of the GRMN 10100-10200 sequence for students with limited prior knowledge of the language. 
Autumn, Winter

Intensive German
GRMN 12001-12002-12003

This intensive, three-quarter sequence brings students to high-intermediate levels in all four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening so that students can enter third-year level courses in German. Learners who are starting German late in their College careers or who wish to move forward swiftly will gain skills corresponding to two full years of study. NOTE: Each course is 200 units and corresponds in workload to taking two courses.
Autumn, Winter, Spring

Intensive Introductory German
GRMN 10003 and 10006
Introductory German is a 6-week course designed for students wishing to develop intermediate proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking for use in everyday communication. Students will work with authentic materials as well as gain familiarity with the different cultures of the German-speaking countries. The course meets Monday through Friday for three hours per day, with additional 90-minute practice sessions twice per week in the afternoon. The GRMN 10003-10006 sequence is the equivalent of the 10100-10200-10300 sequence offered during the regular academic year at the University of Chicago.
For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Language Institute website.
Summer

German Language: Second Year Sequence

Deutsche Märchen: German through Fairy Tales
GRMN 20100

PQ: GRMN 10300 or placement. No auditors permitted. Must be taken for a quality grade. 
This course is a comprehensive look at German fairy tales, including structure and role in German nineteenth-century literature, adaptation as children's books in German and English, and film interpretations. This course also includes a review and expansion of German grammar.
Autumn, Winter, Spring

(replacing all sections of GRMN 20200: Deutsch-Amerikanische Themen)
Grünes Deutschland
GRMN 20201

Over the past three decades Germany has become a global leader in environmentalism and sustainability practices. This course develops students’ proficiency in all four skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing) and reviews basic grammar while exploring various aspects of “Green Germany,” from recycling and transportation to renewable energies (die Energiewende) to the history of the green movement. We investigate environmental practices and attitudes in German-speaking countries while comparing them with those in the US and other countries. In doing so, we consider whether environmental practices in German-speaking countries represent positive and feasible models for other countries. Students work with authentic and current materials (articles, websites, videos) and pursue a variety of independent projects (research, creative), including a final project on how to make the university campus more sustainable.  Prerequisite(s): GRMN 20100 or placement examDeutsch-Amerikanische Themen
GRMN 20200
PQ: GRMN 20100 or placement. No auditors permitted. Must be taken for a quality grade. 
Autumn, Winter, Spring

Kunst und Kultur
GRMN 20301
 (replacing all sections of GRMN 20300: Kurzprosa aus dem 20. Jahrhundert)

This course is designed to provide students with the tools to analyze and discuss works of art in their historical and cultural contexts, and to prepare them for more advanced coursework in German. Though the syllabus may differ based on the instructor, the course typically includes units on film, short fiction, poetry, and the visual arts. Driving questions include the role of art in society and politics, the construction of German identity through art, and the relationship between art and history. By the end of the quarter, students will have improved their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities, and will have solidified their understanding of select grammatical concepts.
PQ: GRMN 20200 or placement. No auditors permitted. Must be taken for a quality grade. 
Autumn, Winter, Spring

German Language: Third Year Sequence

These courses need not be taken in sequence, three-six are required for a minor or major in Germanic Studies as a college student. Third-year language courses serve as preparation for seminar-style classes conducted in German, including those offered in the department (see undergraduate courses). Students work with a variety of texts and learn to present and participate in instructor- and student-led discussions. Assignments specifically related to grammar, structure, and vocabulary moves students toward more idiomatic use of German. Writing short texts and longer research papers is also part of these third-year language courses.


2021-22 COURSES:

Autumn 2021

Erzählen: German Monsters
GRMN 21103

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted. Third-year German courses (GRMN 21103-21803) need not be taken in any particular order; for more information, please contact the instructor.

Instructor: Elizabeth Ramsey

Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:50pm

What is a monster? Something we fear, something we refuse to classify as human, something deformed? What is the monstrous body? Can we read monstrosity as an expression of anxiety about gender, race, death, sex or illness? From religious and mythic iconography to the present popularity of Marvel films, Western society has always been accompanied by the threat of monsters. Anglophone literary texts such as Jekyll and HydeFrankenstein and Dracula have made a permanent place in the popular imagination for the monsters they created. This course will explore representations of monstrosity in German-language narratives, from nineteenth-century fairy tales as they were collected by the Brothers Grimm to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann and Tieck’s Der Blonde Eckbert, two lasting pillars of German Romanticism, and conclude with early twentieth-century Modernism in the texts of Kafka and Schnitzler, from texts where monsters are often physically present in texts as antagonists to texts where the monsters emerge from within human protagonists, and where the world itself is monstrous and unbearable.

Readings and discussions in German. This course requires two years of prior experience in German and bridges the gap between language courses and undergraduate literature classes, providing practise in reading, discussion, interpreting, and writing.


Arbeitskulturen: Trends in the German-Speaking Working World

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted. Third-year German courses (GRMN 21103-21803) need not be taken in any particular order; for more information, please contact the instructor.

Instructor: Prof. Nicole G. Burgoyne
Meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30-5:50

Imagine you were living in Germany right now. Everyone would be talking about the general election, which takes place on Sunday, September 26th, 2021. This course will begin with a review of Germany’s parliamentary system and move on to major issues that have arisen in the course of this election season. What does it mean that Angela Merkel will leave her position as head of the German government after sixteen years? Why was the leader of the Green Party favored to take her place, but then written off? What does this election mean for the European Union? We will answer these questions by reading newspaper articles and opinion pieces and watching news-related video clips. Students will choose the topic and reading for the final week of class. Assignments for this course are designed to get you to studying or working in Germany. We will practice skills such as effective digital communication, presenting one’s professional biography and opinion, as well as interviewing strategies. Students may tailor major assignments to their specific field or industry of interest with the aim of securing a summer internship, scholarship for summer study, or job. All reading and discussion will be in German.


Winter 2022

Fokus: Film
GRMN 21503

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted. 
This course develops advanced German skill through the study of films of various authors/directors from different eras. Two different film seminars will be offered in Winter of 2022 with more information forthcoming.


Spring 2022

Fokus: Philosophie
GRMN 21403
Instructor: David Kretz (kretz@uchicago.edu)

Dieser Kurs ist eine Einführung in die klassische deutsche Geschichtsphilosophie. Wir folgen einer ihrer wichtigsten Traditionslinien, die uns von Herder über Kant und Schiller zu Hegel führt und schließen mit Walter Benjamin. Der Schwerpunkt liegt auf der aufmerksamen Lektüre (close reading) und Diskussion von Primärquellen. Studenten lernen deutsche philosophische Texte zu verstehen, einzuordnen und in Schrift und Wort zu analysieren. Inhaltlich werden uns unter anderem folgende Fragen beschäftigen: ist geschichtliches Handeln möglich? Wenn ja, unter welchen Bedingungen? Welche Formen nimmt es an? Gibt es geschichtlichen Fortschritt? Wie unterscheiden sich die jeweiligen Perspektiven von Historikern, Philosophen und politischen Akteuren auf die Geschichte?

This class will be an introduction to classical German philosophy of history. We will follow one of its central strands leading from Herder via Kant and Schiller to Hegel before we conclude with a look at Walter Benjamin. Our focus will be on the close reading and discussion of primary sources. Students will learn to critically read and respond to German philosophical texts in the original language, orally and in writing. The following questions will be of particular concern to us: is historical agency possible and if so, what forms can it take? Is there historical progress? How do the perspectives of historians, philosophers, and political agents on history contrast structurally?

Fokus: Medien und Gesellschaft
GRMN 21703
Instructor: Colin Benert (cbenert@uchicago.edu)

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted.
This course develops advanced German skills through the study of media from different periods.

In this course we explore contemporary issues in German culture and society through the lens of contemporary media. This Spring we examine the issues surrounding immigration in German-speaking countries, with special focus on the 2015 refugee crisis and its aftermath, including efforts at integration and the rise of the AfD. After a brief introduction to the post-war history of the media in German-speaking countries, students will explore the issues surrounding immigration by reading texts from online newspapers, journals, social media and other sources. Students will also practice listening skills using a variety of streaming media: newscasts, talk shows, comedy shows, and narrative television series. In our examinations and discussions of these materials, though, we will focus not only on the issues surrounding immigration itself, but also, and especially, the media treatment of these issues. In particular, we will analyze the particular symbolic and discursive frames (e.g. “refugee crisis”) within which immigration issues are presented. In the latter part of the course students will have the opportunity to pursue group research projects, and the content of course assignments will be student-generated.

Other courses not offered this year:

Fokus: Drama (Winter)
GRMN 21603

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted.
This course develops advanced German skill through the study of dramas of various authors/directors from different eras.

Fokus: Gedichte (Spring)
GRMN 21303 

PQ: GRMN 20300 or placement. No auditors permitted.
This course develops advanced German skills through the study of poetry of various authors from different periods.

German Language: Reading Courses

Reading German for Undergraduate Students.
GRMN 13100

Prior knowledge of German not required. No auditors permitted. This course does not prepare students for the competency exam. Must be taken for a quality grade. 
This course prepares students to read a variety of German texts. By the end of the quarter, students should have a fundamental knowledge of German grammar and a basic vocabulary. While the course does not teach conversational German, the basic elements of pronunciation are taught so that students can understand a limited amount of spoken German. 
Spring

Reading German for Research Purposes Prerequisite Course
GRMN 13333

This course is designed for students without prior experience or training in German who wish to take GRMN 33333, Reading German for Research Purposes. The prerequisite for GRMN 33333 is either one year of German language instruction (GRMN 10100-10200-10300) or successful completion of GRMN 13333. In this course, students learn the basics of German grammar and syntax, some basic German vocabulary, and they also begin to learn some of the reading strategies they will need to be successful in GRMN 33333.
Autumn

Reading German For Research Purposes
GRMN 33333, GRMN 23333

Reading German for Research Purposes prepares students to read and do research using scholarly texts in German. Students will build on their fundamental knowledge of German grammar and the most common vocabulary terms used in scholarly writing, while developing reading comprehension skills and working intensively with academic texts in their areas of research specialty. Students who perform well in GRMN 33333/23333 will be able to synthesize key points, arguments and evidence in scholarly texts into their own research. The course also includes practicing the skills necessary to pass the Academic Reading Comprehension Assessment (ARCA) in German, administered by the Office for Language Assessment (OLA). Undergraduate students have the option of taking the ARCA, or completing a final assignment in which they identify, cite, and describe the relevance of multiple German secondary texts in their discipline or to a specific project.
Note: This course may fulfill the graduate language requirement in some departments. Also offered through the Summer Language Institute.

Prerequisites

PQ for 23333: GRMN 10300 or one year of introductory German or the equivalent.
PQ for 33333: While there is currently no strict prerequisite for GRMN 33333, one year of introductory German or the equivalent is highly recommended.


Check the time schedules for quarterly offerings. Also offered through the Summer Language Institute

Reading German For Research Purposes
GRMN 33333
This course prepares students to read and do research in German. Students will gain a fundamental knowledge of German grammar and a basic vocabulary while developing reading comprehension skills and working intensively with scholarly texts in their areas of academic speciality. This course is offered twice each summer. Students should only enroll in one section. NOTE: This course may fulfill the graduate language requirement in some departments. If you are interested in this course specifically to prepare for a German exam at a school other than the University of Chicago, please contact summerlanguages@uchicago.edu to inquire whether this course will meet your needs. GRMN 33300 is not open to students in the Summer Programs for High School Students.
For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Language Institute website.
Summer