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GEA3: Introduction to the German Language 3 - German Culture and Literature


The paper consist of three components: a critical appreciation from a set text in German literature, a translation into English from another set text and short essay in German on either a general topic or one relating to the set texts.

Aims and objectives: 

The aims and objectives of this paper are to help ab initio students of German develop two of the four core skills of language learning: reading and writing, to acquaint them with short texts in classical German literature: a 19th century novella and three short stories by Thomas Mann and to help them acquire and develop the skills needed for critical analysis and appreciation of literature.

Course materials: 

The paper is set on two texts, and on language work on three specific topic areas.

The two texts are:

  • E. T. A. Hoffmann, Das Fräulein von Scuderi
  • 3 Erzählungen by Thomas Mann: Unordnung und frühes Leid, Der kleine Herr Friedemann and Mario und der Zauberer

The three topic areas are:

Die Deutschen und ihre Geschichte
Familie und Gesellschaft
Kunst und Literatur

Teaching and learning: 

Teaching for this paper is spread out over the year: essay writing is practised in all three terms as part of the weekly oral practice supervisions with materials mainly based on the texts for oral practice and, later in the year, past papers. In the third term, critical appreciation and analysis of the set texts are taught in four supervisions. Translation out of the language is practised in conjunction with the teaching of the set texts and also in conjunction with the teaching for Paper GEA2. 

Learning resources:

Learning resources can be found on the ab initio German Moodle. The enrolment password can be collected from the paper coordinator.


Assessment through regular homework assignments for the essay component throughout the year. Assessment for literature component through homework essays for supervisions on the set texts. A three-hour examination at the end of the first year, consisting of one (seen) text for translation into English from one of the set texts (30%), a commentary on a passage from the other set text (30%) and an essay in German (40%).  The paper counts for 100%.

For all Department of German past papers, see here. Examiners’ Reports can be found here.

Course Contacts: 
Annemarie Künzl-Snodgrass
Silke Mentchen