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Language Study

Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The Department of German and Scandinavian at the University of Oregon strives to educate students who are linguistically and culturally equipped to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad and thus afford them the opportunity to position themselves for professional and academic success as global citizens.

We are committed not only to developing students’ communication skills in a second language, but also to teaching them to analyze cultural and literary texts, conduct and present original research, access and evaluate multiple points of view, and develop life-long language learning strategies. We help students develop the ability to appreciate diversity and think critically from beginning language through advanced-level language study. Our study abroad programs provide students the opportunity to experience, analyze, and understand linguistic and cultural differences while improving language skills.

Language students will develop skills in the following five areas:

Communication–is at the heart of second language study, whether the communication takes place face-to-face, in writing, or across centuries through the reading of literature.

  • Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • They learn to understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics and present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of instructors and fellow students or readers.

Culture–our language classes strive to allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of the cultures of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

  • Students will gain an understanding of the relationship between German, Austrian, and Suisse cultural practices and perspectives and will also gain an understanding of the relationship between cultural products of these countries.

Connections–our language classes welcome students of all disciplines and also strive to connect students with other disciplines so that they may acquire information beyond the study of language.

  • Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through German as a foreign language.
  • Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the unique perspective of German language and culture study.

Comparisons–students develop insight into the nature of language and culture.

  • Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons between German and English.
  • Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons between German language and culture and their own.

Communities–students participate in multilingual communities at home & around the world.

  • Students use German both within and beyond the formalized classroom setting by participating in the many extra-curricular events offered at the university and the larger community.
  • Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using German for personal enjoyment and enrichment in a variety of contexts such as the Global Scholars Language Immersion environment.

Our German Language courses offer a curriculum that stimulates debate, identifies areas of attention, includes both majority and minority perspectives, and meets the needs of our discipline and our students. We are also committed to developing and expanding outreach programs to promote language proficiency in the wider community, broaden understanding of the German-speaking world, and facilitate collaborations between German Studies and German K-12 programs in schools.

All German language students should complete the B-1 level of the internationally recognized Goethe Institute exam, which follows the EU frame of reference for scholastic performance (CEFR) and the Intermediate-Mid to High level of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This entails the ability to converse in German on a wide range of topics, to comprehend basic German texts, and to write on non-technical topics.

German Majors additionally should be able to complete the C-1 level of the language in the CEFR or Advanced-Mid to High of the ACTFL standards. This means the ability to converse in German on a wide range of topics, including academic topics, to comprehend and analyze German texts, and to write critically on a broad range of topics.

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