LCL 17: A German Language Course on Historical and Linguistic Principles (2nd ed.)

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A German Language Course on Historical and Linguistic Principles (2nd ed.)

Hermann Bluhme & Dmitri Milinski
Universiteit Antwerpen

The people of England and Germany share a common origin from the times of their settlement in Europe and they derive their culture and civilisation from the same sources in the antique and medieval world of Graeco-Roman learning. This course in basic German is built on these foundations; it is designed for speakers of English and others with a good grasp of the English language and draws particular attention to the vocabulary shared by both English and German. Word pairs of similar meaning and form are presented in groups according to the sound laws which determine their relationship, for instance English t corresponds to German z (pronounce /ts/) in tame – zahm, tongue – Zunge, tin – Zinn, twelve – zwölf and other words. Learners can take advantage of this similarity, which occurs with vowels as well as consonants, to help them learn vocabulary more quickly as well as to guess the meaning of an unknown word. Another chapter has been devoted to the common European cultural heritage of Greek, Latin, French, Italian and Spanish vocabulary which is shared by English, German, Dutch and many other languages.

The words chosen may not always be of so-called “practical use” that are most frequently taught in conventional language courses. Instead, we advise the learner to read German literature carefully, to listen to speech produced for real communication and to learn suitable phrases and texts, songs or verses by heart as soon as he feels ready. There are longer pieces covering a variety of text types at the end of the course as examples of suitable study material for the learner. The grammar, too, has been selected carefully for this course. It should show how these closely related languages have many points of general agreement and fine disagreement in phonetics, phonology, semantics and syntax. The authors have incorporated the results of linguistic research into the material, covering phonetics and many points of grammar in order to achieve two aims of language teaching. These are to provide insight into another culture and to afford a glimpse of another way to look at ideas, the world and oneself; this course offers learners a new perspective from which to approach these goals.

When necessary for pedagogical reasons, the authors have neglected purely historical principles of linguistics, such as in the presentation of the strong verb, word order, tenses and particles; instead, these points of grammar have been enriched by modern discoveries in linguistics. The course is not structured for gradual progress, from easy to difficult; therefore you can cover the units in almost any order you prefer. The reader is advised to learn the smallest chapters as whole units including the numerous examples in order to reinforce the pattern of sound shifts between both languages, and it is left up to the learner where he wants to start after the chapter Basics. For the English translation of vocabulary frequent reference to the word lists at the end is recommended, but the use of a dictionary will prove to be helpful.

The second edition makes the structure more easily accessible for the reader. A few notes on the relation between both Germanic peoples have been added. Texts and examples have been revised. A short chapter on how to “read” a text has been added.

ISBN 9783862880423. LINCOM Coursebooks in Linguistics 17 (2nd edition). 410pp. 2011. Students' discounts avaiable. Please ask!

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