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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Beginners Course: German

All beginners will spend one year preparing for the Part IA examination in German. The first-year course will concentrate heavily on acquiring the basic elements of the language, with an introduction to a variety of authentic texts, including literary texts. The course introduces students to all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and translation so that in the second year beginners are able to take part in more advanced language classes.

There are 4 hours of Faculty classes a week led by two Faculty Language Teaching Officers, both native speakers of German, Ms Silke Mentchen and Mrs Maren de Vincent-Humphreys.

Groups are not too big, so they are able to give individual attention to each student's needs. You will receive feedback on your work and progress throughout the year.

Additional teaching takes place in College supervisions in small groups (1 hour per week). The supervisions are tailored to individual needs and very supportive.

In addition to their language work, all ab initio students take a course (GeA3, a ‘scheduled paper’) which acts as an introduction to the German-speaking world through literature from all periods, culture, thought and history. This also offers a taster of the different areas of academic teaching and research in German at Cambridge so that students are ready for the range of choices offered in the second year and beyond.

We help with organising trips to Germany. The German Section has long-standing links to a language school in Berlin, where our students can go and stay with host families.

Most ab initio groups quickly become very close-knit since students see each other almost every day. Therefore the atmosphere in the class tends to be very open, relaxed and friendly, which is obviously a 'plus' for successful learning and the students form friendships that last through their years at Cambridge and beyond.

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