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Beginners Course

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Summer Preparation: German

Language work

The course book we use is DaF Kompakt neu (Klett 2016), by Ilse Sander et al and consists of a course book, a practice book and a grammar. There are 3 books which you need to buy:

  • DaF kompakt neu A1-B1 Kursbuch mit MP3-CD (ISBN 978-3-12-676310-3)
  • DaF kompakt neu A1-B1 Übungsbuch mit MP3-CD (ISBN 978-3-12-676311-0)
  • DaF kompakt A1-B1 Grammatik (ISBN 978-3-12-676193-2)

You should work through the first 4 chapters before you come to Cambridge to start your degree course. You will be sent a glossary to help you with this by the course teachers. In your first 2 weeks we will go through these 4 chapters together.

More information on the course book

German Culture: Preparatory reading

It is important that you familiarise yourself with the material involved in the five topics of the GEA3 paper so that you can make informed choices as you move through the year about the topics on which you would like to be supervised. You are advised to concentrate on the texts for which lectures are scheduled in the first term: history, Kafka and Marx. Bear in mind that this preparation will be extremely useful in relation to your language work.

Teaching provision for paper GEA3 consists of seven lectures in Michaelmas Term (October to December), and a further four lectures in Lent Term (January to March). Alongside these lectures, there will be four supervisions in Lent (on four of the paper’s topics), and two revision supervisions in the third term, Easter Term.

Additional resources

  • The best modern reference grammar, which you will need throughout your university course, is Hammer's German Grammar and Usage (M. Durrell, Arnold 2017)
  • You will need a good German-English/English-German dictionary containing around 200,000 items of vocabulary (i.e. not a concise dictionary), e.g. Collins German-English/English-German Dictionary or the Oxford-Duden German Dictionary. Languages change constantly, so use the most recent edition possible.
  • One of your challenges will be acquiring sufficient vocabulary. The course will introduce you to quite a wide range of vocabulary and there are vocabulary trainer apps to go with DaF kompakt which you can buy. You can also help yourself in other ways – e.g. by systematic learning of word-groups. We recommend Using German Vocabulary (S. Fagan, CUP 2004) for this and you will in any case need it later on in your course. If you find it more helpful to see vocabulary in context, you might try looking at some dual-language texts: several are published by Penguin and the German publishers dtv (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag). You can also find texts online.
  • It is important to get used to the sound and the basic structures of German as early as possible. The CDs that go with DaF kompakt will help with that, but there are also many online resources for learning German which include introductory materials, for example, from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, the Goethe Institut; or online courses such as ‘Deutsch lernen’.