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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Post A-Level Course: German

In your first year at Cambridge, you will increase your fluency in German, deepen your understanding of the cultures of German speaking countries, and develop essential skills in analysis and argumentation.

The first-year course consists of a combination of lectures and classes arranged by the Section and mostly taking place at the Sidgwick Avenue site, and of supervisions arranged by the colleges.

The weekly Use of German classes are designed to help you consolidate and extend your grammar and vocabulary, to improve your reading comprehension and to advance your written German. You will also receive weekly language supervisions, organised by your College, covering both written and oral skills.

In your fortnightly translation classes, you will be exposed to a wide variety of texts in German. This acts as further training in comprehension, but accuracy is only the beginning. The exercise also requires you to respond creatively, paying attention to the nuances of both the source language (German) and the target language (English). You will develop your skills both in class discussion and independently, in the written work set in each session.

Literature, History, Culture, Linguistics

In addition to their language work, all post A-Level students take a course (Ge1, a ‘scheduled paper’) which acts as an introduction to the German-speaking world through literature from all periods, film, linguistics, 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.

Students attend 24 lectures for this paper, and normally receive 10 supervisions, organised by their College, at fortnightly intervals over the course of the year. Lectures provide the background to each topic, and supervisions are your opportunity to explore the material in more depth. In advance of each supervision, you submit an essay on a topic set by your supervisor, and you receive detailed personal feedback on your work in the session.

Your summer preparation must focus on both aspects of your future course in German: the study of language and the study of literature, linguistics, culture and history.

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