78675 - German Linguistics 1 (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Blended Learning
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Language, Society and Communication (cod. 8874)

Learning outcomes

The global aim of this course which includes lectures and practical language classes - is to provide students with an expert knowledge of a number of aspects of German linguistics, enabling them not only to communicate effectively in German, but also to think critically about and describe the metalinguistic factors at play in language use. This aim will be achieved by providing students with theoretical knowledge related to one or more of the following areas of German linguistics: phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicology, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, stylistics and corpus linguistics. The focus of the course will be on real language use, with authentic texts (written and/ or spoken, belonging to different registers) and electronic language corpora used as examples. Language classes aim to improve students’ linguistic competence; over the two year period students’ knowledge of German should reach level C 1.2 according to the European framework in all four abilities. These classes will work in connection with the lectures to improve students’ writing skills in particular.

Course contents

1. The course consists of 60 hours of formal classes (lezioni frontali), during the 1st semester. This course is mainly thought for first year students but also open for 2nd year students of LSC. First lesson: 3.10.2023

Main subject of the course: Spoken Language in German

The aim of the course is to equip students with the conceptual and methodological tools necessary for the analysis of spoken language in German. The course will involve analysis of a range of linguistic phenomena typical of spoken language, together with communication strategies, and will introduce key concepts from the fields of sociolinguistics and pragmatics, starting with those particularly relevant to spoken language such as variety, register, conversational routines and rituals etc.

The course consists of a core of in-presence sessions, which will be complemented by a number of sessions held online.

From the point of view of its contents, the course is organised into three modules, with each module followed by an evaluation.

The first module, consisting mainly of direct in-presence teaching, aims to provide an overview of the different varieties of the German language. Through the use of recorded examples (audio/video), students will be able to observe various communication strategies in action, and thus begin to make practical use of the sociolinguistic and pragmatic categories that they have been introduced to.
Type of evaluation after the first module: multiple choice questions (November)

The second module will be dedicated to quantitative/qualitative analysis of various aspects of spoken German. A ‘mixed methods’ approach will be used (see below), and students will be introduced to the use of digital techniques for the investigation of discourse strategies in a corpus of oral narrations. A key role in cross-checking data will be played by the MAXQDA quantitative/qualitative software. Students will learn to use this software autonomously, working in groups on material derived from the corpus.
Type of evaluation after the second module: individual class presentation (December)

The third module concentrates on qualitative analysis of the oral narrations from the corpus. The aim is to examine thematic continuity and the way cohesion is achieved both in narrations and in dialogues.
Type of evaluation after the third module: oral interview (January)

2.This course goes together with a language learning course (36 hours, esercitazioni, 1st semester) with Enrico Mina please check the official timetable. First lesson: date will be announced. 

The language learning course includes an introduction to the techniques of academic writing in German, focusing on types of text such as thesis/term paper, lecture summaries, project descriptions, etc..

Further information and teaching materials will be made available.


General Readings

Duden (2009): Die Grammatik. 9., völlig neu erarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Hrsg. von der Dudenredaktion. Mannheim u.a., Dudenverlag [chapter "Die gesprochene Sprache"]. on-line 

Maibauer, Jörg (2008): Pragmatik, Tübingen (Stauffenberg) (pag. on-line)

Schwitalla, Johannes (2012): Gesprochenes Deutsch, Berlin (Schmidt Verlag), pag. on-line

ders., (2000), “Mit Händen und Füßen reden. Sprachliche und nicht-sprachliche Symbolsysteme in der mündlichen Kommunikation”, (on-line)

on-line tools
Textanalyseportal (University of Bielefeld):


oral language Corpora: Datenbank für Gesprochenes Deutsch


More specific texts and on-line resources for the modules will be indicated at the beginning of the course. Most material will be available on the platform Virtuale.

Language learning course
 (esercitazioni di lingua)

The material follows the CEFR's theoretical and methodological principles and are suitable for university students. Further information will be given at the beginning of the language learning course.

Teaching methods

The course is part of the project of innovative didactics of the University of Bologna and will be combine place-based formal classes with online educational materials and opportunities for interaction.

Assessment methods

1. Formal classes (with Prof. Thüne)

Type of evaluation after the first module: multiple choice questions (November)

Type of evaluation after the second module: individual class presentation (December)

Type of evaluation after the third module: oral interview (January) 

Non-attending students have to take a written and an oral exam about textanalysis; further information on the official website (“Contenuti utili”).

2. Language learning course

The language learning course involves a written assessment:
- for the participants: a 'short' written term paper ("Hausarbeit") of 4 pages (cover page, bibliography etc. excluded), on a subject to be agreed with the lecturer
- for those who do not attend: a full 6-page written term paper ("Hausarbeit") (cover page, bibliography etc. excluded), on a subject to be agreed with Enrico Mina

The final mark for the course “German Linguistics” will be a combination of the exam results from the part held by Prof. Thüne and the language course held by N.N., with the former counting double.

Students have the right to refuse the final mark for the course and take the whole exam again. Before taking this step students and in particular those about to graduate should be aware that for the practical language part of the course there is only one exam day per session.

Teaching tools

texts and audio and video corpora, power point presentations, exercises and use of internet platforms

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Eva-Maria Christina Charlotte Thune


Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.