There were no classes in March, due to the public holiday and then the sudden closure of all U3A. This means that there is a poor base on which to do any distance learning. Most students are going to work alone, with a few being tutored individually.
Conversation - 'Our plan is to be so mentally busy doing our German that we get our minds off this coronavirus angst...'
The first class for the month fell on the public holiday. Undeterred, those who were not otherwise committed travelled to view musical shows at a member‘s home theatre in great comfort. Thank you Horst for the invitation and drinks, also Lin and Judy for the food. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will think of our last time together longingly, even as we look forward to repeating the experience at the end of the year.
The second class was abruptly cancelled due to the U3A directive. We have quickly set ourselves up for many months of distance learning. Firstly, there is a ‘phone a friend‘ set-up to speak German on a weekly basis to a different person month by month. Secondly, we have a different ‘pen pal‘ every month with whom to practice our written communication weekly by email. Thirdly, a written piece will be circulated weekly to expand our comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation. Perhaps our most ambitious project is to study a 4 act play, so that we can do a play reading at the end of the year when we are together again. The main challenge is how to get the material to everyone. We will also have a perpetual sentence, in which everyone will contribute. At the end of our confinement, we will have a story to tell. Lastly, several members will be individually tutored.
It‘s almost as if we were a group travelling down a road when this blockade set us another route, one by which we are travelling in different pairings. Our plan is to be so mentally busy doing our German that we get our minds off this coronavirus angst. Just keep well everyone!
Report on German Language 10th February 2020
The topic for the first conversation group of the year was the weather. Starting with ordinary day to day conversation and a quick review of the pronunciation of the German ABC, the dialogue did move into more extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall, floods and storms, followed finally with a German to English translation exercise.
Report on German Language 24th February 2020
Starting with ordinary day to day German conversation, the topic for the day was writing a postcard in German to each other. Every postcard was read by the writer and positively improved and corrected, much to the delight of the members. I enjoy the group work.
This is the second year I have presented German language at the beginner level and an even greater emphasis is being placed on pronunciation. Students are two-thirds of the way through speaking and singing through the German phonetic alphabet. Listening skills are being honed so they can reproduce the sounds correctly in speech and writing. Spelling has started using German sounds.
The sessions this year are an hour and a half long and we romp through the time. The first session was devoted to verbs in the present tense and adverbs. At home, students have made their own little books of German verbs and are learning to decline verbs from memory with increasing speed.
The next lesson was spent looking at nouns. Unlike English which has no genders, German has 3. We explored nouns looking at which gender category into which they fell.
In German ‘the‘ changes across these genders and also depending on what position (or case) is has in the sentence. There is no such equivalent in English and it is arguably one of the major challenges for learners. We made a start in looking at this, as well as pronoun changes in the sentence.
Overall, students have a vocabulary of close to two hundred words already.
2nd Monday 12 to 1.30 pm 4th Monday 10 to 11.30 am Commences: Monday 10 February
2nd Monday 12.00 to 1.30pm (Library) 4th Monday 12.00 to 1.30pm (U3A) Commences: Monday 10 Feb
Both groups – Elementary and Conversation - are of about equal size with about half new and half returning members in each. For both groups, participants will need some form of notetaking and a German/English- English/German dictionary.
The topic for the first conversation group of the year is the weather. Starting with ordinary day to day conversation, the dialogue will move into more extreme weather events, such as floods, bushfires, earthquakes and tsunamis, ending with climate change. Participants need to come prepared with a list of the relevant vocabulary. Janet will be taking this in the library.
Simultaneously, the elementary group will be meeting in the U3A room with Pauline. Topics will be pronunciation, verbs in the present tense and adverbs.
Convenor: Pauline Bailey
Here are details of the German courses being offered in 2020:
German - Conversation
Janet Martens and Pauline Bailey
2nd Monday 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm - Library
4th Monday 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm - U3A
This informal group is suitable for those who attended German in 2019 and for those who already have an understanding of the language. Fluent speakers are encouraged to join.
German - Elementary
2nd Monday 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm - U3A
4th Monday 10:00 am to 11:30 am - U3A
March, April, May.
This course is pitched to the beginner. A German-English dictionary, notepaper and pen are recommended. By year's end, participants can expect to have an understanding of spoken and written German and be able to speak and write it at a reasonable level of competency. Fortnightly classes will be held in the Autumn and Spring months.
Source: Programs and Activities Guide 2020
One of our presentations planned for last month was held over and created a lot of interest. It came with notes in German and the English translation, so we were somewhat spoilt.
The grammatical component looked at different versions verb tenses in the past and future.
An exercise in dictation proved more challenging than expected and ran over 2 sessions.
The number of songs stands at 6 in total, after a new one by request.
At the end, time was spent planning for next year over a shared lunch. Next year a conversational group will be held fortnightly. We were so busy chatting that no time was left for singing!
Sessions in October have followed a similar format to that in September.
Pronunciation work continued with honing of the German phonetic alphabet and short readings.
Presentations covered 2 quite different topics. Two members shared their memories of coming to Australia as post-war immigrants. Others spoke about German language internet programmes.
The grammar continued a closer look at adjectives, including comparatives and superlatives. At the other session we looked at interrogative, relative and possessive pronouns.
Our repertoire of songs increased at each session.
The one hour sessions always flew, but now we are thinking and speaking in German, they go in a whoosh. The pressure of time makes it too easy to lapse into English. Hence, it has been decided to extend the sessions by 15 minutes. On the first meeting of the month i.e. October 14 and November 11, class will start 11.45 a.m. and finish at 1.00 p.m. On the second meeting of the month i.e. October 28 and November 25, class will start at noon and finish at 1.15 p.m. Participants are asked to amend their diaries accordingly.
We welcomed a new member, whose first language was German, to our group. His input in just one session has been appreciated.
Two of our members, who have adult children living in Germany, made presentations and then fielded questions in German. These were very interesting and the preparation time was impressive. A third member presented riddles in German, and we had to guess the answer, in German of course.
The smaller group has meant that sessions are of a more informal, tutorial style. Pronunciation is being perfected. In achieving this, a fourth member has taken us back to basics and we are mastering the sounds of the alphabet in German. Other activities have included chess pieces and placements, a crossword puzzle with clues and answers in German, furthering our knowledge of grammar by using adjectives and verbs as nouns, and learning another German song.
It is a great joy that everyone is such a willing and enthusiastic participant; my gratitude to all.
A reminder that German resumes on Monday 9th September at 12 noon in the library. The next session will be Monday 23 September, same time, same place.
Participants are asked to wear their name badges and bring dictionaries, pen and paper. It would also be a good idea to revise notes from 1st semester beforehand.
Meanwhile, as many of us as possible hope to go to the German film, „Never Look Away“ being screened in German with English sub-titles at Swanpool Cinema on September 1st.
During Semester 1 2019 'German for Beginners' was introduced, followed by in Spring for continuing students and new members with a good grasp of the fundamentals of the German language.
Convenor Contact Details
0434 147 605
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