I started as a pronunciation coach just as Covid-19 hit and now another month has passed without the opportunity to properly speak face to face with each other. However, we seem to make progress with the help of good U tube lessons which are abundantly available if one looks for them. I hope I was able to match appropriate lessons to the various beginners or advanced members. We are now beginning to listen to and read full stories. When we can finally meet again it will be interesting to see how well members can converse in German with each other. A trip to Germany may be a while away, but when it`s possible again, travel certainly helps to be able to converse. It amazes me how much I have relearned, after 60 years of living in Australia, during these last 8 months.
During July members received a lot of new topics on normal life with new vocabulary, reinforced by selected You tube lessons to acquire good pronunciation of the written material. The advanced members will have a good knowledge of proper pronunciation and should have no problems to read Romulus with Pauline in the Spring, if motivated to follow the suggestions provided. It takes motivation to teach one's tongue to acquire the different sounds of the ABC in German. It has been an interesting month for me to find the required URLs in YouTube. If I have encouraged some members to spend some time looking at the suggested URLs or to investigate further to find more, I will be very happy to have been of some help. It is a pleasure to do this job.
German Conversation - Coaching lessons via E-mail in two parts, for beginners & advanced class members
Building on the good work of Pauline over the last years, I have attempted this month to make class members aware that there is a distinct difference in the pronunciation of the English and German ABC.
Because of the limited time I was acquainted with the members and due to the Corona virus non meeting restrictions, I had no knowledge of how advanced different members were. So I sent my weekly coaching lessons via E-mail in two parts, for beginners and advanced members, making good use of German lesson YouTube contributions and my weekly general German writings, so members could pick according to how advanced they felt. I have heard no complaints, so I assume everyone is satisfied with that approach.
The second act of Romulus was issued by Pauline, giving members an enormous amount of new vocabulary. Hopefully my pronunciation coaching will help to achieve a nice clear reading of the comedy in the spring time. It`s a pleasure to help out as much as I can. I learn a lot, too, doing this.
May has been another very busy month in the six activity streams.
1. Individual tutorials. These will conclude at the end of May. Elementary group members who elected to pursue this avenue when we went into lockdown will then have sufficient grammar to articulate into the other streams to improve their language skills.
2. & 3. Phone friends and e-penpals were changed for the new month. General everyday spoken or written conversations are the theme.
4. An original article delivered into inboxes most weeks continues to be very popular. The English translation arrives a couple of days later to those who want it. It is also used as a medium for pronunciation practice by phone.
5. The perpetual sentence has the theme of our personal experiences around the coronavirus. Most members have contributed to it now.
6. The play. Act 1 went out at the beginning of the month and parts have been allocated. People who would benefit from pronunciation coaching are honing their parts before the next act comes out at the beginning of the next month. The play reading will proceed in September.
I would like to acknowledge the reliable support and friendship of Janet Martens, who has made it fun to deliver a programme together under challenging circumstances. We extend to Horst Gunther our ongoing support and best wishes as he takes on the role of convenor over winter.
The German Conversation Group has continued to be very active during April. Group members have been allotted a phone friend and an email friend. Weekly emails have been sent and phone calls have been made in order to improve our German writing and speaking skills. The month of May will see us changing communication partners so that we can continue emails and phone calls with a new group member.
We have started a Perpetual Sentence which will gradually reach each group member over the next couple of weeks. This should be an interesting story when we all get together again. Horst has written and emailed some pieces for us to read in German. This is an excellent learning opportunity for all of us. Reading, spelling and grammar can be learned from these pieces. The Play will be a highlight for the group. Act 1 is on schedule to come out at the beginning of next month.
Most importantly, we are still communicating, learning and keeping in contact. Stay safe everyone.
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
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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