Some Tips for Your Language Learning:
1. Have fun with the new language. Be
bold and daring, experiment with new sounds and new structures and don't
be afraid to make mistakes. In a beginning language course students frequently
feel like they are being propelled back to a child-like stage in which
they are lacking the necessary words or structures to be able to express
themselves. Try not to focus on the frustrating aspects of this situation
Instead, remember how much fun you used to have as a small child trying
out new words and sounds. Learn from little children by thinking back about
how often they repeat the same phrase over and over again, ask the same
questions hundreds of times, and have the ability to be silly with the
language. We are all here to learn, so don't be embarrassed! Instead, enjoy
being able to learn to communicate in a whole new language!
2. Learning a foreign language is
not primarily a cerebral process but involves acquiring new speech habits
through imitation and repetition, i.e., physical activity of your speech
organs. Always read and speak out aloud whatever you are learning.
3. Study in short but frequent
periods of time; this is more effective for absorbing and retaining the
material than long but sporadic periods of cramming. Avoid tedium by limiting
lab and computer exercises to 30 to 40 minutes.
4. This is a demanding course with
a fast pace. Unless you are a Wunderkind, you cannot afford to cut
classes and fall behind. If you neglect your daily work, it will take a
superhuman effort to catch up. (If you feel underprepared, do come to class
and tell us before class or drill - we will exercise benign neglect. )
5. Please be reminded that drill
is a required part of German I. You are expected to be mentally and physically
present at all drill sessions. Drill affords you an opportunity to practice
the grammar and vocabulary presented in class. Please do not ask
your drill instructor grammar questions during drill; it interrupts the
rhythm of the session. Bring all of your grammar questions to class. (Your
classmates probably have the same questions!) Also, please let your instructor
know immediately about any problems in your drill. Too often problems
that could have been easily solved at the beginning of the term are first
expressed on course evaluations at the end of the term.
6. Language learning is an accumulative
process, thus you cannot afford to forget what you have learned two or
four weeks ago. Review regularly, especially your individual weak
7. Before starting a new chapter
(when "Bausteine" are assigned), please take a good look at the entire
chapter for your overview orientation and to get a feel for the structures
and principal contents of grammar and vocabulary.
8. Do your daily dose of German
when you are alert, awake, and relaxed. That way you will retain things
much better than when you are sleepy or exhausted from jogging. (But you
still can listen to a tape of the language lab drills on your walk-man
while jogging; frequent repetition of the work you have already
done is an excellent way of improving your language skills!)
9. Do feel free to consult with
your instructor during office hours or after having made a quick appointment
(you can e-mail us any time). Don't hesitate to ask for clarification if
you feel something is less than crystal-clear to you.
10. We encourage students with learning
disabilities and other "invisible" and chronic diseases to consult with
us during office hours so that we can discuss appropriate accommodations.