German

Entering students who have previously studied German for three or more years should take the German Department's Placement Test during New Student Orientation (it is not given at any other time). The department uses the results of the Placement Test to recommend the appropriate starting point for each student. Students with prior German usually place into GRM 221, 310, or 302/303.

The study of German language and culture opens new horizons onto literary, artistic, historical, social and philosophical arenas. German language classes at Grinnell College emphasize communication skills, giving students the skills to function at all linguistic levels, from the everyday to the abstract. Upper-division courses focus on the cultures of German-speaking Europe. Since Germany, Austria, and Switzerland lie at the crossroads of Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Europe, the study of German offers a unique opportunity for looking at cross-cultural and international issues.

The basic language sequence in German is 101, 102, 221 and 222. All courses emphasize spoken proficiency. German 121, an accelerated first-year course, is offered in some years. For the non-major who wishes to do research in his/her major field or acquire communication skills, the recommended program is German 101 through German 310. The sequence 101-102 equips the student to read German with heavy reliance on a dictionary, while mastering all of the principles of German grammar. The 221-222 sequence offers a complete review of grammar coupled with readings of growing levels of sophistication. By the end of German 222 students write 5-7 page papers entirely in German. German 310 is an advanced composition course that draws on contemporary cultural materials and develops advanced writing and reading skills.

The department offers some courses at the 200 level in English. These include German 227 (Holocaust literature, taught in the Spring), and German 233 (German cinema, taught in the fall).

Off-campus study, usually in Freiburg or Berlin, is recommended for majors and available to non-majors. For students who wish to study in a German-speaking country, the equivalent of German 101 through 222 is required, and at least one 300-level course is recommended. The department also recommends 4 credits in European, preferably German, culture and history in such departments as Art, History, and Philosophy.

It is entirely possible for students who have no prior German language training to major in German, as the four-year plan below indicates.

FIRST YEAR FALL   FIRST YEAR SPRING
GRM 101   GRM 102
SECOND YEAR FALL   SECOND YEAR SPRING
GRM 221   GRM 222
THIRD YEAR FALL   THIRD YEAR SPRING
GRM 302   GRM 303, GRM 372
4 cognate credits   or study in Germany
FOURTH YEAR FALL   FOURTH YEAR SPRING
GRM 3XX   GRM 372, GRM 495