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German Language Courses

The German language module is a fundamental part of Marburg’s Summer University. The course is comprised of 72 hours (in class) plus study time for homework and runs for the whole duration of the ISU. In small groups (max. 15 students per group), you will learn German daily from 08:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with highly qualified German language instructors, who are very experienced in teaching German as a foreign language.

ISU Marburg offers German language courses at the proficiency levels A1 to C2 according to the Common European framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). An online placement test will be offered before the start of the official program, to ensure that you will be assigned to the right study group. Further information on the test will be provided in advance. In your class, you will receive specifically prepared study material. Furthermore the individual interest of each course participant will be taken into consideration.

After successful completion of the German language course, you will be awarded 6 ECTS credits.

  • Example Syllabus A1

    Elementary use of language - Beginner A1

    This course introduces the basic structures of the German language. The student develops communicative competences in the areas of reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The course enables the participant to engage in simple conversations in settings such as shopping or restaurants, and to speak in present and (for some verbs) past tense. The student becomes familiar with listening comprehension strategies and develops the ability to extract socio-cultural information from simple texts, accompanied by exercises concerning phonetic particularities in communicative contexts.



    According to the language skills of the students, a selection of:

    simple clauses - “wh”-questions, yes/no-questions – basic word order – personal pronouns (Nom., Akk.) - conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in present tense – verbs with vowel change – separable verbs – modal verbs “müssen”, “können”, “wollen” and “möchten” – the present perfect ‘Perfekt’ - formal imperative – definite, indefinite and negative articles (Nom., Akk., Dat.) – negation with “nicht” and “kein” - nouns and compound nouns (singular and plural, Nom., Akk., Dat.) – conjunctions “und”, ”oder” and “aber” - preposition of time and place – word and sentence stress, word stress in compound nouns



    Speaking: Can interact in a simple way in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics, but communication is totally dependent on rephrasing and repetition at a slower rate of speech. Can greet friends or strangers in an appropriate way and use simple greeting and leave-taking expressions. Can ask and answer questions about personal details, work or family, and other topics from class. The student is also aware of some important phonetic specialties of German and differences from his first language.

    Writing: Has a very basic range of simple expressions about personal details and needs of a concrete type. Can write simple, isolated phrases and sentences or simple texts or poems on known topics. Can enter personal details into a form. Can write short messages to friends and family about daily activities or good wishes. Can write dialogues about shopping, eating, drinking, traveling, etc.

    Listening: Can understand everyday expressions related to immediate needs, as long as speaking partners are willing to talk slowly and clearly, using repetitions. Can understand numbers, prices, time, spelled words, etc.

    Reading: Can understand short and simple texts or visual materials like newspaper articles, statistics, interviews, diary entries, etc. Can get an idea of the content of simple informational material and short simple descriptions, especially if there is visual support. Can understand a form well enough to fill in personal information.

  • Example Syllabus A2

    Elementary use of language - Beginner A2

    The course is for students with basic knowledge of German. The course extends beyond simple communication, focusing instead on the ability to report in structurally more complex sentences about family, friends, future plans, and aspects of the past. Students learn the declension of adjectives and practice reading and listening techniques. They also improve their pronunciation by means of special phonetic exercises and compose their first more formal texts.



    According to the language skills of the students, a selection of:

    dative pronouns - perfect with "sein" and "haben"- possessive articles (Dat.) - questions with "ja/nein/doch"- reflexive verbs – subordinate clauses (relative, causal, temporal) - modal verbs in past tense - position verbs: setzen/sitzen, stellen/stehen, legen/liegen, hängen - changing prepositions (Akk., Dat.) - adjectives in comparative and superlative  - comparative sentences with "als/wie" - adjective declination after the specific and undefined article - Prepositions (local, temporal, different cases) - the verb "werden" – Conjunctive II



    Speaking: Giving advice; expressing wishes; talking about problems in everyday life; giving a mini-presentation; describing pictures; planning a trip; presenting a dialogue; debating about clichés; acting out a scene

    Writing: Commenting on a text; composing a letter, an email or a forum post; writing about a trip, a typical day, a vacation; inventing short dialogues and stories

    Listening: Understanding and replying to different media: radio shows, songs, films/series/videos, dialogues, phone calls, presentations; using techniques to simplify anticipation and segmenting of words

    Reading: Understanding and replying to different texts: forum posts, emails, dialogues, written reports (job life); (fan) commentaries; extracts of novels or short stories; informative texts; using reading techniques to guess words from the context and improve global understanding

  • Example Syllabus B1

    Elementary use of language - Beginner B1

    This course encompasses more complex structures and communicative competences in the German language. Students will gain the ability to express desires and intentions, hypothesizes as well as temporal sequences. They will solidify their ability to communicate in every-day situations such as relationships, weather, family, as well as more complex topics such as literature, music and cultural differences. The course also features more demanding texts for listening and reading comprehension. Students become familiar with socio-cultural information about ecology, work life as well as historical and scientific landmarks. In the realm of writing, the composition of basic types of texts is pursued.



    According to the language skills of the students, a selection of:

    Adjective declination -Personal pronouns -Modal verbs vs. infinitive with “zu” -Main clauses vs. subordinate clauses (including relative clauses) - Conjunctions, adverbs and subjunctions -Conjunctive II - Past tenses, future tenses – passive (present, past, modal verbs) – participle I and II as adjectives – position of ‘nicht’ in sentences – proper usage of ‘nur, nicht, kein … brauchen+zu’ – reflexive pronouns




    Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations on a wide range of subjects related to his/her field of interest, expanding and supporting ideas with subsidiary points and relevant examples.


    Can write straightforward connected texts on a range of familiar subjects within his field of interest, by linking a series of shorter discrete elements into a linear sequence.


    Can understand straightforward factual information about common every day or job related topics, identifying both general messages and specific details, provided speech is clearly articulated in a generally familiar accent.


    Can read straightforward factual texts on subjects related to his/her field and interest with a satisfactory level of comprehension.

  • Example Syllabus C1

    Elementary use of language - Beginner C1

    This course is intended for students who have by and large mastered German and wish to train their use of the language in an academic context. The course encompasses and emphasizes demanding vocabulary and syntax-structures of written German and idiomatic expressions. Students practice reading and listening comprehension of complex texts by means of authentic, current academic and newspaper articles as well as pieces of literature.

    Priority is given to academic composition and the stylistic improvement of linguistic expression. Students gain the ability of active participation in discussions and of writing essays concerning an academically or socially relevant topic.



    According to the language skills of the students, a selection of:

     Attributes (genitive vs. adjectives) - Nominalization and verbalization (causal, final, temporal) - Article words, noun-verb constructions - Nominal vs. verbal style - Prefixes and compounds - Indirect speech - Linking words -Gender markers in nouns



    Speaking: talking about music, Identity, anatomy, colors, quirks and work; describing diagrams, analyzing texts and music; expressing hunches and guesses; defining preferences and arguing about critical topics; short presentations of group works

    Writing: analyzing literature (structure, form, choice of words, intention) and music (rhythm and rhyme); paraphrasing and summarizing; composing a motivational letter; writing an essay 

    Listening: Understanding and replying to different media: radio shows, songs, films/series/videos, dialogues, phone calls, lectures; using techniques to simplify anticipation and segmenting of words 

    Reading: Understanding and replying to different texts: forum posts, emails, dialogues, written reports; extracts of novels and short stories; scientific texts; using reading techniques to guess words from the context and improve global understanding