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Unformatted text preview: Reading Strategies for German GER 101 202 Purdue University: Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures Reading a text in German (or in any foreign language) may be very intimidating at first. After all, you are only at the beginning or intermediate level, right? You will be surprised at how much German you can already read and understand without a dictionary. The key is that you know the right strategies before you sit down and try to figure out a text. The following tips are meant to introduce you to some of these strategies. Your German instructor may have time to practice some of them with you in class or in his/her office hours. Please read them all the way through to the end you never know how helpful this information may be now or later. Some of the strategies may be a little more difficult for students in 101 (or 102), although they should still be relevant in a general way to everyone learning German. The first thing you should keep in mind is that you cant expect to understand every word of a German text. In other words, do not try to translate a reading passage from English to German. This is a very time-consuming task and most of your time will be wasted as you look up tons of words that you will promptly forget. You need to start to grow comfortable with the following general ways to go about reading: guessing what words may mean without knowing the exact meaning skimming a text to understand the gist (the general meaning) inferring the meaning of words from context being very selective with what words you need to look up in a dictionary (if any!) In the section to follow, we will walk you through more specific reading strategies that you should be familiar with and practice as you read short or long texts. 1 Strategy 1: integrating background knowledge and visual cues A text or a book is more than just that: it may include titles, subtitles, captions, pictures, a book cover, maps, charts and symbols. Always look over these clues to develop more background knowledge. For instance, if you are looking at a paragraph that describes a city, and there are a few pictures right next to the paragraph, you should look first at the pictures. What you can guess about the city? (where is it?, what is the weather like there? 1 These strategies are taken from Schemata by Beverly Moser, Dolly Young, and Darlene F. Wolf, published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston in New York (1997)....
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course GER 201 taught by Professor Schorder during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.
- Fall '08