German course outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant German course outline for your level. If you want to cover the same course outline in a shorter period of time, we also offer One-Week Online Courses and 5-week Courses.

German Beginner 1

This beginners course is based on the first 8 units of the book ‘Menschen A1’.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Introductions – inc. greetings, saying how you are, where you come from, where you live, what you do, telephone number, marital status, children, etc.
  • Professions
  • Alphabet and numbers
  • Family and friends
  • Prices and shopping
  • Asking about things and describing things – likes and dislikes
  • Telephoning, emails and texting.
  • Confirming and cancelling an appointment
  • Times of the day
  • Talking about abilities (Du kannst ja super tanzen!)
  • Asking for permission (Kann ich mal telefonieren?)
  • Making arrangements
  • Hobbies and leisure time activities – likes and dislikes (usage of gern/e)

Grammar:

  • Basic questions statements and negatives– including questions with question words and yes/no questions
  • Verb endings (conjugation) of regular and some irregular verbs in the present tense
  • You – formal and informal
  • Basic word order – statements, questions
  • Gender and indefinite/ definite articles / possessive articles / negation
  • Pronouns (Nominative)
  • Numbers/ Alphabet
  • Singular and plural
  • Separable verbs
  • Sentence structure with separable verbs or modal verbs
  • Modal verb können
  • Accusative case
  • Core prepositons

Cultural Content:

  • You – formal and informal
  • Usage of titles (Herr and Frau)
  • Life in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Basic pronunciation rules
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice, e.g. emails, texts

German Beginner 2

This beginners course is based on units 9 – 16 of the book ‘Menschen A1’, and includes some revision of earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about food and drink.
  • Asking for information – getting around town
  • Talking about past events
  • Schedules and timetables – daily activities
  • Dates, months, seasons : talking about travel
  • Interviews
  • Asking and giving directions
  • Everyday life in a city – inc. where can you do what, where to go, transport, etc.
  • Houses and flats
  • Descriptions and opinions
  • Asking for help

Grammar:

  • Perfekt tense
  • Adverbs of time
  • Modal verb mögen
  • Akkusativ and Genetiv pronouns
  • The dative case
  • Prepositions of place, time and modal

Cultural Content:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Revisiting pronunciation rules and numbers
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice e.g. a simple letter (enquiry), emails, texts, biographies

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Revisiting pronunciation rules and numbers
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice e.g. a simple letter (enquiry), emails, texts, biographies

German Beginner 3

This course is based on Units 17 – 24 of ‘Menschen A1’, and includes some revision of earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about plans and wishes
  • Parts of the body : pains and ills
  • Giving advice
  • Requests and orders
  • Smalltalk – talking about people (appearance, personality)
  • Activities in the house
  • Giving explanations
  • Talking about rules – TRAFFIC, THE ENVIRONMENT, ETC.
  • Clothes : descriptions and prices
  • The Weather
  • Invitations
  • Parties and Celebrations
  • Giving congratulations

Grammar:

  • Modal verbs woollen, sollen, dürfen, müssen
  • Imperative (Sie)
  • The Past Tense (Präteritum) : war, hatte
  • Usage of Perfekt and Präteritum in spoken and written German
  • Conjunctions (denn)
  • Konjunktiv II (würde)
  • Comparisons and Similarities

Cultural Content:

  • Climate, weather, seasonal activities

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice e.g. text messages/short e-mails
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Elementary 1

This course is based on first 8 units of the book ‘Menschen A2’.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Family activities and events.
  • Talking about careers
  • Family stories
  • Giving orders
  • Using and moving equipment, furniture
  • Shopping – food/drink, packaging and weights
  • Making plans together
  • Suggestions, expressing preferences
  • Opinions – travel and tourism
  • Reading brochures and displays
  • Landscapes and the natural world
  • Health, sickness, accidents : sympathy, caring, expressing hope

Grammar:

  • Review of verbs (Präteritum, Perfekt, Imperativ, etc.)
  • Directional and temporal adverbs
  • Adjectives and the indefinite and definite articles
  • Wordbuilding (verb + -er, -ung)
  • Prepositions of movement and state
  • Time prepositions
  • Conjunctions weil, deshalb
  • Konjunktiv II : könnte, sollte
  • Subordinate clause with wenn
  • Verbs plus preposition
  • Dative-object, dative pronoun and accusative pronoun

Cultural Content:

  • Travelling
  • Foreigners in Germany
  • Health and fitness
  • School and education

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Elementary 2

This course will be based on Units 9 – 16 of ‘Menschen A2’, and includes some revision of the earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Worklife
  • Expressing importance
  • Eating out : restaurants
  • Ordering, asking about things, making complaints
  • Thanks and congratulations
  • Comparisons
  • Nutrition, food and drink
  • Expressing surprise and pleasure
  • Talking about language learning experiences
  • Learning tips
  • Post and telecommunications – instructions, personal letters
  • The Media, Television
  • Hotels and reservations
  • Directions and getting around

Grammar:

  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Present passive
  • Verbs with the dative and accusative
  • Abject position
  • Indirect questions : ob, wie langwe
  • Adjectives after the “zero” article
  • Dass, wenn, als
  • Reflexive verbs
  • Place prepositions

Cultural content:

  • Talking about leisure and travel in Germany (activities and events)
  • Friendships and relationships

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Elementary 3

This course will be based on Units 17 – 24 of the book ‘Menschen A2’ and includes some revision of the earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Planning holidays and travel
  • Booking online
  • Money and banking
  • Talking about the weather
  • Urging and convincing
  • Expressing hesitation
  • Events calendars
  • Expressing interest and lack of interest
  • Reports and descriptions
  • Giving explanations and reasons
  • Education and training
  • Satisfaction and dissatisfaction
  • Expression pleasure and disappointment.

Grammar:

  • Verbs with prepositions : sich interessieren für
  • Past tense modal verbs : durfte, konnte, etc.
  • Question and prepositional adverbs : Worauf
  • Question article : welch-
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Lassen as auxiliary verb
  • Conjunctions : bis, seit(dem)
  • Relatives (pronouns, etc.)
  • The Past Tense (Präteritum)

Cultural Content:

  • Regions of Germany
  • German speaking countries
  • Publishing and books
  • Education, training, mobility, living abroad

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice e.g. emails, reports
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Intermediate 1

This Intermediate course is based on the first 8 units of the book ‘Menschen B1’.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Describing and talking about people
  • Personality traits
  • Reporting on past events : Er erledigte seine Augaben zuverlässig.
  • Talking about statistics
  • Complaints
  • Telephone strategies
  • Conjectures for the future
  • Invitations : “Fühlen Sie sich wie zu Hause!”
  • Speaking to customers
  • Talking about stance – strongly or weakly

Grammar:

  • Adjectives as nouns
  • The -n declension
  • The Past
  • Relative pronouns and relative clauses (dative, prepositions)
  • Obwohl, trotzdem, falls, da, während, bevor
  • Future I
  • The infinitive with zu

Cultural Content:

  • Beliefs and superstition
  • Films, books, literature

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice e.g. CV and job application
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Intermediate 2

This Intermediate course is based on Units 9 – 16 of the book ‘Menschen B1’ and includes some revision of earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Sports, Wellbeing, Nutrition : giving presentations
  • Expressing disappointment : If only …
  • Everyday breakdowns
  • Everyday happy moments
  • Good and bad luck – talking about feelings.
  • Letters and emails – invitations, cancellations, commitments
  • Operational events
  • Talking about misunderstandings
  • Asking for clarification
  • Making suggestions
  • Planning further development
  • Job applications and interviews
  • Youth experiences : stories and reacting to stories
  • Memories and relationships

Grammar:

  • Comparative and Superlative
  • Past subjunctive
  • Past-of-the-past (Plusquamperfekt)
  • Nachdem, trotz
  • The Genitive
  • Cause and result conjunctions and adverbs
  • Present and past participles as adjectives
  • Two-part conjunctions
  • Nicht/nur brauchen + infinitiv + zu

Cultural Content:

  • Relationships, customs and habits

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice e.g. manuals, internet forum, complaints letter
  • Plenty of listening activities

German Intermediate 3

This Intermediate course is based on Units 17 – 24 of the book ‘Menschen B1’ and includes some revision of earlier units.

According to group goals, the teacher may do more or less than this, and may not need to cover everything in the book.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Lifestories
  • Art and Painting
  • Politics and Society
  • Discussions and expressing considered opinions
  • Countryside and Tourism
  • Giving presentations
  • Fielding questions
  • In the mountains
  • Booking in
  • Discussing dos and donts
  • Concerts and Events
  • History and the Past
  • Consultation, approval, indifference
  • Expression conviction

Grammar:

  • Expressions with es
  • Two-part conjunctions
  • Indem, sodas
  • Place and time preposition-particles
  • Passive Present of modal verbs
  • Anstatt/statt/ohne dass/… zu, damit, um … zu, als ob

Cultural Content:

  • German history after 1945 and current affairs
  • Europe
  • Environment and Climate
  • The Future

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice
  • Plenty of listening activities

The following content will be covered over four course intakes. This means students should take two courses of Upper Intermediate Lower and two courses of Upper Intermediate Higher.

German Upper Intermediate Lower

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Travel: planning & reasons; mobility in today’s society; travel reports; work & travel; travel in literature
  • Beauty: perceptions & effects; ideals & cultural differences; beautiful & ugly life events; beautiful language/words
  • Friendship: expectations; German club traditions; neighbourhoods/communities; intergenerational relationships; marriage & romantic partnerships; looking at an outsider’s perspective
  • Personal objects: personal value & usage of objects; describing objects & products; case study: The life of hoarders; online purchases; giving a presentation
  • Work: locations & tasks; the meaning of work; work & globalization; internships; job applications; arrangements & negotiations in everyday life
  • Arguments: general conflicts & arguing; conflicts at work; fairy tale & drama: ‘Town musicians of Bremen’

Grammar:

  • Word order (main & subordinate clauses – especially causal)
  • Infinitive clauses (Present & Past); TCMP (time, cause, manner, place) word order rule
  • Prepositional adverbs; temporal clauses (main & subordinate)
  • Adjective declension; relative pronouns & relative clauses
  • Passive voice (processual & statal passive; passive with modal verbs; passive substitutions & alternatives)
  • Conditional clauses (past & present) & subjunctive

Cultural Content:

  • Social life: communities, friendship, partnership and marriage
  • Storytelling, poetry and online blogs/forums
  • Newspaper articles, talk shows/radio shows and songs
  • Fairy tales & drama

Skills Work:

  • Listening & reading comprehension
  • Developing writing skills
  • Discussing (pros/cons) & sharing opinions
  • Preparing & giving a presentation
  • Talking about personal events & cultural differences

German Upper Intermediate Higher

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Health: aspects & measures to improve well-being; medical appointments; alternative medicine; case studies: occupational burnout & seasonal affective disorder
  • Emotions: expressions (verbal & non-verbal); meaning & functions of positive/negative emotions; film review & discussion ‘Barefoot’; emotions in literary texts
  • Knowledge & skills: ways of learning and gaining skills; animal skills; sharing knowledge & skills; music & learning (IQ); skills & performance
  • Life abroad: experiences; study; preparing a longer stay abroad; accommodation; cultural differences
  • Nature: descriptions; technical inventions inspired by nature; natural disasters; views on climate change; renewable energies; organic food
  • Speechlessness: typical situations; small talk; body language; letters of complaint; oral exam

Grammar:

  • Modal & final subordinate clauses; meaning & usage of the modal verb ‘können’
  • Main & subordinate clauses: adversative, alternative & consecutive
  • Modal verbs (past, present, future); modal particles
  • Concessive main & subordinate clauses; two-part conjunctions; past participles (I&II) as attributive adjectives
  • Subjunctive I (indirect speech & modal verbs)
  • German sentences (aftermath part) and relative clauses (question words)

Cultural Content:

  • German articles (magazines & newspapers)
  • Interviews
  • Humour & jokes
  • Body language
  • Immigration

Skills Work:

  • Reading & listening comprehension (e.g. reviews, interviews)
  • Summarising articles in speaking & writing
  • Researching topics and preparing & giving presentations
  • Writing & talking about emotions and writing/answering letters (e.g. reader’s comment)
  • Writing tasks: e.g. advice for immigrants; organic food debate; general discussions and finding solutions as a group
  • Understanding special glossary

German Advanced

This course is based on the books ‘Ziel C1 1’ and ‘Ziel C1 2’.

The course covers at least 3 evening courses, though progress can be quicker or slower than this according to group dynamics and goals.

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Einen Bedeutungszusammenhang erklären
  • Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten hervorheben
  • Gründe für etwas angeben
  • Etwas interkulturell beschreiben
  • Etwas anhand eines Beispiels erklären
  • Einen Begriff erläutern abwägend kontrovers argumentieren
  • Direkt kontrovers argumentieren
  • Etwas definieren über die eigene Erwartungshaltung reflektieren
  • Etwas in Bezug bringen
  • Eine Hilfeleistung einfordern / ablehnen
  • Etwas spontan gewichten
  • Etwas kurzfristig absagen
  • Auf eine kurzfristige Absage reagieren
  • Eine Beschwerde äußern / auf eine Beschwerde reagieren
  • Spontane Reaktionen – auf eine Entscheidung / auf eine schlechte Nachricht
  • Reaktionen mit unterschiedlichen Intentionen
  • Ratschläge geben
  • Toleranz formulieren
  • Auf etwas Ungewöhnliches in der Öffentlichkeit reagieren
  • Unverständnis / Gleichgültigkeit / Mitleid ausdrücken
  • Eine Statistik /Grafik beschreiben/erklären
  • Etwas kommentieren, bewerten, vorschlagen
  • Einen Cartoon interpretieren
  • Über den Inhalt eines Liedes sprechen
  • Etwas erläutern
  • Aussagen eines Autors präsentieren
  • Argumente aus Texten wiedergeben
  • Nicht erfüllte Erwartung zum Ausdruck bringen
  • In einer Diskussion etwas beitragen / Stellung nehmen
  • Über etwas sehr Ungewöhn liches im privaten Umfeld reden
  • Diskussion alle Redeabsichten
  • Das Wort ergreifen
  • Eine Einigung finden
  • Eine Entscheidung begründen

Grammar:

  • Fragen mit Angaben
  • Verschleifungen in der gesprochenen Sprache
  • Wortbildung: -artig
  • Pronomen, nichts
  • Vermutungen mit und ohne Konjunktiv II
  • Zeitabläufe
  • Negation
  • Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen
  • Nominalisierungen
  • Sprechersignale: Na, Na ja, wie gesagt …
  • Präsens im Kontext
  • Nominalisierung: Bedeutungsvarianten
  • Artikel bei Namen
  • Funktionen von es
  • Distanzmittel
  • Einschränkungen: unpersönliche Rede
  • Per, via
  • Ortsangaben durch Attribution
  • Übertreibungen und Generalisierungen
  • Partizip I als Adjektiv
  • Negation: Vorsilben
  • Aufforderungen
  • Die Stelle vor dem Verb
  • Die Stelle nach dem Satzende
  • Relativsatz
  • Attribution
  • Mengenangaben
  • von …/ Genitiv
  • All-
  • Werden : Partizip I
  • Präpositionen der Schriftsprache
  • Sprecherbezug
  • Wortbildung Adjektiv: -artig
  • Steigerungsadverbien
  • Satzbau
  • Präpositionen: seltenere Kontexte
  • Satzmitte
  • Texte strukturieren

Cultural Content:

  • Social life: friendship, online dating, etc.
  • Current affairs
  • German 20th century history
  • German literature: short stories, fairy tales
  • Traditional celebrations in German-speaking countries
  • German Media and Politics

Skills Work:

  • Speaking exercises: situational, interactive, role-play
  • Writing practice, e.g. stories, letters, summaries
  • Listening activities

German Proficient

Functional Language:

  • All of the functions at Advanced level
  • Asserting
  • Denying
  • Softening and downplaying propositions
  • Contradicting
  • Implying
  • Affirming

Lexis:

  • A good command of a very broad lexical repertoire
  • A wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms
  • Phrases and expressions relating to the language functions listed above

Topics & Culture:

  • Global economy and the influence of global politics
  • The global rise of the far right in the 21st century
  • Internet fraud, scamming, money laundering
  • The impact of Covid on the workplace and across industry
  • Love, marriage and sexuality in the 21st Century

Grammar:

  • General review & practice of cases (especially ‘dative’, e.g. prepositions in causal clauses; personal & possessive pronouns; local dual prepositions; trigger verbs)
  • Modal verbs (usage & subtle meanings, alternatives) & indirect speech
  • Verbs & prefixes (different usages & meanings, e.g. negative expressions)
  • Separable vs non-separable verbs
  • Revision & practice of two-part conjunctions (including restrictive)
  • Usage of ‘es’ (obligatory/non-obligatory)
  • Past participles as attributive adjectives
  • Nominalisation of verbs (including with prepositions & conjunctions)
  • Revision & practice of subordinate clauses (temporal, conditional, final, causal, consecutive, modal, concessive)
  • Passive voice (infinitive/past participle I; present & past & future tenses)
  • Pronominal adverbs with ‘wo-‘
  • Subjunctive I (indirect speech) and subjunctive II review (past & present; conditional; passive voice)

Pronuntiation:

  • Produce individual sounds so as to be fully understood, with only a rare sound that deviates from an internationally intelligible model
  • Stress and intonation patterns which are recognisably specific to the language without any lapses in intelligibility
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