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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.

Beginner 1

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

Beginner 2

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

Beginner 3

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
  • Booking a table, ordering
  • Eating habits
  • Talking about future
  • Talking about abilities
  • Talking about life experiences
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

Elementary 1

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

Elementary 2

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

Elementary 3

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

Intermediate 1

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

Intermediate 2

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

Intermediate 3

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

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

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

Advanced

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

Proficiency

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

Understanding Language Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’ below. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

CEFR Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

Beginner (A1)

  • You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
  • You can introduce yourself and others
  • You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have
  • You can ask and give directions
  • You can order food and drink
  • You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements
  • You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Elementary (A2)

  • You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment
  • You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
  • You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need
  • You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

Intermediate (B1)

  • You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
  • You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
  • You can describe experiences and events
  • You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
  • You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
  • You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafes or basic office work).

Upper Intermediate (B2)

  • You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
  • You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

Advanced (C1)

  • You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
  • You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

Proficient (C2)

  • You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
  • You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources
  • You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
  • You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

How to book with Cactus

Select language

Simply select which language you would like to learn and from the box below and click lets go.

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