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Abteilung Sprachkompetenz

Lektor:innen der englischen Sprachkompetenz

davies haynes merkel nagel woodfin

Dr. Rebecca Davies

Dr. Michael Haynes

Warren Merkel, PhD

Alison Nagel, M.A.

Kai Woodfin, M.A.

☎ +49 761 203-3339
R 4218 | KG IV

☎ +49 761 203-3326
R 4219 | KG IV

☎ +49 761 203-3327
R 4220 | KG IV

☎ +49 761 203-3339
R 4218 | KG IV

☎ +49 761 203-3326
R 4219 | KG IV



Die sprachpraktische Ausbildung ist ein integraler Bestandteil des Anglistik-Studiums in Freiburg. Die bereits sehr guten Sprachkompetenzen der Studierenden sollen dadurch auf ein nahezu muttersprachliches Niveau gesteigert werden, deshalb werden alle sprachpraktischen Lehrveranstaltungen am Englischen Seminar in Freiburg konsequent von Muttersprachler*innen gelehrt. Viele der Übungen im Bereich Advanced Language Practice sind darüber hinaus mit kulturellen Aspekten Großbritanniens und/oder Nordamerikas verflochten.

Foundation Course: Grammar and Writing

This course combines practice in grammatical skills and in writing English. There will be an initial assessment of all students taking the course at the beginning of the semester. For the first half of the semester work will focus on matters of controlling sentence structure. This will be followed by a mid-term assessment. In the second half of the semester work will consist of writing practice: descriptions, reports and essays. There will be a final assessment at the end of the semester.

Foundation Course: Speaking English

This course combines practice in the skills relating to correct pronunciation and oral formulation. There will be an initial assessment of all students taking the course at the beginning of the semester. For the first half of the semester work will focus on matters of pronunciation and learning how to work with phonemic transcription. This will be followed by a mid-term assessment. In the second half of the semester work will consist of speaking practice: descriptions, interviews, discussions and presentations. There will be a final assessment at the end of the semester.


This course is aimed at giving students a broad understanding of the issues involved in translation, along with practice in the specifics of translating texts both from German into English and vice versa. Course work will involve reading some short but significant texts on the nature of and approaches to translation; critical analysis of existing translations, including machine translation; exercises on specific German-English areas of difficulty; and the translation of a selection of different types of texts.

Critical Thinking

Advanced Language Practice I

Unlike in some other countries, German universities often do not specifically teach graduate students about how to think critically, but expect the student to acquire these skills "as they go along". This course is aimed at addressing this through this stand-alone unit, helping create an awareness of how we think, what bias, premises and assumptions are presented to us in argumentation, what we should do or look for when presented with or presenting arguments, and how we can think optimally.

This course will look at aspects of critical thought such as:

  • Rhetoric
  • Argumentation (and false argumentation)
  • Analysing evidence and justifying opinions
  • Technology and fake news
  • Bias and assumptions

By the end of the course the student should be able to take any argument and analyse it critically using the toolbox covered in the course, regardless of whether this text is in English or another language.

Language and Culture

Advanced Language Practice I
Case studies of English language use will be used to raise questions regarding how language expresses underlying value systems, how it is socially situated, what its social and cultural functions are and how it changes between and within cultures. Areas which are looked at include regional varieties of English, language and gender, language and class, slang and taboo language, and language and value systems.

The aim of this course is to help students develop an awareness of how language and culture interact. By the end of the course the student should have knowledge of and be able to apply critical thinking to these areas, have a grasp of the complexities of language learning, and see the influence language has on culture and vice-versa.

This course will focus on developing language skills in the context of intercultural communication. Using a variety of methods and materials – questionnaires, interviews, simulations, analysis of adverts, literature and film – we shall be reflecting on our own cultural identities and the representation of these in society, comparing and contrasting our various native cultures. The class attracts a large number of students from near and far-flung places, which leads to lively discussions and information exchange, eg. What do many Italian students miss so much in Germany? (Come to the class and find out!) The class is useful preparation for spending a period abroad, reflecting on one's own cultural experiences, and teaching English in the classroom.

Language and the Media

Advanced Language Practice I
This course has been developed to take into consideration the changing face of news presentation through the Internet. Students will be introduced to the range of major online news media outlets available in the relevant geographical area (North America or the UK) and gain a broad overview of other online options for following (and contributing to) the news. Through regular reading, discussion of texts and news media characteristics in class, and the completion of the various assignments, students will develop awareness and knowledge of the media landscape and culture of the region chosen, as well as focusing on a range of language issues (e.g. headline style, tabloid vs. broadsheet register) and textual comparisons (e.g. how different outlets treat the same topic). The assignments will offer the opportunity to develop creative writing and descriptive skills as well as textual analysis. The course presupposes an interest in current affairs in the region concerned.

Language in the Classroom

Advanced Language Practice I
This course aims at meeting the practical language needs of students teaching English at German secondary schools. Students will be expected to participate in classroom simulations, provide peer evaluation, take an in-class written test, and contribute to a portfolio of classroom English. Areas to be covered will include language for giving instructions, explaining grammar, correcting pronunciation, introducing cultural issues, discussing different sorts of texts and coping with classroom occurrences.

Mind the Gap

Advanced Language Practice I
This course is designed to guide the students through the challenges of navigating between spoken and written English. On the one hand, those who have achieved a respectable degree of fluency in colloquial English, but who nonetheless have difficulty committing their thoughts to paper in stylistically appropriate English, will have opportunities to work on this. Vice versa, those who are already able to communicate well in written English will have opportunities to practice this in the spoken version. By means of structured class discussions, writing tasks, guided tours, and peer-editing this class attempts to give students practice in negotiating the gap between spoken and written forms competently.

Presenting Arguments

Advanced Language Practice II
The aim of this course is to help students develop skill in presenting arguments while strengthening oral and written performance as well as listening and reading comprehension. Class participants will have the opportunity to give oral presentations, lead and take part in discussions, and produce written work. The oral presentations will involve creation of an outline, documentation of sources, prior consultation with the instructor and use of audio or visual aids. In addition, students will be expected to evaluate and provide feedback to other class participants on their language and presentation skills.

Translating Wikipedia

Advanced Language Practice II
In this course you will practice translation in a real-world setting and learn how to use wiki software, using the world's best-known and most frequently used wiki software platform: Wikipedia. The main focus of this exploration of Wikipedia will be learning how to select and translate articles or parts of articles. We will proofread, edit, and publish these translations; we will also learn how to request feedback from others for work that we have completed. Besides translation work, however, we will also take a brief look at other language work that can be done on this platform. You must be able and willing to complete tasks on time, on your own, online. At the end of this course you will have practiced translating and editing texts on several topics, you will be more fully aware of the entirety and potential of Wikipedia and you will have learned how to continue and expand this work on your own after the course has finished.

Translation – Current Issues

Advanced Language Practice II
In this course we shall be translating texts across a variety of genres, from German into English and vice-versa, the guiding thread being current issues. These may include texts from news media – in itself a broad field covering politics, various aspects of culture, human interest stories – recent literary publications, advertising, slogans - the list of possibilities is long and personal choice the key factor. The course aims to improve your translation skills, your grasp of idiomatic English and cultural knowledge of the English-speaking world.

Academic Writing Practice

Sprachkompetenz Vertiefung (M.Ed.-Erw.) & Advanced Language Practice II

This course aims to help students improve their academic writing. Specifically, the course combines critical reading skills and the transfer of those skills to evidence-based writing. Course work will involve citation practice; learning the distinction between direct quotation, summary, and paraphrase; and strategies to balance the integration of references with the development of the writer's agenda.

Oral Competence for Master of Education Students

This course will allow students to develop and improve their advanced oral skills within the context of examining methods and materials for teaching British or US culture at school. Focusing on key areas ranging from identity from a multicultural perspective, to political and educational systems, the media landscape and the arts, together with topics from everyday contemporary culture, we will examine resources and strategies for preparing students to teach these topics appropriately and from a well-informed intercultural perspective. A broad range of media will be evaluated and analysed alongside existing teaching materials (such as school text books and educational websites).

Written Competence for Master of Education Students

This course offers students the opportunity to improve and expand their advanced writing skills while reflecting on a wide range of text-based resources suitable for teaching purposes. Content creation will form one strand of the class, with students producing texts in a range of contexts and genres, either as a response to a stimulus or working with a range of extant texts. Our topics will be drawn from the areas of culture(s) and the media, thus giving students the chance to work on their own intercultural and media competence as well as preparing them to pass on these central skills within the school curriculum. Examining, analyzing, evaluating and reacting to resources will form the basis both for the creative process and for the process of reflecting on texts in terms of how access to information and requirements of the genre, on the one hand, and the cultural preconceptions of the author, on the other, can influence the form, content and the kind of language that is used. The latter point also takes us in the direction of mediation (Sprachmittlung) and different stylistic registers.

Weiterführende Links


Discourse Analysis

Steve Hoenisch, "A Wittgensteinian Approach to Discourse Analysis"

Grammar & Style

I learned to teach grammar. And then I realized that we can't separate these two things. We have to do them together because they're integral. That's when I learned how important grammar is, that part of the understanding process is grammatical. That's how I taught myself to write prose. I keep learning and learning. I'd come into my class and say, "Guess what I found out last night. Tenses are a way of ordering the chaos around time." I learned that grammar was not arbitrary, that it served a purpose, that it helped to form the way we through, that it could be freeing as well as restrictive.

― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Oscar Wilde asked an English journalist to look over 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' before publication: "Will you also look after my 'wills' and 'shalls' in proof. I am Celtic in my use of these words, not English." Wilde's novel upset virtually every code of late Victorian respectability, but he had to get his modal auxiliaries just right.

― Andrew Elfenbein, Romanticism and the Rise of English


Phonetics on the Web