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Modern German Language: Context, Trends & Conflicts - LAN00012H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Nadine Saupe
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

When it comes to the German language, the 19th-century American writer Mark Twain expressed his views bluntly. In his 1880 essay The Awful German Language, he argued that a gifted person could learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years.

Today many critics fear the German language is ‘deteriorating’ supposedly due to a lack of idiomatic breadth and incorrect grammar and spelling on WhatsApp and Twitter, and Anglicisms everywhere. But are the critics right?

This module will introduce students to some topics of social debate regarding trends and developments in the modern German language as it is used by a variety of groups and in a wide range of contexts today.

Through the work on a project regarding the use of the German language today this module will develop students’ German academic communication skills further.

Related modules

Prerequisite modules

German Language and Cultures: Advanced OR equivalent level of German.

Available as an elective.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims to develop students’ knowledge, skills and strategies necessary to communicate in German and to develop a plurilingual and pluricultural communicative competence at upper intermediate level.

This course aims to increase students' awareness of the key aspects of the German language and how it is used today. The module focuses on developing an understanding of language change and trends in modern German and how various groups of speakers use the language in a variety of contexts. Students will develop their research skills by working on a project related to an aspect of the German language and receive one hour of project support every week where project related issues are discussed and progress is presented in the group.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should:

  • Demonstrate an in depth understanding of some of the topics discussed

  • Demonstrate an ability to undertake personal research

  • Present sources from a critical perspective and develop arguments effectively in written and spoken German

  • Develop increased confidence and advanced accuracy in the production and presentation of both written and spoken German

Module content

This module will focus on a number of social, cultural and political aspects related to debates on the use of modern German in a range of contexts and by a variety of social groups. Module seminars will look at changes and developments in German, for instance the influence of other languages, especially English, on the German lexicon and the relevant debates regarding these changes.

Seminar discussions will look at some examples of

  • sociolects such as Ossideutsch, Jugendsprache and Kiezdeutsch

  • Functiolekte for instance looking at the language of various types of media

  • but also investigate examples of Werbesprache and Wirtschafts-/Amtsdeutsch.

  • Discussions will also touch on debates around language learning and language policy/politics.

Students will engage, individually and in groups, in communicative activities focussing on three modes of communication:

1) reception activities (oral, audio-video and reading comprehension);

2) production activities (oral and written production);

3) interaction (oral, written and online interaction).

The medium of instruction is German.


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Exam
0.33 hours 40
University - project
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Exam
0.33 hours 40
University - project
N/A 60

Module feedback

  • Group feedback in seminar discussions on oral presentations
  • Group feedback in seminar discussions on written formative work
  • Individual written feedback and video recordings of oral presentations
  • Individual written feedback and annotations on written formative work
  • Individual progress and feedback meetings twice per year

Indicative reading

Plewnia, Albrecht; Witt, Andreas (2014): Sprachverfall?: Dynamik, Wandel, Variation. Institut fu¨r Deutsche Sprache. De Gruyter.

Stickel, Gerhard (2019): Deutsche Gegenwartssprache: Tendenzen und Perspektiven. De Gruyter.

Der Verein Deutsche Sprache: (18/01/23)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.