Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Precepted by Isaac Schendel

Conversational German 1 of 2

This 8-session introduction to German is intended to give the students a basic acquaintanceship with the German language and enough information for further study. Beginning German 1 covers the alphabet, basic verb conjugation, important verbs like Haben and Sein, pronouns, grammatical gender, nominative vs. accusative cases, forming questions, and giving dates and times. Some specific vocabulary content is given in the session breakdown, but the individual entries are not meant to be either restrictive or exhaustive.

Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: The alphabet and sounds; the present tense of regular verbs; colors and numbers
- Session 2: Haben und Sein; nominative pronouns; noun gender; Was studieren Sie (what do you study?) and Wo wohnen Sie (where do you live?);
- Session 3: Fragewörter (question words) and forming questions; yes/no questions; “Interview” game
- Session 4: coordinating conjunctions; describing your field of study; the verb mögen (to like)
- Session 5: Die Wochentage (days of the week); Die Uhrzeiten (time); Der Wochenplan (weekly schedule)
- Session 6: Planning a meeting with a friend (combination of Der Wochenplan and the “Questions” from Session 3); negation (Nicht and Kein)
- Session 7: The accusative case; description of rooms (Ich habe/Es gibt); accusative pronouns
- Session 8: Accusative prepositions; general review

Conversational German 2 of 2

This course continues along the track established by Conversational German 1. This month, the topics are a bit more “fun,” focusing a great deal on “free time” activities and the students’ subjects of interests. Grammar is a bit more limited, but the biggest grammatical subject – modal verbs – are complicated enough to merit intense study. A final grammatical case, the dative, is introduced in the final two sessions. Because this module builds on the previous one, there is slightly more repetition in the sessions listed below.

Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: Introduction and review; nominative and accusative case; conjugation of regular conjugations
- Session 2: Der Alltag (the normal day); Irregular and Stem-changing verbs in the present; the German breakfast;
- Session 3: More practice with “irregular” verbs; Einkaufen gehen (going shopping); repetition of modal verbs; gern; Obst und Gemüse
- Session 4: Freizeit; modal verbs; review of Wochenplan vocabulary (date and time); repetition of coordinating conjunctions
- Session 5: Kleider (clothing); Musik hören (listening to music);
- Session 6: Sport treiben (exercise); evaluating hobbies (adjectives like entspannend “relaxing” or interessant “interesting”); Restaurant vocabulary
- Session 7: general review of cases; indirect objects and the dative case for nouns.
- Session 8: The dative case for pronouns; dative prepositions.

Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction

Middle High German (MHG) is the umbrella term for the German dialects used in the Holy Roman Empire from about 1050 to 1350. Its written form was the language of the court, and most MHG poetry embraces chivalric intellectual interests – adventure, romances, and courtly love! In our epic introduction to the language, we begin with a poem on subject matter that Old English and Old Norse students will immediately recognize: Das Nibelungenlied, the story of Siegfried (Sigurd) the dragon slayer, who we all know from the Völsunga Saga, the Poetic Edda, and (as his father Sigmund) Beowulf.

This module requires absolutely no modern German, but you may find that the course awakens that bit of “school German” you remember from high school. We will read our text – the 14th “Adventure” of The Nibelungenlied – slowly, as a small reading group. The benefit of the Nibelungenlied’s style is that enjambment is rare and each line can be treated as a single sentence.

Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation

This module is a continuation of Middle High German 1 with the plan to continue with the 14th âventiure of the Nibelungenlied until we complete it. After that, we will switch to some Arthuriana - Iwein, by Hartmann von Aue, the German “translation” of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also, if the students want to read something else, your preceptor is all ears!

The Old Saxon Hêliand I

Old Saxon, the continental cousin to Old English, was the language spoken in Northern Germany from the ninth to the twelfth century. It is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Anglo-Saxon, so Old English students will easily be able to read and understand it. The language boasts a number of smaller texts, but the Hêliand, an epic poem of nearly 6,000 lines, remains its most prestigious literary monument. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (the “Hêliand,” meaning “Savior”) reimagined as a Saxon lord with a retinue of twelve thanes, and is comparable to the Old English Beowulf. In our Space module, we will read and discuss selections of this poem. Some familiarity with Old English is required.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].