Varieties of German (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Sibilla Cantarini
Sibilla Cantarini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Feb 15, 2021 al May 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to: - recognize and describe, in general terms, the various dimensions of language variation in German; - analyse grammatical and/or lexical feature of German with respect to selected dimensions of language variation; - compare German with other languages with respect to specific grammatical and/or lexical features; - present the acquired knowledge convincingly, using eletronic resources and ICT, also with regard to teaching German as a foreign language; - demonstrate German language skills that correspond to the C2 level of the CEFR.


Introduction to contemporary German phraseology

In the strictest sense, phraseology is a field of investigation involving the study of a set of fixed expressions. Typically, these are idiomatic expressions such as bei jemandem einen Stein im Brett haben, einen Bock schießen, kein Land (mehr) sehen, and other types of multiword lexical units in which the meaning of the expression does not derive from the meaning of the elements that make up the expression. More precisely, phraseological units are characterised by different degrees of fixity, semantic stability and metaphorical meaning, and from a textual point of view they can have an emphatic or intensifying function, amongst others. The relative formal variability and the graduality in their motivation make the criterion of non-compositionality of the phrasing units’ meaning less stringent, especially given the fact that motivation can be performed on both an etymological basis and in light of metaphorical and metonymic processes.
In addition to the analysis of phraseological phenomena in the strictest sense, for which some classifications are also provided in function of the resulting primary or secondary category, particular importance will be given to collocations—lexical phenomena considered somewhere between idiomatic expressions, whose syntagmatic rigidity they do not share, and free combinations, with respect to which they are more greatly restricted. Collocations, for example eine herbe Enttäuschung, sich die Zähne putzen, eine Entscheidung treffen, Medikamente einnehmen, heikle Frage, hoher Verlust, may be semi-compositional or compositional. A particular type of collocation is the support verb construction, i.e., a construction in which the verb has no predicate function but serves as a support for the noun, which is, however, a predicate. With reference to the phraseological units taken into consideration and in particular to the last type of phenomena mentioned a description will also be given at a comparative level and implications for teaching German as L2 will be considered.

Course language: German.
Teaching method: frontal teaching, flipped classroom.

Bibliographic References
Burger, H. 2010. Phraseologie. Eine Einführung am Beispiel des Deutschen. Berlin: Schmidt.
Cantarini, S. 2004. Costrutti con verbo supporto: italiano e tedesco a confronto. Bologna: Pàtron
Fleischer, W. 1997. Phraseologie der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Students attending the course will be given further bibliographic references during classes.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Cantarini, Sibilla Costrutti con verbo supporto: italiano e tedesco a confronto. (Edizione 1) Pàtron 2004 978-88-9335-289-5
Fleischer, Wolfgang Phraseologie der deutschen Gegenwartssprache (Edizione 2) Niemeyer 1997
Burger, Harald Phraseologie. Eine Einführung am Beispiel des Deutschen. (Edizione 4) Schmidt 2010

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is written (a short ‘tesina’, 1/2 of grade given by the Professor), and oral (presentation, 1/2 of the grade given by the Professor). Since it is foreseen that during the course students give a presentation and that at the end of the course they write a paper on subjects given by the Professor, the students who do not attend classes regularly must agree with the Professor on the paper to be written and presented at the beginning of the oral exam. Students are admitted to exams only after completing their C2 level of language competence.