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GERMAN 4RC6 Adv German Reading (In Engl)

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nikolai Penner


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 507

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24777

Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, 3 p.m - 4 p.m.

Course Objectives:

At the end of the course the students should be able to:

  • read and understand specialized texts in German with the help of a dictionary
  • read aloud German texts with correct standard pronunciation
  • read two additional types of old German scripts:  Fraktur (known as ‘printed Gothic') and most old hand-written scripts known as 'hand-written Gothic' (Sütterlin, Kurrentschrift, and die deutsche Schrift, etc.).

Course content includes an intensive review of German grammar and syntax followed by reading and translating texts in different disciplines. The emphasis of the course will be placed on reading and understanding written texts specific to students’ disciplines, as opposed to the development of conversational or writing skills.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • Wilson, April. German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German. New York: Peter Lang. (most recent edition is encouraged but not required)
  • A good German-English/English-German dictionary. Any major publisher is acceptable (e.g. Langenscheidt, Oxford, Colin’s etc.) but please avoid buying one that is too small (it should not fit in your pocket).

Method of Assessment:

  • Self recorded read-aloud test: 10%
  • Quizzes: 40%
  • Oral presentation: 15%
  • Final exam: 35%



This is an extremely intensive course in which large amounts of information are covered every day the group meets. Therefore, attendance, homework assignments, and active participation in class are mandatory.

Read aloud test:

You will be required to read out loud a specific text chosen by the instructor. You will need to record your voice and submit an audio file which will be evaluated for correct pronunciation.  Specific requirements and details will be discussed in class and posted on Avenue.



Almost every class, we will write a short quiz covering the material from previous classes and testing your knowledge of the material that has been covered up to that point (mostly vocabulary, some translation, some grammar). All quizzes are cumulative. The exact number of quizzes will depend on the group’s progress but usually there are between 15 and 20 quizzes.


Oral Assignments:

In the second half of the semester you will be asked to present in class an article or a book excerpt of your choice. Specific dates and evaluation scheme for these assignments will be discussed in class.

Final exam:

During the last week of the course (preliminary date: Wednesday, June 17th) we will write an in-class final examination. The exam will feature a series of questions covering the material we have learned in the course and will include various texts you will be required to translate into English using a paper dictionary. Electronic devices are not allowed during this examination.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Deadlines and absences: All assignments, tests, quizzes are due on the day originally announced. There are no make-up tests, quizzes, exams or assignments in this course. In case of a documented absence, the missed mark will be carried over to the final exam.


The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is your responsibility to check your McMaster e-mail and course websites daily during the term and to note any changes.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.