What does bound 2 texts mean

Authentic texts in German as a foreign language. Features, meaning and use

Table of contents:

1. Introduction: Authenticity in foreign language teaching

2. Learning objectives of foreign language teaching

3. Authentic texts in German lessons
3.1. Which texts are authentic?
3.2. Reasons for using authentic texts in foreign language teaching
3.3. Comprehension skills and the authentic texts
3.4. Language production and the authentic texts as occasions for communication

4. Didacticization of the authentic texts
4.1. Criteria of authenticity
4.2. Editing of the authentic texts

5. The analysis of the authentic texts in selected textbooks

6. Conclusion

7. List of figures:

8. Bibliography:

1. Introduction: Authenticity in foreign language teaching

"The foreign language is a challenge that generates curiosity, but also frustration, ideally a desire to learn, but otherwise also rejection." (Jürgen Trabant)[1]

As the quotation above implies, learning a new language is fraught with many obstacles, difficulties and challenges that every learner must deal with on the way to the desired level in the target language. This confrontation with the language requires a lot of perseverance from each individual and is without a doubt a lifelong task.[2]

For this reason, foreign language didactics has long been looking for new ideas and concepts that support the acquisition of the foreign language as well as possible. Among other things, the important role of authenticity in foreign language teaching is emphasized. The concept of authenticity is described in the specialist lexicon German as a foreign language as a property of texts and individual sentences as well as linguistic actions and media material that is used as the basis for learning a new language.[3]

Over time, the conviction has established that successful foreign language teaching can largely be achieved by teaching language skills that can be achieved through authentic material. Since the learner always encounters the language in a context-bound manner, it should be learned in authentic situations whenever possible.[4] Authenticity was required for language materials and communication events as early as the early 1980s.[5]

The following elaboration deals with the authentic texts in German as a foreign language. Based on the learning goals of foreign language lessons, the question of what an authentic text actually is, why it is so important for German lessons and what should be considered when working with such texts. This is followed by the analysis of selected textbooks under the aspect of authenticity.

2. Learning objectives of foreign language teaching

In today's standards, the development of communication skills in a foreign language is seen as the goal of foreign language teaching. This means the ability to put oneself in a position to communicate in the respective language on the one hand and to correspond on the other. This occurs when one has a sufficient command of the basic communicative skills in this language.[6]

The “key qualifications” that enable the use of the German language are known to include listening, reading, speaking and writing. At this point, Günter Storch cites the classification of these skills in two forms: firstly, according to the medium in which communication takes place (spoken vs. written language), secondly, according to the communicative attitude that the communicator can adopt (receptive vs. productive ).[7] According to Quetz et. al the fact that the abovementioned skills are closely related and that the productive skills require the receptive ones. Basically, this means that the learner has to deal with listening comprehension before speaking and reading comprehension before writing. You cannot say or produce something without first reading or receiving something.[8]

The process of acquiring the foreign language thus consists of acquiring these four basic skills. As Hans-Werner Huneke and Wolfgang Steinig emphasize, however, knowledge of the language is not enough to be able to use it. In this context, the practical ability of the language is required, which is reflected in the practical application of the language.[9] Günter Storch summarizes the information on communication skills in the following quote:

“In order to achieve the learning objective“ Communication skills in the foreign language ”, it is not enough to learn the linguistic means and to master them in the context of an automated, purely linguistic skill. Rather, the linguistic means must be available for the communicative exercise of the skills, i.e. they must be able to be used under the pragmatic conditions of real communication. "[10]

The authentic texts, as part of the authentic teaching material, play an extremely important role in communicative teaching. Not only because they are used for communication, but also because they give cause to speak.[11]

However, the first question to be answered is what authentic texts actually are and how they can be used in the classroom.

3. Authentic texts in German lessons

Authentic texts have become more and more important in foreign language teaching in recent years. However, this agreement on the necessity of their use is not accompanied by a clear definition. There is extensive discordance about what the term “authentic” actually means and how one should use the knowledge about authenticity in foreign language didactics.[12]

3.1. Which texts are authentic?

Christoph Edelhoff considers a text to be authentic if it is documentary, genuine and real in and of itself. In contrast, antonyms such as “made”, “fabricated” and “fake” are to be used. Authenticity in foreign language teaching thus means that a learner can put himself in a situation in a foreign country and assume that the text at hand could be used in such a form by a native speaker.[13] This is made clear by the following passage from the article by Christoph Edelhoff:

"For the selection of linguistic requirements and communication occasions in foreign language lessons, authenticity applies as a term for the requirement to use texts written or spoken by native speakers instead of texts that are produced or edited in foreign languages, mostly by non-native speakers, specifically for foreign language lessons."[14]

This quotation implies that the authentic texts, both in the written and in the spoken form, are used for language acquisition. You can communicate in a variety of ways not only by speaking, but also by writing.[15]

In the specialist lexicon of German as a Foreign Language, the authentic texts are called “meaningful” and “intentional”.[16] Authentically designed teaching material therefore has "addressees and functions outside of the teaching situation and contains relevant, recognizable text-type-specific features."[17]

In his article, Christoph Edelhoff speaks about authenticity in a linguistic-linguistic and educational-situational context. These are two aspects of authenticity that are of great importance in terms of successful foreign language teaching. The first meaning relates to the decision as to which texts and in which form are used in the classroom, the second deals with the pedagogical side, i.e. the interactive implementation of the authentic materials. What should be emphasized is the fact that one is not only looking at the authenticity of the texts, but also that of the holistic learning situation that is triggered by the text. Here, the learner orientation is very important, i.e. the communicative actions should be related to the needs, knowledge, experience and learning opportunities of the learner.[18]

At this point it must be clarified what the concept of a text type includes and why the learners should deal with the text types.

A group of texts with certain common text characteristics is called text types, which are conditioned by their text function, communication situation, the content of the text and traditional text patterns.[19] Examples of text types in German include: travel guides, lexicon articles, letters to the editor, weather reports, advertisements, horoscopes and many others.[20] The following quote reflects Klaus Brinker's linguistic concept of text types: "Text types are conventionally valid patterns for complex linguistic actions and can be described as typical connections between contextual (situational), communicative-functional and structural (grammatical and thematic) features."[21]

Dealing with the types of text is important for the lesson, because in this way the learners get to know whether a text occurs in natural language usage, what information it conveys and what is characteristic of it.[22] The specific characteristics of the respective text types make the form of the text authentic and are necessary supports if the learners are to produce their own text. They provide the learners with a series of orientation patterns that make it easier for them to produce and receive texts.[23]

The following quote from Christian Fandrych and Maria Thurmair sums up the important role of text types in German lessons: “Knowledge of text types or the more or less pronounced patterns is an essential element for communicatively successful linguistic action and is an important building block in Acquisition of comprehensive language skills - for native speakers as well as for foreign speakers. "[24]

3.2. Reasons for using authentic texts in foreign language teaching

There are several reasons to work with authentic texts in foreign language classes. Christoph Edelhoff emphasizes in the foreword to his article that foreign language learners should be prepared in language lessons for encountering the German language in natural contexts of use. Accordingly, he should learn to be able to deal with the real situation of encountering a foreign language. This happens by confronting him with authentic complex areas that prepare him for real life situations and give him the ability to communicate in the appropriate language. By dealing with the authentic materials, the learner gains methodical access to the foreign language.[25] The author mentioned above writes: "The foreign language user is confronted with texts and situations whose linguistic complexity and content threaten to exceed the ability to understand if he has not developed strategies to decipher the unknown in terms of concept and characters."[26]

Authentically conceived texts should, with their authenticity, make the encounter with the foreign language and culture more friendly and thus facilitate it.[27]

The aspect of regional studies is also of great importance here. With the help of the authentic occurrences, the learner receives information about the country, which enables him to have an intercultural exchange.[28]

In many textbooks, unfortunately, one still comes across functioning texts that do not correspond to the characteristics specific to the text type and thus do not prepare the learner for a real encounter with the foreign language. Such texts are prepared with the aim of practicing certain lexical and grammatical phenomena and often completely fail to enable those interested in foreign languages ​​to communicate.[29]

Christoph Edelhoff also emphasizes the influence of authenticity on the motivation and engagement of the learners. Due to the lack of reference to reality, they often lose the desire to learn. The authentic texts draw parallels to the foreign language reality and thus arouse the learners' interests in terms of content.[30] In the words of Jürgen Quetz, Sibylle Bolton and Gerda Lauerbach:

“Working with authentic text templates at an early stage of language learning is very motivating for the course participants, as they realize that the language skills they have acquired are already sufficient to contain information from the country of the target language. But in order to make working with such text templates a sense of achievement for the course participants, it is necessary that the content of the texts corresponds to the interests of adults, because a direct interest in the given information supports and facilitates reading comprehension. "[31]

The following shows what role authentic texts play in comprehension skills and what influence they have on language production.

3.3. Comprehension skills and the authentic texts

At the beginning of the foreign language learning phase, the foreign language learner is confronted with the fact that he understands nothing or very little. Understanding is therefore one of the first and most important skills that a foreign language learner has to deal with.[32] Christoph Edelhoff writes about this:

“Understanding [is] a highly active communicative activity that requires diverse training of various . The more the situations and texts show the characteristics of authentic language, the more they prepare for life situations in which the selection and arrangement of the linguistic elements are not geared to the needs of those who are foreign to the language. "[33]

Seen in this way, the learner has to develop strategies that help him to cope with the unfamiliar environment and with the large number of unfamiliar terms. From authentic oral communication and from the listening texts, which the learner encounters acoustically (listening texts on the radio) or also acoustically-visual (television) depending on the situation, he can collect a number of situation-related and linguistic features that he can later use for the Understanding.[34] This is confirmed by the following words from Christoph Edelhoff:

"Spontaneous authentic language in the oral communication situation provides a multitude of signals through redundancy, parilingual and situational references, which the learner / user can pick up and use from his own linguistic and cultural system to understand the foreign language utterances."[35]

The listening texts, which are limited to the acoustic channel, accompany, for example, typical noises that make it easier to understand and assign the right types of text. The authentic texts in written, printed form also contain a variety of features specific to the text. Christoph Edelhoff gives an example of the newspaper text, which can be seen on the basis of "the outer frame of the embedding in a newspaper page and its structure"[36] recognizes. What cannot be overlooked is the fact that in the case of the written text it is easier to use the rules that can be deduced from the text for understanding.[37]

According to Christoph Edelhoff, the learners learn the language situation step by step through an authentic type of text, as the initially global understanding turns into a selective understanding using the appropriate communication channels. The textbooks should accordingly contain comprehension texts that depict real, everyday situations. They should give reasons for understanding and "expressing oneself", the examination of the texts should simulate a real situation. However, it must be ensured that the learner is not overwhelmed with the elaboration of the authentic text.[38]

3.4. Language production and the authentic texts as occasions for communication

Speech production in a foreign language is a complicated phenomenon that requires a lot of practice. Since the learner's mental lexicon is very little available about the language at the beginning of the foreign language learning process, the learner has to generate as much as possible from the few things and regularities that he knows. In order to be able to express themselves, according to Christoph Edelhoff, the foreign language learner has to recognize the structures of the language from the situations or texts he encounters and imitate them accordingly. What is important here is the willingness to speak or produce a written form, regardless of the fact that you make a lot of mistakes in the process.[39]

A text is therefore the basis for an utterance (both written and oral) if it is authentic and "triggers understanding and communication, that is, language-receptive and language-productive activities."[40] The learning material that is used as input for language production in foreign language lessons is therefore extremely important when preparing for utterances in the foreign language environment. In practice, however, as already mentioned, the learners are confronted with texts that convey a range of linguistic means for the utterances, but which in no way contain authentic elements that would promote language production.[41] At this point, Christoph Edelhoff emphasizes the importance of authentic texts for language production: "Authentic texts, on the other hand, serve to present pieces of the foreign language, on which understanding can be practiced and about which and from which one can talk or write."[42]

Logically, the desire for authenticity in language production does not imply the ability to produce authentic texts and conversations, but the ability to act authentically in the foreign language environment. It is very useful to use texts from different media languages ​​as teaching materials in foreign language lessons. Texts from advertising, films, the Internet, the press, but also from literature and poetry are suitable for this purpose.[43]

4. Didacticization of the authentic texts

Not every authentic text is suitable in its original form for foreign language teaching. Dealing with “real” texts is often difficult and particularly overwhelms the learners at the lower language levels.[44] In the words of Inez de Florio-Hansen:

"Every experienced teacher knows that many authentic texts are completely unsuitable for foreign language learners: They are based on linguistic and / or content-related requirements that the learners do not (yet) have, cannot have and which are sometimes not of interest to them. Above all, however, they do not meet the complex demands that one has to place on a target-language excerpt when teaching and learning foreign languages. "[45]


[1] Hernig M. (2005), 9.

[2] See Hering M. (2005), p.17.

[3] See Barkowski H; Crooked H-J. (2010), p. 21.

[4] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.5.

[5] See Barkowski H; Crooked H-J. (2010), p. 21.

[6] See Storch G. (1999), p.15.

[7] See Storch G. (1999), p.15.

[8] See Quetz J; Bolton S .; Lauerbach G. (1981), p.119.

[9] See Huneke H-W; Steinig W. (2010), 130.

[10] Storch G. (1999), p.17.

[11] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.9.

[12] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.5.

[13] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.7.

[14] Edelhoff C. (1985), 7.

[15] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.7.

[16] See Barkowski H., Krumm H-J. (2010), p.21.

[17] Barkowski H .; Crooked H-J. (2010), p.21.

[18] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.7.

[19] See Fandrych C; Thurmair M. (2011), p.15f.

[20] See Fandrych C; Thurmair M. (2011), pp. 5ffff.

[21] Brinker K. (2010), 125.

[22] See Fandrych C; Thurmair M. (2011), p. 16f.

[23] See Brinker K. (2010), p.125.

[24] Fandrych C; Thurmair M. (2011), p. 16.

[25] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.5.

[26] Edelhoff C. (1985), 5.

[27] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.7.

[28] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.5.

[29] See Gliwinski T .; Markowicz J. (1988), p.48.

[30] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.5.

[31] Quetz J; Bolton S .; Lauerbach G. (1981), p.119f.

[32] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.9.

[33] Edelhoff C. (1985), 11.

[34] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.9.

[35] Edelhoff C. (1985), p.9.

[36] Edelhoff C. (1985), p.10.

[37] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.10.

[38] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.10.

[39] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.12.

[40] Edelhoff C. (1985), p.12.

[41] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.12f.

[42] Edelhoff C. (1985), p.13.

[43] See Edelhoff C. (1985), p.12.

[44] See Neuner G. (1981), p.153.

[45] De Florio-Hansen, I. (2000), pp.204f.

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