Germanic Languages | The Sounds of Modern German
G448 | 2832 | Rex Sprouse
G448: The Sounds of Modern German (3 cr.)
Instructor: Rex A. Sprouse
Counts toward COAS Distribution Requirement in NMMC/Mathematical
Sciences and Cognition or Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The language of instruction will be German.
Goals of the course:
1.) to make you aware of how the sounds of (modern standard)
German are articulated;
2.) to make you aware of several of the major features of the
German sound system;
3.) to make you aware of a number of salient differences between
German and English with respect to their inventory of sounds and
their sound systems, particularly those that typically cause English-
speaking learners of German difficulty;
4.) to make you aware of some of the regional
differences in the pronunciation of German;
5.) to make you aware of some of the differences in the
pronunciation of German associated with different stylistic levels;
6.) to introduce you to the area of linguistics known as
It is assumed that your pronunciation of German will improve
significantly as a result of your participation in this course.
However, since each student=s starting point and progress will be
unique, your pronunciation and the improvement of your pronunciation
will not be a factor in evaluating your performance in the course.
Structure of the course: This course consists of three parts:
A.) the phonetics of German (how the sounds are produced);
B.) the linear phonology of German (the rules governing which
sounds are permitted in which positions of German words); and
C.) the suprasegmental phonology of German (how stress is
assigned to particular syllables in German words, which words are
mostly heavily stressed in German sentences, and the intonational
patterns of different German sentence types)
You will be required to obtain a copy of the following book, which we
will use as a reference throughout the semester:
Mangold, Max; et al. 1990. Duden Aussprachewörterbuch: Wörterbuch
der deutschen Standardaussprache. (Duden, Band 6.) 3. Auflage.
Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut/Dudenverlag. ISBN: 3-411-20916-
However, there is no textbook as such for the course. New material
will be presented in informal lectures in class supported by
extensive handouts. Significant class time will also be devoted to
(virtually) daily ungraded homework assignments and new problems.
Over the course of the semester, you will also have approximately six
specific assignments to write out and hand in. Attendance and class
participation are crucial to your success in this course. There will
be a midterm and a final examination.