Treffpunkt Deutsch: Grundstufe (3rd Edition)

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9780130953445: Treffpunkt Deutsch: Grundstufe (3rd Edition)

As indicated by the title Treffpunkt—meaning "meeting place"—this book embraces the philosophy that the German classroom is a place where students get to know each other better through the target language. The book has been carefully designed to encourage students to interact spontaneously and meaningfully in German. Readers also encounter the culture and history of the German-speaking countries.

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From the Publisher:

This best selling German program integrates communication exercises and activites, comprehensive grammar instruction, in-text listening activities and timely cultural discussions.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Willkommen to the fourth edition of Treffpunkt Deutsch! It is hard to believe that fourteen years have passed since the first edition appeared. Those fourteen years have seen the reunification of Germany, the addition of three more countries to the European Union, the introduction of the euro, and the standardization of German orthography for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The fourth edition continues to reflect the historical, cultural, and linguistic changes in the German-speaking countries.

We are honored to have had such a loyal following of instructors and students over the past three editions. Their kudos and constructive criticism have been a source of great inspiration to us. Many of their practical suggestions were incorporated into the second edition and the third edition, and further suggestions have now been implemented in the fourth edition. We hope that new users of the text will become equally committed to the pedagogy presented in this text.

Student-centered, communicative learning is the foundation upon which Treffpunkt Deutsch is built. The text has been carefully designed to encourage students to interact spontaneously and meaningfully in German. Using this text will transform the classroom into a Treffpunkt, a meeting place, where students will get to know one another better through the target language. All language models, grammatical examples, and communicative activities use idiomatic German that is characteristic of and suited to the particular settings in which they appear.

Linguistic competence is developed through skill-chaining, i.e., through cyclical practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing:

  • Listening comprehension is an integral part of the text, not an activity done in the isolation of the language lab. This signals to students that developing aural skills in the target language is the first step for successful communication. We are proud to have been pioneers in introducing intext listening comprehension materials. Supplemental listening comprehension material is of course provided in the Hörverständnis section of the Arbeitsbuch.
  • Speaking skills are developed by having students progress from controlled dialogue situations to open-ended conversation about topics that personally involve them and their interests. Speaking skills are further honed by role plays and activities that are spin-offs of the in-text listening material.
  • Reading practice is introduced from the outset of the text. The Leute sections in each chapter present readings about famous and ordinary people in the German-speaking countries. From Kapitel 10 on, the Leute readings are augmented by authentic reading texts that challenge but do not overwhelm beginning students. All readings leave pre- and post-reading activities.
  • Writing skills are developed through guided writing activities. These are introduced as early as Kapitel 1. Themes for writing activities are centered on students' personal interests and are usually spin-offs of the in-text listening material.

The development of cultural competence continues to be a major goal of Treffpunkt Deutsch. The culture of the German-speaking countries is not relegated to the Kultur sections, but pervades all aspects of the text, including the line drawings. Many users have commented on the German "feel" that the artist, who lives in Germany, has projected into his work.

Vocabulary building takes a high priority. The two vocabulary lists in each chapter are organized according to parts of speech, and within these sections, in semantic groupings. The lists are followed by exercises (Wöorter im Kontext) that help students internalize the lexical items. Vocabulary learning is further enhanced by the vocabulary-building activities in the unique Wort, Sinn und Klang sections, which conclude with fun pronunciation activities.

Students will meet many characters of various ethnic backgrounds as they progress through Treffpunkt Deutsch. However, they will get to know two sets of characters better than others.

First, there are four friends who are all studying in München. As the book progresses, Claudia and Martin, and Stephanie and Peter become special friends.

Second, there are the Zieglers from Göttingen: Klaus and Brigitte, their sixteen-year-old daughter Nina, and their fourteen-year-old son Robert. Sibling rivalry plays a role in this family portrait.

Highlights of the Fourth Edition

The basic organization of Treffpunkt Deutsch remains the same. However, input from users and reviewers and our own experiences in teaching with the program have resulted in the following changes in the fourth edition:

  • Chapter themes and vocabulary are much more consistently reflected in the exercises, activities, and grammar presentations.
  • Further improvements have been made to the design:
    • Headings of grammar presentations are highlighted with a yellow bar to clearly distinguish them from exercises and activities.
    • Wortschatz 1 and Wortschatz 2 have always been presented on tinted pages. To further help students navigate through the text, the Kultur, Zwischenspiel, and Zusammenschau sections have also been tinted in the fourth edition.
  • Many of the line drawings now appear in color.
  • More communicative activities have been added.
  • Even more grammar explanations have been presented in chart form for easier reference.
  • A number of grammar presentations have been reorganized.
    • The position of nicht is presented more clearly.
    • In the presentation of the comparative and superlative, predicate adjectives and adverbs are introduced and practiced before attributive adjectives are presented.
    • The presentation of the order of dative and accusative objects has been simplified considerably.
    • The da-compounds are first presented in Kapitel 5, together with the accusative prepositions. These compounds are reviewed again in Kapitel 7 (with the dative prepositions) and in Kapitel 8 (with the two-case prepositions).
  • On the advice of reviewers, four grammar topics have been eliminated: the future tense, the impersonal passive, the present participle used as an adjective, and the subjunctive after als ob. The past perfect tense has again been relegated to a Sprachnotiz.
  • A number of Kultur and Leute sections have been updated or replaced.
  • Südtirol and Luxemburg are now included in the presentation of the German-speaking areas of Europe.
  • The introduction of the euro is reflected throughout the text.
  • The highly praised marginal annotations for the Annotated Instructor's Edition are even more comprehensive.
  • As an additional learning tool, the Anhang of this edition contains a list of the principal parts of irregular verbs in ablaut groups. Students often find the irregular verbs less formidable if they can detect a certain predictability within the irregularities.

Chapter organization

Treffpunkt Deutsch consists of an introduction entitled Erste Kontakte and twelve Kapitel. Erste Kontakte is the warm-up for the course. Its short exchanges give students the opportunity to practice greetings, introductions, and farewells. Students learn the alphabet, how to count, and are introduced to sounds and letters peculiar to German. The structure of the subsequent chapters is outlined below.

Chapter Opening Page. Together with an opening photo related to the chapter theme, chapter objectives are clearly displayed at the beginning of each opening spread, drawing students' attention to the communicative, structural, and cultural goals of each chapter.

Vorschau

  • Language models. The Vorschau introduces vocabulary and structures taught in the chapter in natural, idiomatic German through an array of language models such as dialogues, letters, brief narratives, realia pieces, and authentic literature. Follow-up activities, which expand on the texts and visuals, range from recognition and comprehension exercises to more open-ended, communicative activities that touch on the students' own lives. All Vorschau language models are on the audio CDs that accompany the text. Full idiomatic translations of the language models for the first nine chapters are provided in the Anhang.


  • Kultur. A major cultural reading (Kultur) related to the theme of the chapter is included in the Vorschau. This reading is always followed by an activity that expands on the topic. Throughout each chapter, additional cultural information on a wide range of topics is presented under the rubric Infobox. Cultural information is presented in English in Erste Kontakte through Kapitel 7; thereafter it is presented in German.


  • Wortschatz 1 and Wörter im Kontext. The development of a rich active and passive lexicon is one of the central goals of Treffpunkt Deutsch. Each chapter offers two active vocabulary lists. Wortschatz 1 concludes the Vorschau and contains useful, high-frequency words and expressions that have appeared in this section. To help students retain this vocabulary, the list is followed by Wörter im Kontext activities that provide students with the opportunity to apply the words in a variety of contexts.

Kommunikation and Formen

  • Structures and communicative activities. The grammar sections focus on basic structures essential to communication. The grammar explanations are clear and concise, and they contrast English and German usage wherever possible. Grammatica...

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