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Deutsch im Blick is an online, non-traditional language learning program for beginning and early intermediate students of German. It is quite different from your traditional language textbooks, so it might take some getting used to. However, you’ll enjoy learning German as long as you like to play with language, explore how vocabulary and grammar work together to create meaning, and are curious about the cultures of the German-speaking countries.
The main premise of Deutsch im Blick is that learning a foreign language should focus on learning language in use. Thus, all activities are guided by real-life, plausible language situations: How would native and non-native speakers use the vocabulary, grammar and sociolinguistic rules in everyday contexts to make sense of what others tell them and to make meaning themselves?

Deutsch im Blick and Grimm Grammar

There are two components to this online program: the video-based learning materials online Deutsch im Blick and the zany, irreverent exploration of German Grimm Grammar. Your textbook introduces you to life in the German-speaking countries, with the assistance of several native speakers of German and students from the University of Texas:
The Germans & The Swiss: Berna, Eva, Harald, Jan and Peter. The American students: Adan, Erin, Hassan, Sara and Sophia
Through their experiences and voices, you will get to know life in Germany and the US, and will learn how to use German the way native- and non-natives speakers use it in everyday, real-life conversations. Through their interviews they share with you how they talk about themselves, their interests, school and free time, friends and family, and in general, how to have fun with the German language (yes, it is possible!).
Before you begin working with each chapter, you should watch the introductory video to get an idea about the chapter’s contents. Then to learn the material of the chapter, you will:
  1. work with the interviews with the native and non-native speakers,
  2. develop your vocabulary,
  3. learn to understand vocabulary in cultural situations presented in Sprache im Kontext videos,
  4. learn how to use the structures presented in Grimm Grammar to talk about your own life,
  5. practice pronunciation,
  6. complete WebQuests that take you to the German-speaking countries (at least virtually), and
  7. explore cultural practices via interactive polls.
Deutsch im Blick emphasizes the building of vocabulary as a primary pillar of the ability to communicate. In the experience of many students, knowing grammar (a component of language emphasized in most other textbooks) is not sufficient to interact with other people. The idea for this book developed from the experiences of several students on study abroad programs. These students had learned German grammar, but had not emphasized vocabulary enough to communicate successfully.
Deutsch im Blick also recycles lexical and grammatical information through the different chapters to help reinforce meaningful semantic, structural and cultural connections. Grammatical accuracy is important. There is a life and death difference between saying “I could kill that frustrating person!” and “I have killed that frustrating person!” (the life and death difference: death penalty v. not, in Texas). Yet, as you will see, there are no simple grammar exercises in the workbook asking learners to manipulate pronouns or verb tenses in 6-10 isolated sentences. Instead, grammatical sophistication and accuracy are fostered through listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks that reflect how grammatical structures work – along with relevant vocabulary – in real language use contexts. If the user looks carefully, many exercises focus on how to use grammar for effective meaningful communication. To recap, in order to help learners prepare for real-life interactions in German, Deutsch im Blick develops:
  • vocabulary as the key component of language at beginning levels of instruction. Without vocabulary, grammar has no meaning. Each chapter provides suggestions for learning important lexical items in the Core vocabulary list at the beginning of each chapter. There is also an expanded list at the end of each chapter to provide an additional resource. Each chapter also offers a number of exercises that help practice, reinforce and illustrate the real-life uses of German words, phrases, collocations (how words are used together) and idiomatic expressions.
  • listening skills with the help of extensive video clips (both guided interviews and authentic footage);
  • writing skills that focus on fun, interpersonal and academic genres our college-age learner population needs;
  • reading skills that help learners understand a variety of types of texts they would encounter in a study abroad situation and in later academic work if they pursue a major in German. These activities focus on building vocabulary, developing cultural literacy and preparing for independent reading beyond the classroom;
  • cultural analytic skills through regular authentic materials and tasks – through the listening, reading, writing and speaking tasks – that foster reflection, comparison and articulation of findings. There are web-quests that guide students to immersion in cultural and language topics and lots of music that offer a fun portal to German youth-culture(s). Culture, in this program, is understood as both literary and historical knowledge (Culture) as well as everyday concepts in the workings of a society (culture). Language is very much seen as integrally embedded and reflective of culture.

Authentic texts

You will work intensively with authentic materials throughout the program. It is by design that we provide you with products and perspectives which were produced for a German-speaking audience. We made sure that the tasks we built around the texts are appropriate for your level of German learning throughout the chapters. You will find that from the very beginning you can derive understanding from a variety of materials.


It is our understanding that culture and language are fundamentally intertwined and that culture is not a separate skill set to acquire, but rather the foundation of all language use. We also believe that there is no one “target” culture, but rather that communities have a variety of subcultures, with different practices and preferences. Therefore, we expect that the process of “learning German” involves discovery about ourselves, our own cultures and assumptions as well. Throughout the chapters you will find multiple opportunities to reflect on your own perspectives as you strive to understand the viewpoints reflected in the Austrian, German and Swiss examples you encounter.
Grimm Grammar is the grammar component of this learning program. Most fortunately, several Grimm fairy tale characters volunteered to teach you all kinds of exciting and intricate things about German grammar.
Snow White and the seven dwarves - among many other characters - tirelessly present grammatical concepts from adjectives (very exciting!) to verbs (to fascinate you). They model these concepts through – what they consider – witty dialogs and poignant narratives, which are supported by audio-files and illustrations that help make each grammar point a bit more memorable (the audio-recordings were done with the help of over 30 guest artists).
Each part of speech (e.g., adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs) is introduced in an overview, which provides a portal to more detailed information about relevant sub-topics (e.g., articles, the past tense of regular verbs, etc.). The grammar descriptions are provided in English and German to foster in-depth understanding and autonomous work by beginning language learners. The fill-in-the-blank, slash-sentence, multiple-choice and other types of self-correcting exercises that follow each grammar point also aim to promote understanding grammar in plausible communicative contexts (i.e., what someone might actually say in real life).

Titleseite [pdf, 2.1 MB]
Einführung [pdf, 3.1 MB]