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Review

Author(s): Barbara Schnuttgen Jurasek


Review by: Barbara Schnuttgen Jurasek
Source: The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 66, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 426-427
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers
Associations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/327468
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426 Reviews: MLJ, 66 (Winter 1982)
Sprechintentionen Modelle 4, a series consisting of preparing students for the Advanced Placement
three cassettes, Textbuch, and Ubungsbuch. To Examination in German Language and/or the
this end, the series offers 141 segments of spon- Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache. (The series' fif-
taneously spoken German, divided according teen Sprechintentionen are among the Lernziele of
to Sprechintentionen into fifteen categories, e.g., the Zertifikat.) Above all, however, Sprechinten-
expressing gratitude, discussing plans, etc. tionen Modelle 4 can be a valuable tool to help
Each of the dialogues can be found both on the students make the quantum leap from the safe
cassettes and in the Textbuch. and cozy, albeit artificial, world of their ele-
Dialogues in each of the fifteen categories mentary textbooks to the real world of authentic
vary in length and difficulty. The speakers are speech.
also varied: older and younger as well as male
and female speakers are included. Each of the DELBERT C. HAUSMAN

Sprechintentionen is accompanied by photographs Lower Moreland (PA) High School


that illustrate several of the component dia-
logues. All of the fifteen sections end with a
song selected for its relevance to the particular BALDEGGER, MARKUS, MARTIN MULLER & GONTHER
Sprechintention. For example, in Sprechintention 6, SCHNEIDER. Kontaktschwelle Deutsch als Fremd-
"Sich beschweren und sich entschuldigen," one sprache. Berlin: Langenscheidt, 1980. Pp. 504.
finds the former Schlager "Hey, Boss ich brauch Paper.
mehr Geld" and in Sprechintention 1, "Begriissen,"
the song "Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein."
The accompanying Ubungsbuch offers stu- In the early 1970s the Council of Europe,
dents the opportunity to practice the material through its Council for Cultural Cooperation,
of the dialogues in a wide range of exercises. began research in syllabus design. In an effort
Liickendiktat, paraphrase, transcription, dia- to reorganize foreign language programs in the
logue reproduction with and without cues, area of adult education, the goal was to specify
photo description, and role playing are among a minimal level of communicative proficiency
the numerous exercises found in the Ubungs- and a common core of foreign language knowl-
buch. Most of these exercises are both realistic edge within the framework of the Unit-System.
and cognitive activities rather than merely The Council's first study, The Threshold Level
mechanical manipulations. (Van Ek, 1975), originated the concept of the
In preparing Sprechintentionen Modelle 4, the functional-notional syllabus. A team of experts
authors rejected the often contrived and arti- was commissioned to create a similar instru-
ficial-sounding dialogues found in so many lan- ment for German as a foreign language that
guage textbooks in favor of more or less spon- corresponds in content and range to the
taneous speech in the form of the "simulated Threshold Level model. Kontaktschwelle is the
dialogue" and the "semi-authentic dialogue." (In result or rather, according to the authors, the
the former, speakers are given a specific Sprech- beginning of such efforts.
intention and asked to converse; in the latter, Part I describes the origin of the Council's
only one speaker is aware that the conversa- project, its pragmatic orientation, and the scope
tion is being recorded - used for public conver- and principles that govern the use of the func-
sations only.) The resulting dialogues, some of tional-notional lists. According to the authors,
which were taped on location and are replete the essential components of the Unit-System
with background sounds and noises, are far are to allow for choice or combinations of indi-
more authentic and challenging than most ordi- vidual units, depending on the needs, capabili-
nary textbook conversations. ties, and motivations of the target-learner
While this series should be most effective as group. Needs analysis is the keystone of this
a supplement in intermediate courses, Sprech- model and a subsequent description of learner-
intentionen Modelle 4 does contain several dia- oriented goals becomes essential.
logues that are easy enough for elementary stu- Part II offers 271 pages of detailed lists of
dents and others which should challenge more semantic exponents that appear suitable for the
advanced students. This new offering from realization of genuine communicative ex-
Inter Nationes should prove useful to teachers change. They are arranged according to 1)

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Reviews: MLJ, 66 (Winter 1982) 427

speech acts and the corresponding forms that compendium are reflected in the Preface's open-
express these notions (e.g., widersprechen: das ing sentence: "This anthology spans the full
stimmt nicht; das ist nicht wahr; das ist nicht richtig; range of Hebrew poetry, from the Bible to con-
Unsinn), 2) general concepts (e.g., Raum, Rela- temporary Israeli writing" (p. 7). The scope is
tionen, Zeit, Eigenschaften), and 3) specific con- enormous, the editorial task formidable: to con-
cepts (e.g., Wohnen, Personalien, Arbeit und Beruf). vey through 325 poetic works an entire verse
Part III is an inventory of the grammatical tradition, from classical to modern times. To
units and structures that are contained in the assist the reader, the editor, a prominent Israeli
previous three notional categories. The intent poet, includes 150 pages of introduction,
is not to explain rules but to elucidate the struc- scholarly discussions of genres and versification
tures with examples. systems, a thoroughly annotated Table of
The authors have accomplished precisely Poems, and other helpful apparatuses. The
what they were charged to do. Within the Euro- main body of poetry (about 450 pages, divided
pean context Kontaktschwelle now constitutes, into three unequal sections, classical, medieval,
together with similar studies in four other tar- and modern) is presented in juxtaposed
get languages, the basic instrument for an columns of Hebrew texts and non-poetic, literal
already widely accepted new language peda- translations in English.
gogy. The potential user in the United States, The volume evinces an ardent scholarly bent
however, should be aware of the following: and a genuine literary sensitivity. Carmi has
first, the lists are not intended to be teaching made his selections "as a poet, in search of the
materials in themselves but resources for the most rewarding literary prizes" (p. 8). With this
planning, development, and evaluation of dual perspective he aims to transmit the vast,
materials. Second, it does not describe a com- relatively unknown treasure lode of Hebrew
municational methodology or address the issue verse, especially that of the late classical and
of how classroom discourse is to be orchestrated medieval periods. An implicit goal is to impart
using the notional exponents. Third, it does not an awareness of the continuity of Hebrew
attempt to present a system of priorities or a poetic activity over the ages - the reason, per-
pedagogical sequence for selecting and order- haps, that the 70-page section on "Modern
ing the functions. (These are not deficiencies Times" is included, despite its apparent and
of the study, since the authors at the outset admitted inadequacy. The selection of works
make no such claims.) Finally, only profes- is competent and interesting, but the problems
sionals with native fluency and a thorough of audience, method of presentation, and over-
understanding of Landeskunde will reap the full extended scope prevail.
benefit of this remarkable tool. In managing the conflict between scope and
However, curriculum designers, textbook selectivity, Carmi has made certain adjust-
writers or teachers who find the traditional ments. He has abridged many poems and has
grammatical syllabus incompatible with the limited drastically the selections of modern
attainment of communicative ability and are poetry. In addition, he has eliminated en-
looking for a flexible taxonomy of semantically tirely - but for reasons of taste, not space - the
oriented learning units rather than a ready- early modern period (ca. 1800-1890). The bias
made lesson plan will find Kontaktschwelle in- is clearly medieval; and it is often the rarer, less
valuable. known poetic works, which seem to have met
the criteria both of Carmi's personal taste and
BARBARA SCHNUTTGEN JURASEK of his sense of scholarly erudition.
Earlham College As to the book's main contents, the way the
poetry is presented and, by implication, its
intended audience are persistent perplexities.
The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. Ed. & Trans. There is no attempt to render the poetry in
T. Carmi. New York: Penguin Books, 1981. English translation. In effect the poetry in the
Pp. 608. $9.95, paper. volume exists only in the Hebrew originals.
Thus accessibility to the poems qua poetry by
the English-only reader is essentially barred.
Both the pleasures and the problems of this The intended audience seems to be less the gen-

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