Monday, February 9, 2015


My German 2 students started learning the Präteritum (Narrative Past / Simple Past / Imperfekt) this unit.  They've been working with the Perfekt / Conversational Past since the beginning of the first semester, and it's time to add in the other past tense.

We started out by comparing the Präteritum with the Perfekt.  German is different from many other languages in that there isn't really a difference in meaning between these two forms of the past tense; the difference is the context in which they are used.  Perfekt is used in conversation, while Präteritum is used primarily in writing.

Next, I taught students to form the narrative past stem for regular verbs by adding "te" to the verb stem.  To that, they should add an ending so that the verb agrees with the subject of the sentence.  This is a little bit different than the way the Präteritum is taught in the textbook and online sources I consulted.  They teach separate Präteritum endings for regular and irregular verbs.  I think it's easier for students to learn one set of endings that can be applied to both groups of verbs.  Once they know these endings, forming the narrative past for irregular verbs is simple.

I don't require students to memorize the narrative past and past participle for irregular verbs until German 3, but students in German 2 have to know how to recognize and use them correctly when provided them.

On Friday students used the verb dice to practice conjugating both regular and irregular verbs in the present and Präteritum.  Some of my students did especially colorful work

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