Schreibprojekt Nr 1

This is your first writing assignment, so don’t worry, we know you can’t say very much yet! Still, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can say after only two weeks of German. Plus, it’s good practice to start putting full sentences together into paragraphs that are coherent and concise, and will help you to think in full sentences (and conversations) rather than single words.

For this assignment, which only needs to be about 40 words long (that’s about 8 sentences), you’ll need to describe yourself and a few members of your family (or friends). Use the vocabulary that we’ve been covering in class for physical characteristics, as well as the basic introductory vocabulary. Stick to the basics, and you’ll be fine -- we’ve already learned so many words to describe people that you simply need to synthesize and encapsulate what we’ve been working with.

If you need to use words that you don’t know, go ahead and use a dictionary, but make sure that the meaning is really what you want -- it’s a good idea to look up the German word you’ve found as well, to make sure it translates the same way back into English. (A real-life example from a former student: if you want to say “soccer coach” and you look up “coach” in the dictionary, you may find “Kutsche”. But looking up “Kutsche” in the German side of the dictionary shows that it means “carriage”, in other words, a horse-drawn “coach”. So “soccer carriage” won’t make any sense!) When in doubt, check with your T.A. about the meaning of a word!

Before you start to write, fill out the table below with some basic information about yourself and two or three family members (feel free to substitute other family members for the ones listed, or use friends if you’re short on family!). Then you can put the information into sentences and join them together into a nice paragraph.

Wie heißt er/sie?    
Wie alt ist er/sie?    
Woher kommt er/sie?    
Er/sie hat _____ Haar:    
Er/sie hat _____ Augen:    

Now you can write your paragraph. If you want to use a few flavoring words that we’ve seen but haven’t officially learned, here’s a short list of suggestions:

auch..........also, toonicht sehr.......not very 

To get you started on phrasing, here’s an excerpt of what we might write. You can copy the basic ideas here; fill in your own information and expand it to include other family members and anything else you need.

Ich heiße Nancy, und ich bin 31 Jahre alt. Ich komme aus San Diego. Ich habe braunes Haar und grüne Augen. Ich bin kurz und mollig, und ich bin auch freundlich. Mein Vater heißt Ron. Er ist 66 Jahre alt, und er hat braune Augen und graues Haar. Er kommt aus South Dakota. Er ist groß und schlank, und er ist relativ alt. Meine Mutter heißt ...

This writing assignment will receive a letter (percentage) grade, as you know. The primary grading criteria will be: have you expressed what is required (some physical descriptions as well as names and ages); have you expressed this information clearly, so that others can understand it; and have you shown accuracy in spelling and, to a limited extent, grammar. If you make mistakes because we haven’t yet learned how to phrase something, that’s not nearly as much a problem as if you misuse something that we learned explicitly. Overall, though, it’s best to stick to the paradigms/structures that you have learned, since you know them to be correct.

Please write your paragraph either on the back of this page or on a separate page. You do not need to type it, and in fact we’d prefer that you NOT type it at this point. (We’ll be discussing how to type special German characters like ß and ü in the future.)