Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Language of German Drama
Academic Year
Semester 1
Eligibility for entry to Level 2 German
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 8 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 8 x 1 Hour Seminars
Workshop 2 x 1 Hour Workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Attendance and participation in lectures and seminars; participation in scenic and dialogue-related work   10%
Semester Assessment 2 Hours   1 workshop presentation relating to the cultural implications and the linguistic structures introduced, defined by the student, with some help from secondary literature (particularly from Scheller and Johnston)  20%
Semester Assessment Preparation of 1 self-written dramatic scene in one of the styles studied in the form of a dialogue, stream of consciousness or postdramatic form (min of 1000 words)  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   One of two essay questions in relation to the dramatic texts studied (with a focus on cultural implications)   50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit all failed or missed elements. These can be resubmitted to the module coordinator and presented at an individual tutorial session during the resit period.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit the exam if failed or missed unless only the presentation and self-written scene are failed. One of two essay questions in relation to the dramatic texts studied (with a focus on cultural implications)   100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an ability to read drama in depth and critically, with a particular sensitivity to the importance of and linguistic attributes of dramatic dialogue
2. Demonstrate an ability to identify, interpret and contextualize various forms of dramatic dialogue and understand their cultural implications
3. Show an ability to grasp the general evolution of dramatic form and linguistic structures from well-made prose and verse to postdramatic theatre in German
4. transfer the linguistic skills learned to their own foreign language learning and be in a position to utilize the vocabulary and the linguistic structures discussed in their own speech acts and in specified foreign language situations
5. Develop their own creative dialogue ideas and present them to a select audience
6. Critically engage with and answer essay questions aimed at the cultural and philosophical context and implications of the plays studied


The aim of this module is to study the language of German Drama stretching from the 18th to the 21st century. Students will learn to understand dialogue as a primary vehicle for meaning in a range of dramatic scenes. They will learn how to establish links with literary and philosophical concepts in German philosophy and culture, ranging from the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Realism, to Modernism, post-1956 drama in the German-speaking countries and to contemporary theories of postdramatic writing. The primary objective of the module, however, is to provide students with a critical understanding of dramatic language and dialogue and its ability to transform and utilize language in the form of situative speech acts. As a direct learning outcome, students will develop dialogue-specific linguistic skills, critical reading skills, and the module will enable them to approach the genre of German Drama as an opportunity for scenic play. They will learn to differentiate between well-made dialogues and streams of consciousness on the one hand, and between historical drama and postdramatic theatrical writing on the other. Students will also gain a solid foundation in the linguistic and lexical understanding of German dialogue patterns and encounter workshop situations in which they will be asked to transfer theoretical knowledge to a number of pre-defined speech acts and workshop situations.

Brief description

This module, taught in both German and English, will approach the notions of drama and dialogue as templates for a more thorough linguistic understanding of the speech act and of scenic interpretation in Foreign Language Teaching. Several extracts and canonical plays, e.g. Goethe’s FAUST, Buechner’s WOYCZECK, Duerrenmatt’s BESUCH DER ALTEN DAME and a few more contemporary pieces such as David Gieselmann’s HERR KOLPERT will serve as illustrative examples of German drama, culture and philosophy in a number of formal lectures. The concept of dialogue and the idea of the “mise-en-scene”, however, will play a vital part in all of the seminar’s discussions and workshop situations. Students will be asked to gain a realistic understanding of the linguistic and cultural concepts of dialogue. They will also encounter numerous opportunities to transfer the skills they have learned to actual scenic interpretations. Ingo Scheller’s original idea of an ‘Erfahrungsraum’ will form the basis for students’ active linguistic development. Keith Johnston’s ideas on improvisation techniques and pedagogical theatre concepts will further assist students in activating the vocabulary and the linguistic structures they have learnt in a number of dialogue- driven exercises.


The module follows a 1x lecture and 1x seminar/workshop per week structure. Week 6 is traditionally Reading Week, which will be an ideal time for students to start preparing for the workshop presentations at the end. Lectures will introduce the plays and their cultural context. Seminars and workshops will work with extracts only.

Week 1: Introduction (German Drama, the nature of dramatic dialogue & its linguistic implications – structure of the module and introduction of scenic interpretation)
Scheller, Ingo & Johnston, Keith

Week 2: Goethe’s FAUST 1808 (Introduction – cultural implications - language)
GOETHE Scene and interpretation – specific dialogue and cultural importance

Week 3: Buechner’s WOYZCECK 1879 (introduction – cultural implications – language)
Buechner Scene and interpretation – specific dialogue and cultural importance

Week 4: Brecht’s DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER 1928 (intro – cultural implications – language)
Brecht scene and interpretation – specific dialogue and music as agent

Week 5: Duerrenmatt’s BESUCH DER ALTEN DAME (intro – cultural implications – language)
Duerrenmatt Scene and interpretation – specific dialogue

Week 6: Heiner Mueller’s DIE HAMLETMASCHINE (intro – cultural implications - postdramatic theatre as a concept– language)
Mueller scene and interpretation

Week 7: Brussig/Dehler’s HELDEN WIE WIR (intro – novel – cultural implications – language)
Brussig/Dehler scene – the language of adaptations

Week 8: David Gieselmann HERR KOLPERT (intro – cultural implications – language)
Gieselmann scene – language and inspirations/metalanguage

Week 9: Felicia Zeller BIER FUER FRAUEN (intro – postdramatic theatre – cultural implications)
Zeller scene improvisation, stream of consciousness (role monologue)

Week 10 : Preparation for workshop
Workshop, presentation of scene (performance), discussion

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Team work during workshops and seminars, presentation; Development of clear and accurate expression in the foreign language (German), and in English in writing, speaking and presentation. Transfer of linguistic skills learned, with a focus on practical applicability
Improving own Learning and Performance Constant feedback during term time and reading week preparation; there are consultation possibilities with the module convener. The quality of independent thinking will be assessed in the essay assignment and via the practical presentation exercise and self-written piece. They also have to self-reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in preparation for seminars and assessments.
Information Technology Using Blackboard; Students have to find on-line source texts and secondary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Presentation skills, role play and critical thinking; Ability to work independently and present as part of a team, identifying research questions and problematic linguistic structures. Awareness of the relationship between dialogue and speech acts, transferable to foreign language situations.
Problem solving Practical assessment and workshop situations, Students have to track down texts; identifying of source texts and secondary literature. They have to solve scene specific problems for the scenic workshops and discussions.
Research skills Researching plays and using secondary literature, essay writing skills; students have to do independent research in preparation for their essays, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Subject Specific Skills Linguistic ability and transferal skills, foreign language didactics & vocabulary and Grammar expansion
Team work See above


This module is at CQFW Level 5