Sequences in German grammar teaching: An analysis of Dutch, Finnish and global textbooks

Tammenga-Helmantel, M. & Maijala, M., Mar-2018, In : IRAL. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching. 56, 1, p. 45-78 34 p.

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This study investigates whether sequences in which grammar topics are presented in textbooks for German as a foreign language (henceforth GFL) match empirically determined, universal acquisition sequences. Moreover, it explores what patterns course books display regarding a set of grammar structures that are particularly interesting from an L1-perspective. From the literature we know that some grammar phenomena such as verb placement display a general acquisition pattern irrespective of the learners’ L1. In addition, we find L1-specific research such as studies on the acquisition of case assignment for Dutch learners of German. The current study considers a range of Dutch, Finnish, and global textbooks for young adolescent learners (13–15 years) at a beginner level to identify the sequence in which they introduce simple and complex verbal structures, tense, case, and pronouns. Across all these domains, the results display mainly similarities. When differences are found, these are often related to language-specific characteristics of the L1 and the typological distance between the L1 and L2 German, namely when Finns learn German pronouns and separable verbs. Overall, the analyzed teaching materials introduce the majority of the grammar issues in accord with the acquisition sequences but more L1-specific empirical research is necessary. We argue that analyses of grammar sequences in textbooks can be used as input for both SLA/FLA empirical research and theory development, especially concerning the teachability of grammar.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-78
Number of pages34
JournalIRAL. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number1
Early online date23-Jan-2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2018



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