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A Foundation Course in Reading German

(1 review)

Howard Martin

Alan Ng, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Pub Date: 2017

ISBN 13:

Publisher: Independent

Language: English

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Reviewed by Esmee Van der Hoeven, Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley on 2/2/18

A note beforehand: I’m not teaching German, but as a Dutch language instructor teaching a similar course for the Dutch language, I enjoyed reading and reviewing A Foundation Course in Reading German. A Foundation Course in Reading German is... read more


Table of Contents


  • 1: Basics
  • 2: Cases, present tense
  • 3: Articles, simple past
  • 4: Verbs with prefixes; adjective endings
  • 5: Prepositions, reflexives
  • 6: Conjunctions, comparatives
  • 7: Perfect tenses and participles
  • 8: Werden, relative clauses
  • 9: Passive voice
  • 10: Modal verbs
  • 11: Infinitive usages
  • 12: Da- compounds
  • 13: Extended adjective constructions
  • 14: Subjunctive I
  • 15: Subjunctive II
  • 16: Finishing touches


About the Book

This textbook guides a learner who has no previous German experience to gain the ability to accurately understand formal written German prose, aided only by a comprehensive dictionary.

About the Contributors


Alan Ng wears 3 hats for the Division of Continuing Studies, one bearing the title "Director of Outreach Technology," another one as a German instructor, and – rarely – a third as an ad-hoc instructor of Irish traditional music. Alan is chiefly responsible for overseeing the Division's use of technology and providing strategic IT leadership for the continuing-education units across campus. That work includes project management and technical consulting across the areas of instruction, marketing, financials, and business process improvement. His responsibilities within the German program are to teach the Independent-Learning German course 391 (A Foundation Course in Reading German), and to grade the German for Reading Knowledge Exam.

Alan's main academic background is in German literature, for which he completed a PhD at UW-Madison in 2002 on the topic of a politically explosive 1962 East-Berlin poetry reading with far-reaching consequences. His professional notoriety in this field, however, rested mainly on his volunteer work publishing and editing, arguably the world's leading professional Web portal for Germanists, which he founded in 1996. His interests in Germanistik have always incorporated technology, including inventing online teaching tools in German and Dutch during the birth years of the Web, writing academic hypertext (such as on poet Paul Celan) and building the North American directory database for German studies. More recently, Alan invented and built Syntax Untangler, an online, open-source tool for teaching reading skills in any language.