German Grammar: PowerPoint Lectures
The following lectures on aspects of German grammar are aimed both at undergraduate students and anyone who wishes to refresh their knowledge of the German language. They include a number of short quizzes by which you can test the skills that you have acquired. All lectures are in Microsoft PowerPoint format.
Click on the links in the navigation panels on the left hand side of this page to access other online German materials such as grammar aids for both German and English, bilingual and monolingual dictionaries as well as online German courses.
If you find links that you think should appear on this page, or if you have any comments on the site, please e-mail Paul Joyce, the designer of these online lectures.
Lecture 1: The Gender of German Nouns
How can we work out the gender of German nouns? Although there is no escape from memorising the genders of each noun that we encounter, the endings of German nouns can provide valuable information. Certain types of nouns, such as countries, minerals and names of cars and motorbikes also tend to belong to specific genders.
Lecture 2: The Plural of German Nouns
Unlike English plurals, very few German nouns form their plural by simply adding an -s. What are the different forms of the German plural and how can these forms be grouped together?
Lecture 3: The German Case System
What are the different German cases and what do we mean by subjects and objects? Which German cases take which endings?
Lecture 4: Definite and Indefinite Articles
The German definite and indefinite articles often cause problems as their endings vary according to case and noun gender. Which endings should we add in which contexts? This lecture also explains equivalent forms such as aller and dieser as well as the different forms of the German possessive.
Lecture 5: Verbal Particles and Tense Forms
This lecture explains how to form the present, preterite/imperfect, future, perfect and pluperfect tenses of German regular and irregular verbs. It also looks at key terms such as finite and non-finite verbs.
Lecture 6: German Adjective Endings
Adjective endings are probably the hardest grammatical point for non-Germans to grasp. When should we add endings to adjectives and how do we know which endings to add to which determiners? This lecture also looks at the problems caused by adjectives with -el and -er in their stem, as well as adjectives such as hoch and adjectives of colour.
Lecture 7: Case and Adjective Endings (Revision)
This lecture looks back on the usage of the different German cases and their endings. It also seeks to combine this knowledge with a reprise of key information on German adjective endings.
Lecture 8: Prepositions and Conjunctions
What are the key prepositions in German and which cases do they take? Although words such as after can be used in English both as prepositions and conjunctions, this is not the case in German where two different words are often required. How can we distinguish between the two?
Lecture 9: Prepositions and their Usage
This lecture concentrates in particular on the so-called Wechselpräpositionen, prepositions that can either take the accusative or the dative case depending on context and whether they are denoting position or movement. The different usages of prepositions that take the dative case are also examined here.
Lecture 10: Clause Structure - Main and Subordinate Clauses
What is the difference between a main clause and a subordinate clause and how does this affect the word order of German sentences? This lecture also seeks to explain what we mean by predicates and complements and looks at word order in constructions that require an infinitive.
German Linguistics Lectures
Lecture 11: German and the Phonetic Alphabet
It is important to distinguish between the way in which a sound is pronounced and the way it is written. The alphabet we use when writing German and English turns out to be imprecise when it comes to describing the sounds of the two languages. This lectures explains how we can express the sounds of German more precisely in terms of phonemes and looks at how and where the different sounds are formed in our mouth.
Lecture 12: An Introduction to German Dialects
What do we mean when we speak of dialects of German and how do they differ from both standard and colloquial German? This lecture also looks at whether dialects are on the decline and how dialectology attempts to trace their nature and extent. Why are certain dialects (such as Swiss German) popular and others (such as Sächsisch) unpopular?
For further information on modern German dialects, visit my online index of German dialect websites. It contains extensive links for all the main dialect regions, as well as dialect maps and general information on linguistics in the German-speaking countries.