Overview of the component parts

Can Do statements

At the heart of “Profile deutsch” are the Can Do statements with related examples. The sum of all Can Do statements at a certain level can be read as a general description of that level. The positive wording describes what learners are able to do and how well at a certain level. A generally accepted system of Can Do statements makes it easier to compare different learning objectives, materials and tests and can help assess learning achievements more clearly.

The communicative language competence of a learner is realized in different communicative language activities which comprise reception, production, interaction and mediation. All of these language activities can occur in writing or orally or both.

The Can Do statements of “Profile deutsch” are thus listed at each level according to the following criteria:

Aktivities Form Skill
Interaction oral listening comprehension and speaking
Interaction written reading comprehension and writing skills
Reception oral listening comprehension
Reception written reading comprehension
Production oral speaking
Production written writing skills
Mediation oral interpreting
mediation written translating
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Global Can Do statements

The global Can Do statements describe qualitative aspects of the expected linguistic performance in particular. They describe in general terms how well someone can do something in relation to the four language activities at a certain level. This is expressed by phrases such as “reasonably accurate” - “relatively easy” - “when delivered clearly”. Global Can Do statements are not tied to any specific situation. They focus on the quality of communicative activities in a very comprehensive form. The global Can Do statements are divided into different categories, which illustrate developments in competence over all six levels, where available.
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Detailed Can Do statements

The main task of the detailed Can Do statements is to describe the typical and most likely behaviour of learners at certain levels, as well as expressing what learners are able to do. Detailed descriptions of different communicative activities make transparent for teachers and learners which language tasks should be coped with at what level. Can Do statements are assigned to different important basic linguistic acts. As a consequence, scales can be formed for certain communicative activities over all six levels, if possible. The detailed Can Do statements come with various examples and are supplemented by possible text types. They are suggestions which can help when teaching and compiling teaching materials and which should make it possible to be able to meet the demands of different groups of learners flexibly and within a coherent system. The detailed Can Do statements are also of invaluable help for test designers when compiling exam material.
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Linguistic resources

Linguistics resources are listed in different chapters. These resources are subdivided into different categories in each of the chapters. The user can easily find the linguistic resources needed to fulfill a certain task with the help of this categorisation.

Thematic vocabulary
e.g. topic of leisure or weather
including information on levels (A1-B2)

Speech acts with culture-specific aspects
e.g. requesting or making suggestions
including information on levels (A1-B2)

General concepts
e.g. time or space
including information on levels (A1-B2)

Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache
alphabetical list

For each linguistic element there is information about the level at which (A1-B2) the item should be used receptively or productively. In addition, you can find at least one example sentence each which demonstrates correct usage. Other detailed information (word class, plural form, verbal forms, etc.) supplement the entry. The different linguistic resources are cross-referenced. The dictionary supplements and adds to the other chapters.

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Thematic vocabulary

Thematic vocabulary is used, amongst others, to refer to persons, things, actions, etc. in a particular thematic context, e.g. “job and profession”. Together with the speech acts and general terms and concepts, this vocabulary is needed to talk about a particular topic or to act in a concrete situation, e.g. to explain a new computer program to someone at work.

The thematic vocabulary is very extensive. Therefore, it is important to select it according to the interests and needs of the learners and to add additional words and phrases to specific areas as required.

The thematic vocabulary in “Profile deutsch” is divided into 15 categories; talking about myself; information about people, where I live, the environment, travelling and transport, food and drink, shopping, public and private services, the body, health care and hygiene, perception and motor functions, job and profession, education/school, foreign languages, leisure and entertainment, personal relationships and contacts, politics and society.

You can find information about the level at which a word is used receptively and productively in most of the entries. Each entry lists an example sentence and grammatical information such as word class or article and plural forms for nouns. Should there be words or structures in other chapters or topics that are important for this entry, they are cross-referenced.

There are also so-called “open word fields” for special needs or specific group profiles. The entries in these fields are not associated with a particular level but encourage learners to supplement the lexicon according to their own specific needs and interests.

Many entries also refer to variations in the different German-speaking countries. In addition, you can find extra information on common country-specific terms in the so-called “D-A-CH” windows.
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Speech acts

The section on speech acts includes oral and written phrases used by the speaker to express their feelings, attitudes, thoughts or intentions. They can also be used to exchange information, maintain social relationships or to give structure to a conversation, for example.

In “Profile deutsch” speech acts are categorised by the communicative intentions which can be stated by these linguistic means: exchanging information, evaluating, commenting, emotions, regulating activities, social conventions, organising speech and successful communication.

Each category is divided into further sub-categories. Thus you can find “offer”, “request” etc. in the category “regulating activities”, for example. In the category “offer” you can find, amongst others, the speech act “to invite”. Here you also find different structures which are formulated in very general terms, e.g. darf ich Sie (zu x) einladen. The example sentence “Darf ich Sie zu einem Bier einladen?” shows how to use the speech act in a concrete situation. The entries are supplemented by information on the level at which this structure is used receptively and productively. A person may be invited in various manners, e.g. you can invite a person by making a request. Therefore, there are many cross-references to other speech acts which can be used for the same intention.
There is a separate category with culture-specific aspects of speech acts which seem to be culturally “sensitive”.

In almost every communicative situation there are aspects that are strongly culturally bound. If a language learner or user doesn’t know enough about these cultural specialities, there is always the danger of committing a faux pas. This means that an utterance may be semantically and grammatically correct, but nevertheless inadequate in a certain situation since it constitutes a violation of a norm or habit in a particular culture.

Body language, gestures and facial expressions are, of course, also influenced by culture, e.g. a nod for agreement or for disagreement, or the gesture you make when you want somebody to come to you. It is very difficult to generalise these aspects and to actually attribute them to certain levels. They are therefore not included in “Profile deutsch” although they should be, of course, acquired as an important part of socio-cultural competence.
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General concepts

When speaking or writing you do not only express intentions and special topics, but also deal with general concepts and ideas. These general concepts have to do with information about relations of time (past - present - future) or relations of space (above - below - left - right - in front of - behind, etc.) for example. In contrast to thematic vocabulary, these terms cannot be attributed to a specific topic, thus you can use the concepts of “left” and “right” in various contexts, e.g. to describe a flat, the side of the monitor or a political situation. “Profile deutsch” took over the seven categories from “Kontaktschwelle”, a standard reference book for German as a Foreign Language / German as a Second Language: persons, objects, things, concepts, existence, space, time, quantity, properties, relations.
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The in-built dictionary “Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache” contains over 33,000 entries with information on grammar, variations on meaning, word formation and idioms. The dictionary supplements the other word lists and helps when compiling vocabulary lists for the levels C1 and C2.

The entries are listed alphabetically and contain information about levels A1 - B2 when the words also occur in the thematic lists or in the list of general concepts. There are also direct links to the dictionary from the thematic lists and the section on general concepts, giving users more information about a particular entry in one of the lists.

Idiomatic phrases and word-formation procedures are highlighted as they play an important role at higher language levels.

The dictionary is also the starting point for compiling special word lists for particular groups.
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Grammar (A1 - B2)

In “Profile deutsch” grammar can be accessed from two points of view. On the one hand, there is “classical” grammar in which the entries are documented in systematic grammatical categories such as text - sentence - word. On the other hand, you can access grammar via speech act functions and the intentions they state. Both means of access are interrelated, which makes it possible, for example, to search for the different speech acts and linguistic intentions that can be expressed with one word class.
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Systematic grammar

This is divided into five main categories: text, sentence, syntactic unit, words, word formation.

Each chapter of the systematic grammar section in “Profile deutsch” comprises a general “explanation”, e.g. of definite/indefinite articles, and “samples” in which you find example sentences showing articles being used and including information on levels. Most of the example sentences are taken from lists of speech acts and general concepts.
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Functional grammar

The functional approach categorises grammatical phenomena according to intentions, relations and textual elements.

The functional representation shows which linguistic resources can be used for a speech act at a certain level. An intention can be stated by various means, for example: modal verbs, future tense, certain conjunctions or prepositions, etc. These different possibilities of realizing an intention are illustrated with concrete examples.
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Texts and textual patterns

In the “text types” section, texts that share similar functions or have a comparable aim are listed together. The text type “job interview”, for example, comprises conversations that will never be exactly the same, but that have the same aim: from the applicant’s point of view, the aim is to get information about the vacancy and to make a good impression. From the employer’s point of view, the aim is to gather information about the life and career of the applicant in order to be able to form an impression of him/her. Therefore, “Profile deutsch” contains a list of approximately 160 different text types. They are categorised according to six different aspects, namely:

Channel: oral - written
Interaction: simultaneous - delayed
Medium: e.g. radio and audio recordings, new media, books
Purpose: e.g. general information, advertising, teaching
Coding: e.g. graphs and tables, images
Area: private, public, professional, educational

That way all text types can be listed that are important in the educational sector, for example. In the “channel” category, text types are included that are used more often orally than in writing. All text types are cross-referenced with the detailed Can Do statements, which means that together with each Can Do statement a number of text types are listed which are important in connection with this Can Do statement.

Some types of texts, like manuals, for example, are similar in structure, contents and wording. Such text types can be described by textual patterns. These textual patterns are often implemented differently in different cultures. This is why “Profile deutsch” lists about 35 textual patterns that describe the following text characteristics: short characterisation, structure, language: grammar, vocabulary, and in oral textual patterns also phonetics and body language.
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Learning and testing strategies

Strategies are used to mobilise our own resources and activate skills and processes in order to complete tasks as successfully and efficiently as possible.

Strategies are mental plans that are not visible. Only when a certain technique is used or applied does a strategy become clear.

Usually, several methods and techniques are available to carry out a strategy, which individuals choose according to their personality, language and strategic competence or situational context, etc.

“Profile deutsch” differentiates between two different types of strategy:

Communicative strategies for:
- receptive strategies
- productive strategies
- interactive strategies
- strategies for mediation

Learning and testing strategies for:
- language learning/affective strategies 
- decision-making strategies
- memorizing strategies
- problem-solving strategies
- strategies for self-monitoring
- processing strategies
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