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Questions on the Text – Technique

Wenn du die fol­gen­den Tipps für dei­ne Schü­ler ver­än­dern / anpas­sen möch­test, kannst du dir das Hand­out (doc) her­un­ter­la­den.

First rea­ding: During the first rea­ding you should try to get an over­view of the text and its (argu­mentative) struc­tu­re. If it’s a lite­ra­ry text your aim should be to under­stand the plot (Hand­lung) of the sto­ry. You should ask yours­elf ques­ti­ons like: What is it all about? How is the text struc­tu­red? What is the writer’s atti­tu­de towards his topic? What are his main argu­ments? In a non-fic­tion text (Sach­text) you should ana­ly­se espe­ci­al­ly the first (= topic) sen­tence of each para­graph and men­tal­ly summa­rize each para­graph in your own words. During the first rea­ding you should look up only words that are abso­lut­e­ly neces­sa­ry for under­stan­ding. Igno­re all other words like e.g. descrip­ti­ve (beschrei­bend) adjec­ti­ves.

Second rea­ding: During the second rea­ding you should try to under­stand also passages/details that you did not real­ly grasp (erfas­sen) the first time. In addi­ti­on you should look up ALL the words you do not know or whe­re you are not abso­lut­e­ly sure what they mean in the given context.

Ana­ly­sis: The next step is to read ALL the ques­ti­ons at least TWICE. Then you exami­ne which para­graph(s) or passage(s) each ques­ti­on refers to. Ana­ly­se ALL the ques­ti­ons first befo­re you start ans­we­ring any of them. Nor­mal­ly you can assu­me (davon aus­ge­hen) that ques­ti­ons are asked in chro­no­lo­gi­cal order, i.e. the first ques­ti­on refers to the first (or the first two) paragraph(s), the second ques­ti­on to the fol­lo­wing paragraph(s) etc. That is why it would be rather unu­su­al if the third ques­ti­on refers to the first two para­graphs, whe­re­as the first ques­ti­on refers to the third and fourth para­graph. Look out espe­ci­al­ly for key­words in the first sen­tence of a para­graph (= topic sentence).

Over­lap­ping: Ques­ti­ons nor­mal­ly do not over­lap (sich über­schnei­den). Look and think again care­fully when you are about to wri­te the same in two dif­fe­rent ans­wers. It may hap­pen that two ques­ti­ons refer to the same passage(s) but almost always they dri­ve at (abzie­len auf) dif­fe­rent aspects.

Notes: Note your results eit­her on extra note-paper or use e.g. a wavy line in the mar­gin tog­e­ther with the cor­re­spon­ding num­ber of the ques­ti­on. Lea­ve enough space on your note-paper so that you can easi­ly add some­thing later on.

High­light­ing: Keep in mind that you can­not undo (rück­gän­gig machen) wrong high­light­ing. High­light only key words and/or pas­sa­ges, do not was­te pre­cious time by high­light­ing com­ple­te para­graphs. Do NOT high­light unknown words becau­se they may be com­ple­te­ly irrelevant.

Quo­ting vs. para­phra­sing: Keep in mind that you are sup­po­sed to “use your own words as far as is appro­priate” (ange­mes­sen), and NOT “as far as pos­si­ble”. That means that you may, and some­ti­mes even should quo­te key words and/or pas­sa­ges. Moreo­ver you should quo­te when your para­phra­se would be much lon­ger and/or com­pli­ca­ted than the ori­gi­nal pas­sa­ge. Try to find Ger­man syn­onyms or para­phra­ses and see whe­ther you can trans­la­te them into Eng­lish. Do not for­get that your mono­lin­gu­al dic­tion­a­ry often offers per­fect syn­onyms and/or paraphrases.

Sty­li­stic Devices: Typi­cal­ly a ques­ti­on asks you to find three “rele­vant” sty­li­stic devices (pdf) and “explain how they work”. Look through the who­le text and note your results grou­ped accor­ding to the differ­ent devices on your note-paper. The four most com­mon devices are simi­le, meta­phor, personifica­tion and alli­te­ra­ti­on. Go through your list and choo­se the three best devices. When you have found e.g. seve­ral meta­phors you again choo­se the best one. Sty­li­stic devices are “rele­vant” or “good” when they occur (vor­kom­men) not just once in a text and when it is clear that the aut­hor has deliber­ately (absicht­lich) used them, i.e. for ins­tance when an alli­te­ra­ti­on is not just acci­den­tal (zufäl­lig).


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  1. Christin Kolk

    ich dan­ke sehr für die hil­fe. ich habe lan­ge ver­sucht es zu öff­nen und es öff­ne­te sich immer mit Chro­me, aber jetzt durch die­se hilf­rei­che sei­te, öff­ne ich es mit Fire­fox und es funktioniert 🙂

  2. Lena

    Super! Sind ganz vie­le tol­le Tipps dabei. Ich bin ganz beson­ders froh, die­sen Ein­trag gefun­den zu haben, zumal ich einen rela­tiv unmo­ti­vier­ten Eng­lisch­leh­rer habe.

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