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German in Discussion

Conference
September, 22 - 23, 2006
Bern, Switzerland

In Switzerland, German has many names: German is the second language or a foreign language (and sometimes a language that remains foreign), a first and an original language, a (Swiss) standard language, and also a dialect language and a language of school instruction and learning. German: that is many languages. But German in Switzerland is also one language in a (not always) harmonious concert of languages. German is in discussion.

Which languages do language learners in Switzerland need to learn, and in what order and to what extent should they be learned? How are languages best taught and learned? What do those instructed in a language need to know? What is good for Switzerland? These are not new questions, but they are important and today, in a time marked by multilingualism, mobility and migration, again particularly timely. And they concern us, as teachers, as researchers, as representatives of institutions and associations. We are looking for answers – together with you, in discussion.

“German in Discussion” is therefore the motto of the nation-wide Swiss conference on German as a Second Language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache / DaZ) and German as a Foreign Language (Deutsch als Fremdsprache / DaF) that will take place on September 22 and 23, 2006, at the University of Bern. The conference has been jointly organised by the Working Group on German as a Foreign Language (Arbeitskreis Deutsch als Fremdsprache / AkDaF) and the Editors of German as a Foreign Language in Switzerland (Lektoren und Lektorinnen Deutsch als Fremdsprache der Schweiz / Ledafids), the two Swiss professional associations for German as a foreign language, in order to underscore the relevance and topicality of its theme.

The Working Group on German as a Foreign Language and the Publishers’ Readers of German as a Foreign Language in Switzerland have been intensely engaged now for nearly 20 years with the teaching and learning of German as a foreign language and as a second language, with different focal points but with a common goal: in the foreground stands the (further) qualification of teachers and the professional exchange among members, whether at advanced training events, conferences or in the form of publications.

The guiding idea of the joint conference is to bring together scientific and scholarly findings with a rich and varied experience of practice, and this in an undogmatic and unbiased form. We want to come into conversation with and thereby profit from one another, so as to keep abreast of developments in the areas of German as a foreign language and as a second language and to influence ourselves these developments. And we want to position ourselves by discussing and pointing out the possibilities for a professional (more professional) organisation of German as a foreign language and as a second language in Switzerland.

Disketten-SymbolHere you will find the agenda of the conference (pdf, 148 KB).

    Publication on "The Power of Language"

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