When you first introduce your students to German sentence construction, you most certainly use simple sentences that followed the
normal English word order. like Der Mann ist hier – The man is here – and Kann die Mutter kommen? – Can the mother come? You tell your students that German and English are both members of the Germanic family, so they are similar in some ways.
Then they graduate to longer sentences and start raising their eyebrows. Your lessons now contain sentences like Kommt der Vater mit? and Ja, ich muss die Margit helfen. They begin to realize that the word order differs in regard to verbs, direct and indirect objects, and adverbs.
Playing the following games can help your students learn about word order and German syntax. Filling in the blanks, providing the missing text of a phrase or paragraph, or unscrambling mixed up words to form German sentences can help your students learn to pay attention to what words go where in the sentences, while having fun. German numbers are also very tricky. Some games can take care of this problem with remarkable ease.
Here are examples of some games you can play with your students:
Bingo is a perfect game to play for helping with memorizing numbers. Give your students Bingo cards, and call out the numbers in German. Give the winners small prizes, and you can even give a jackpot prize.
Have your students pretend they are hotel receptionists, for example, and they have to assign rooms to some guests. You then call out room numbers to be assigned to names which they have written down from A-E for example. They must write the correct number in figures and words next to the correct name.
Name – Zimmer-Nummer
- Frau Wagner – 24 – vier und zwanzig
- Herr Schmidt
- Frl. Jansen
- Frau Wolf
- Herr Müller
You then call the names and numbers, in or out of order as you wish; for example: Herr Muller, Zimmer nummer zehn; Fräulein Jansen, Zimmer nummer drei und zwanzig etc.
Here is another number game. Give your students a list of names with numbers written next to them. These numbers represent telephone numbers. You give them as many as eight names, but you are only calling four numbers. Have the students write the correct number next to the correct name. For example, you call the name Wolf then call the number 813 337 8594 acht- ein -drei, drei -sieben und dreissig, fünf und achtzig – vier und neunzig, so they can get the hang of writing and saying the compound numbers. Alternatively, you can call each number separately depending on the level of the students. You then call three other numbers only, and the students write them out next to the correct names.
On the board, scramble the answers to questions you are going to ask. For example one of the answers is: "Ich mochte eine Woche bleiben", and your question is "ie lange mochten Sie bleiben?" You mix the words in the answer like this: "mochte ich bleiben eine Woche" or you ask “Wie alt ist deine Schwester?" And you mix the words, so the correct reply :"Sie is jetzt drei Monate alt" is changed into "drei Monate ist Sie alt jetzt."
Have your students write the words Zimmer-Nr. in one column and Euros in another. You then have them pretend that the hotel manager is asking his secretary to get the invoices ready for the guests who are leaving. Read out the room numbers and the sums of money. Have them write down the room numbers and the respective amounts of euros in figures and words. For example:
Make a column and list from a-d; for example
a. (Zimmer no. achtzen) 18 – 58,80 – acht und fünfzig
b.(Zimmer no. zwanzig) 20 – 75,00 – fünf und siebzig
c.(Zimmer no. ein un dreissig) 31 – 136, 58 – hundert, sechs und dreissig, acht und fünfzig
d.(Zimmer no. vierzig) 40 – 205,98 – zwei hundert fünf, acht und neunzig
This is a very good game for practice with numbers, since numbers are very difficult to get the hang of, and dealing with money is important in any language.
Practice Makes Perfect
As they practice reading German stories, newspaper and magazine articles for the advanced beginners, and playing games, they will begin to understand the German patterns. Eventually those long sentences which seemed so complicated will become not only easy for them to read, but also to write and speak. Have fun.