Genus im DaF-Unterricht in Italien: Was machen die Lerner?

  • Marie Antoinette Rieger


Gender classification in German is considered a rather intricate complex field of German grammar; gender selection is only partially rule-based and the existing rules are not only com-plex but their validity is often restricted as well. Therefore it is a received opinion that the ac-quisition of gender assignment is one of the most difficult problems learners of German as a foreign language have to face. Contrary to this general view, throughout many years of teaching German as a foreign language in Italy me and my colleague Marion Weerning (in this volume) did not receive the impression that gender really presents a major problem. Therefore we decided to carry out an empirical study. The design and the results of this study will be illustrated in the present paper. It will be shown that gender assignment is in fact more of a problem than was initially assumed. A detailed analysis demonstrates, however, that good and bad scores in gender assignment are not due to chance but can be explained by a combination of factors. The results also seem to indicate that learners develop a range of gender as¬signment rules in spite of the fact that gender is neither a frequent nor a systematically analysed topic in textbooks or in grammars.
Rieger, M. A. (2011). Genus im DaF-Unterricht in Italien: Was machen die Lerner?. Linguistik Online, 49(5).