The theme of this year’s Olympiad is Kafkaesque Kreatures, taking inspiration from the animal stories by Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who gave the German and English languages the word kafkaesk / Kafkaesque to describe a weird, disturbing experience.
There are three Round 2 tasks to choose from this year, with exciting cash prizes for the winners of each task:
Oxford German Network Task
The White Rose Prize: Einen Brief schreiben
Camden House Book Proposal
Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, in June 2024.
Further details about the tasks and the competition in general can be found here. The deadline for all entries is 7 March 2024at 12 noon.
students may enter only one of the three Round 2 tasks
there are age restrictions for each task
Round 1 and Round 2 of the Olympiad are separate competitions. Students may enter both, but do not need to have entered Round 1 in order to enter Round 2.
There’s also still time to enter Round 1! Find details here.
Here at Oxford, the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages welcomes applications for German at all levels. This means that if you haven’t studied the language at A-level, you can still apply to study Beginners’ German as part of your degree.
Excitingly, 2023 marks the first year that prospective students can apply to study Beginners’ German as part of our Joint Schools degrees. This means that you can combine learning German from scratch with another of the following Humanities subjects:
So, if you’re hoping to study one of these subjects, but are interested in learning a new language, why not choose Beginners’ German?!
Take a look at our brand new video below to learn more about studying German for Beginners at Oxford, and to hear about the experiences of our current students who have chosen this excellent option!
Students taking Beginners’ German will receive intensive language tuition during their first year and further targeted language support specific to their needs during their second year. From the start of their course they will have some teaching on narrative works together with the post A-level group, and they will be fully integrated from the start of the second year, with access to all the course options in linguistics, literature, film and culture.
During the course, Oxford’s tutorial system and small-group language teaching will enable students at all levels to receive the appropriate tuition for their needs, which will build on the knowledge they have already acquired.
Choose one of the tasks appropriate for your age group. All tasks to be completed in German, unless indicated otherwise.
Years 5 and 6 (age 9-11):
Draw a picture of a barge on the Rhine. Label the 12 most important items.
You are attending the “Basler Fasnacht” (carnival of Basel) or “Kölner Karneval” (carnival of Cologne). Design your costume and give your drawing or painting 10 labels.
Draw a comic strip of the Rhine and the places it flows through.
Years 7 to 9 (age 11-14):
Draw or paint a picture of creatures that live in and by the Rhine, and write a short text describing them.
Write about a day in your life on Lake Constance (der Bodensee) in a prehistoric stilt house (Pfahlbau) – “Ein Tag am Bodensee in der Bronzezeit”.
Draw a scene from Heinrich Heine’s poem „Die Loreley“ and describe what is happening.
Years 10 and 11 (age 14-16):
“Rheingold”. Write a story or create a video inspired by the Nibelung treasure.
Create an online exhibition about the famous castles along the Rhine.
Give a video presentation about the historical importance of the Rhine.
Years 12 and 13 (age 16-18):
“Wie sichern wir die nachhaltige Zukunft des Rheins?”. Plan a conference for 16-18 year olds including the advertisement and programme with keynote lectures and topics for roundtable discussion.
Write an essay, give a video presentation OR create a website on one of the following topics associated with places on the Rhine: “Hildegard von Bingen”, “Die Geschichte des Zeppelins” OR “Der Kölner Dom”.
Write an essay or video yourself giving a lecture on the following topic: „Schlagader Europas: Die Geschichte des Rheins”.
Open Competition for Groups or Classes (4+ participants):
Create a website for a Rhine river cruise.
Write and illustrate a children’s book about acat living on a Rheinschiff (Rhine barge).
Create a graphic novel or a video featuring characters or storylines from the “Nibelungenlied”.
Discover German – Taster Competition (1-3 participants with no prior experience of studying German):
Years 5 and 6: Find out what the following German words mean and draw a picture including all these items, each with a label: der Fluss, das Ufer, die Brücke, das Haus, das Schiff, der Hügel, die Burg, die Fahne, der Fisch, die Nixe.
Years 7 to 9: Draw or paint a picture of the whole Rhine and label the countries (in German), 10 cities and 10 things you would be likely to find in or along the river.
Years 10 and 11:Create a crossword puzzle or game that includes the names of 15 places on the Rhine or words associated with the Rhine.
Years 12 and 13: Research words formed with (a) Fluss, (b) fließen and (c) flüssig. Give one or more translations for each word (the translation may consist of more than one word).
We’re delighted to announce that our Oxford University Modern Languages Teachers’ Network, the Sir Robert Taylor Society, is holding its annual conference this year on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 September. If you’re UK modern languages teacher, or have an interest in modern languages teaching at school and university in the UK, you’re warmly invited to attend. Due to Covid, the conference will once again be online this year, with two evenings of roundtable talks and guest speakers.
On Thursday 23 September, from 19:30-21:00 on Microsoft Teams, the theme will be Modern Languages and Careers.
We’ll be talking about, among other things:
Career paths of modern languages graduates
Employability and demand for modern language skills in the workplace
Transferable skills from modern language study
STEM pressure and the value of humanities subjects
On Friday 24 September, again from 19:30-21:00, the theme will be Modern Languages and Diversity.
We’ll be talking about, among other things:
Revisiting the canon: diversifying and decolonizing the curriculum in language, literature and film
Race, gender and sexuality as topics of study in language, literature and film courses
Racism, homophobia and other prejudice in literary texts and film
Diversity in the student body: widening participation in modern language courses
During the events, participation from delegates through the chat and live discussion will be warmly welcome. If you’d like a seat at the Round Table to talk more substantially about either of these topics in secondary or higher education, please let us know, and we’ll be very pleased to accommodate you.
Colleagues at the Oxford German Network have just launched Round 2 of this year’s Oxford German Olympiad; the competition features a choice of creative tasks aimed at school pupils in age groups ranging from Year 10 to Year 13.
Two of the new tasks are sponsored by the White Rose Project, which is investigating the story of the White Rose resistance group. The competition tasks focus on resistance member Sophie Scholl, who would have had her one hundredth birthday in 2021. The third task asks entrants to consider the parallels between the 1920s and 2020s.
There are cash prizes available for the winning entries. Full details of all Oxford German Olympiad competitions are available on the OGN’s website here.
Colleagues across the university are currently hosting several exciting competitions designed to engage school pupils with language learning. First up is a topical competition from the team at the Modern Languages Outreach and Engagement (MLOE) project. Open to Year 9 students (Year 10 in Northern Ireland), ‘Rethinking Languages through COVID-19’ asks entrants to produce a poster reflecting on some of the ways in which COVID-19 has changed language use, or impacted on life, in another country. The closing date for this competition is Friday 18 December 2020: full details for teachers and their pupils are available here.
Elsewhere the Oxford German Olympiad (OGN) is now open for entries. This year’s theme is ‘Die Alpen’ (The Alps) and there is a whole range of opportunities for age groups ranging right through from Years 5 and 6 in primary school to Years 12 and 13 to win prizes. The tasks to choose from include opportunities for creative writing and making art, and they don’t all require a prior knowledge of the German language – just an enthusiasm for engaging with the culture, language, and nature of German-speaking countries. Entrants have until Thursday 11 March 2021 to take part, and all of the relevant information can be found on the competition website.
Later this year we’ll also be launching our ever-popular French and Spanish flash fiction competitions. Watch this space for updates: in the meantime you can read the winning entries from 2020 for French here, and for Spanish here.
A blog for students and teachers of Years 11 to 13, and anyone else with an interest in Modern Foreign Languages and Cultures, written by the staff and students of Oxford University. Updated every Wednesday!
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