According to the "National Educational Standards for the First Foreign Language" enacted by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Federal States in Germany (KMK 2003; 2004) listening comprehension and audio-visual comprehension in the first foreign language (in Germany: English or French) are competencies that need to be acquired until the end of lower secondary education. However, the Standards and the Common European Framework of References (Council of Europe 2001) - on the Standards are based - have not provided two separate construct descriptions for developing tasks for teaching and testing the understanding of audio and audio-visual material. The experimental study to be presented aims at answering the question of whether one can differentiate empirically between these constructs by assessing German ninth-graders (N = 156) with either a listening or an audio-visual comprehension test in French as a foreign language using the same items. Results show that if the pictures of the authentic videos in French provide help, learners are significantly better in the audiovisual condition. In addition, the challenges posed by the different tasks as well as the test-taker strategies are explored, and a discussion about consequences for the construct definitions along with the recommendations for teacher training is provided.
This paper presents a pilot study designed to ascertain the real linguistic competence of German French teachers and of tenth grade learners of French. The study has initially been restricted to receptive lexical competence and listening comprehension competence, but the main study will also take account of productive lexical competence as well as writing and speaking skills. The results reveal a disturbing picture, with the majority of learners far from attaining competence level B1 at the end of year 10. Teachers' lexical competence and listening comprehension skills also turned out to be deficient.
The successful recognition of cognates is the most important precondition for intercomprehension. Our study examines on which basis speakers of German recognize Germanic cognates amd which factors other than similiarity play a role in this process. According to our data recognition of words depends primarily on a spontaneous sense of similarity, which is most cases is a good precondition for word recognition; however, it turned out that other types of associations are involved, too, which poses a challenge for didactic approaches to intercomprehension.