Georg Engel's Leistungskurs Englisch 2006/08 To learn or not to learn, that is the question...


The descriptive text type (also called description):

aims at giving the reader a vivid impression of a space, place, landscape, town, etc. and thus has a spatial dimension.


The narrative text type (also called narration):

aims at telling the reader about events he/she considers important, newsworthy,m worth telling, etc. and thus is a series of small events and has a temporal dimension, which may be chronological or a mixture of events from the past and present and hint at potential future developments. (Flashback; anticipation)


The expository text type (also called exposition):

  • The expository text type (also called exposition): aims at explaining a particular issue, matter, problem, procedure etc, to the reader without offering a personal opinion or taking sides. Thus it should not be influenced by personal opinions, feelings, interests.It is clear, non-partisan, unbiased, impersonal explanation. It has an instructive dimension.
  • 4.

    The argumentative text type (also called argumentation):

    The argumentative text type (also called argumentation): aims at convincing the reader of the writer's opinion. There is "sound argumentation", which is objective and attempts to convince with good arguments and logical reasoning. There is also persuasive argumentation (or "persuasion", by some theorists considered a text type of its own), which tries to persuade readers with stylistic means to get the reader's spontaneous consent.

    In this unit we will not deal with "the system" , i. e. facts about the institutions, but try to find out how the world of politics functions, how certain politicians present themselves, how they present themselves most effectively in public. That means, we will look at political speeches, and when I say "look" I mean we'll actually LOOK at them and not just read them. You have to SEE Arnold Schwarzengger and Georg W Bush actually perform at the Republican National Convention to understand their rhetorical skill and appeal to their supporters. Of course, there are two more goals connected with such an approach: on the one hand, you should learn to look at political performers critically (also those in your own country) and understand the persuasive means they use and become a bit immune to empty political rhetoric without convincing concepts and programs. On the other hand, you should learn how to present yourself convincingly and effectively to an audience.

    We will also deal with political "knowledge" such as the American constitution as a great document of mankind, but the starting point will be you and young Americans of your age. That is why we first look at the Bill of Rights written by the students of a high school in Mobile, Alabama, and see how high school kids have taken their complaints about school decisons right to the Supreme Court. That tells you more about how Americans feel about their Constitution and their rights than just learning facts about government.

    I hope, you will enjoy this section.