Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lernforum Vorbereitungskurs III. Gymnasium, 1.HMS/FMS

Click here for the key to the last practice exam:
Aufnahmepruefungen 2010

I wish you the best of luck!
Please fill out the form once you have your results and send in to Lernforum.
All the best, Mrs. Gruber

Friday, February 18, 2011


Here is an example of a story
written in the passive voice.

A DRIVER has been sent to jail for 90 days for driving with excess alcohol.
Graham Smith, 29, of North Street, Barton, was stopped by police officers near his home last November and was found to have drunk almost twice the legal limit for drivers, Didcot magistrates heard on Thursday. Twelve months earlier Smith had been disqualified from driving for three years for drink-driving. He was disqualified for twelve months in 1986 for a similar offence. Mr Peter Jones, defending, said Smith had used the car to visit a sick friend. He said Smith was depressed after the visit, and went to a pub and drank five or six pints before driving home. He was caught by police during a routine speed check in Wantage Road, Barton.

Shall we practice a bit?
Choose the best way of continuing after each sentence.

1. He lives in a small house.
a. Somebody built it 40 years ago.
b. It was built 40 years ago.

2. English is worth learning.
a. People speak it in a lot of countries.
b. It is spoken in a lot of countries.

3. My nephew is an artist.
a. He has just painted another picture.
b. Another picture has just been painted by him.


Choose the best sentence from each pair
to build a continuous text.



a. First of all, printers print big sheets of paper.
b. First of all, big sheets of paper are printed.

a. Each sheet contains the text of a number of pages.
b. The text of a number of pages is contained in each sheet.

a. People fold and cut the sheets to produce sections of the book.
b. The sheets are folded and cut to produce sections of the book.

a. These sections are called signatures.
b. We call these sections signatures.

Think about this:What makes one sentence better than the other?

a.That she had not written to her parents for over two years surprised me.
I was surprised that she had not written to her parents …..

b.That Mary wanted to tell everybody what to do annoyed me.
I was annoyed that Mary wanted to tell….

c.The fact that he looked completely different from the last time we had met confused me. I was confused by the fact that he looked…


Complete the text with expressions:
had been given
had been told
had never been taught
was given (2x)
was offered
was promised
was sent
was shown
wasn’t being paid

I’ll never forget my first day at that office. I ___________ to arrive at 8:30, but when I got there the whole place seemed to be empty. I didn’t know what to do because I ______________no information about the building or where I was going to work, so I just waited around until some of the secretaries began to turn up. Finally I _______________ a dirty little office on the fifth floor, where I __________________a desk in a corner. Nothing happened for an hour, then I _________________ some letters to type on a computer by one of the senior secretaries. This wasn’t very successful because I had never been taught how to use a computer. (In the letter I _______________ when I _______________ the job, I _________________computer training, but they’d obviously forgotten about this.) By lunchtime things hadn’t got any better, and I decided that _________________to put up with this nonsense, so I walked out and didn’t go back.


A – Structure with introductory it:
It is thought/believed that.. ------- e.g. It is thought that he will resign.

B – Subject + passive verb + infinitive ------- e.g. He is believed to be in Wales.

C – Structure with there is: There is thought / said to be…
------- e.g. There were said to be ghosts in the house, But I never saw one!

Can you change these sentences to the passive? Good luck! and if you aren't sure, then feel free to print them out and bring them to me and we will work it out together!
a. People think the government will fall.
b. We appointed Mr Evans secretary.
c. The villagers called her a witch.
d. People believed that fresh air was bad for sick people.
e. Some people say that there are wolves in the mountains.
f. Police think the man holding the hostages is heavily armed.
g. They say he is in an agitated state.
h. Everybody considered her strange.
i. We expect the rate of inflation will rise.
j. They say that he is somewhere in Germany.
k. Somebody saw Harry leave the plane in New York.
l. People think that she died in a plane crash.
m. People believed that the earth was the centre of the universe.
n. They say that there is oil off the coast of Portugal.
o. They made me give them details of my bank accounts.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Which is the hardest language?

People often ask which is the most difficult language to learn, and it is not easy to answer because there are many factors to take into consideration. Firstly, in a first language the differences are unimportant as people learn their mother tongue naturally, so the question of how hard a language is to learn is only relevant when learning a second language.

A native speaker of Spanish, for example, will find Portuguese much easier to learn than a native speaker of Chinese, for example, because Portuguese is very similar to Spanish, while Chinese is very different, so first language can affect learning a second language. The greater the differences between the second language and our first, the harder it will be for most people to learn. Many people answer that Chinese is the hardest language to learn, possibly influenced by the thought of learning the Chinese writing system, and the pronunciation of Chinese does appear to be very difficult for many foreign learners. However, for Japanese speakers, who already use Chinese characters in their own language, learning writing will be less difficult than for speakers of languages using the Roman alphabet.

Some people seem to learn languages readily, while others find it very difficult. Teachers and the circumstances in which the language is learned also play an important role, as well as each learner's motivation for learning. If people learn a language because they need to use it professionally, they often learn it faster than people studying a language that has no direct use in their day to day life.

Apparently, British diplomats and other embassy staff have found that the second hardest language is Japanese, which will probably come as no surprise to many, but the language that they have found to be the most problematic is Hungarian, which has 35 cases (forms of a nouns according to whether it is subject, object, genitive, etc). This does not mean that Hungarian is the hardest language to learn for everyone, but it causes British diplomatic personnel, who are generally used to learning languages, the most difficulty. However, Tabassaran, a Caucasian language has 48 cases, so it might cause more difficulty if British diplomats had to learn it.

Different cultures and individuals from those cultures will find different languages more difficult. In the case of Hungarian for British learners, it is not a question of the writing system, which uses a similar alphabet, but the grammatical complexity, though native speakers of related languages may find it easier, while struggling with languages that the British find relatively easy.

No language is easy to learn well, though languages which are related to our first language are easier. Learning a completely different writing system is a huge challenge, but that does not necessarily make a language more difficult than another. In the end, it is impossible to say that there is one language that is the most difficult language in the world.

Q1 - The question of how hard a language is to learn is relevant to both first and second language acquisition.
True or False?

Q2 - Portuguese is definitely easier than Chinese.
True or False?

Q3 - A Japanese speaker may well find the Chinese writing system easier than a speaker of a European language.
True or False?

Q4 - The Hungarian alphabet causes problems for British speakers.
True or False?

Q5 - Hungarian is the hardest language in the world.
True or False?

Q6 - Hungarian has as many cases as Tabassaran.
True or False?

Q7 - Many British diplomats learn Tabassaran.
True or False?

Q8 - The writer thinks that learning new writing systems is easy.
True or False?

Answer Key

Q1 False
Q2 False
Q3 True
Q4 False
Q5 False
Q6 False
Q7 False
Q8 False

Thank you

Friday, February 4, 2011


What does it mean?
CIVIL is an adjective which also means polite.

In comparisons we use this structure:
civil | more civil | most civil

German translations:

But for today this is meant to make you smile!