VARIOUS TEXTS: Example of an Oral Exam (Abitur)

Vorlagen: 3 Texte (insgesamt ca. 300 Wörter)

Text 1: Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur: Letters from an American Farmer, 1782

What, then, is the American, this new man? He is either a European or the descendent of a European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. [...]
He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. [...] The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions. From involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury, and useless labor, he has passed to toils of a very different nature, rewarded by ample subsistence. This is an American.

Text 2: Quotation from Cruz Reynoso, first Mexican-American appointee to the California Supreme Court, 1980s

America is a political union – not a cultural, linguistic, religious or racial union ... Of course, we as individuals would urge all to learn English, for that is the language used by most Americans, as well as the language of the marketplace. But we should no more demand English language skills for citizenship than we should demand uniformity of religion.
That a person wants to become a citizen and will make a good citizen is more than enough.

Text 3: Richard D. Lamm: “The US at a Crossroads”, in: The New York Times, 1986
Note: Lamm was Democratic governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1987

We can be a Joseph’s coat of many nations, but we must be unified. One of the common glues that hold us together is language – the English language.
We should be color-blind but linguistically cohesive; a rainbow but not a cacophony. We should welcome different peoples but not adopt different languages. We can teach English through bilingual education, but we should take great care not to become a bilingual society.

1. Analyse the different concepts of Americanization as expressed in the texts. Consider the author’s position, the historical context, and the language, tone and style in which the ideas are presented.
2. Put these concepts into an overall perspective, taking into account the historical patterns of immigration in the USA, the changing ethnic composition of American society and the changing attitude towards immigrants as well as their self-concept.

Einheitliche Prüfungsanforderungen in der Abiturprüfung Englisch
(Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 01.12.1989 i.d.F. vom 24.05.2002)

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