Schreibprojekt Nr. 4: In-Class Writing Project
Take-Home Portion

On Friday in class, you will be writing a short essay. Your assignment will be to take a stance (either for or against, or explaining your opinion on) a controversial topic revolving around one of the topics below. The questions you can choose from are the following:
1. die Abtreibung (abortion)
Soll die Abtreibung illegal oder legal sein -- oder wann soll sie legal sein, und wann nicht?

2. die gleichgeschlechtliche Ehe (same-sex marriage)
Soll die gleichgeschlechtliche Ehe legal sein? Warum oder warum nicht?

3. der Krieg in Afghanistan
Was sollen wir jetzt tun? Wenn Osama Bin Laden gefunden wird, was soll mit ihm geschehen? War es richtig, daß wir den Krieg führten?
The following worksheet is designed to guide you in preparing vocabulary (to conserve in-class writing time) and in beginning to think about the topic you’re interested in. Hopefully you have a strong opinion about (at least) one of the topics listed above; as you read through this worksheet, you should make a decision as to which one you would like to write about. Friday in class, you may use this worksheet, your dictionary, and your textbook (if needed, generally most students don’t). Please do fill out this worksheet, at least partially: I’d like to look at it as I grade your essays (although it’s not officially a part of your grade).

I. Structure and Organization of the Essay

I assume that you all know how to write a well-structured expository essay, but I’d like to clarify what I’ll be looking for in your writing tomorrow. Apart from the purely German elements -- yes, grammar and style will be graded, though I’ll be fairly lenient on “nitpicky” grammar -- there are certain elements that your essay should contain. Please read over the following and be aware of these points when you begin to write.

First and foremost, you must state your position and opinion on the issue at hand, and give reasons for your opinion. Generally speaking, you should state your opinion (your thesis statement) early on in the essay, usually in the first few sentences (unless you have a very long introduction!). If possible, a “hook” or other good introductory comment is a nice addition; you could, for example, make a humorous, controversial, or attention-grabbing statement to introduce your opinion. The first paragraph should also provide a context for your discussion by introducing the topic, giving general background information as needed, and/or explaining your terminology and the situation you’re discussing.

The successive paragraphs (probably only 1-2 of them, considering the 50-minute class period) should explain the reasons for your opinion and present supporting arguments that justify your beliefs. Occasionally you may choose to cite counterarguments, i.e. positions opposed to your own, so that you may then dismantle or disprove them. Ideally, your arguments should progress logically from one to the next, so take some time to consider and plan your ideas before you begin writing. Of course this logical progression is harder to plan for when writing under a time deadline, but it’s good practice to see what you can accomplish. The most important thing in these paragraphs is clarity, logic, and reasoning: state your views clearly, define your terms, and beware of getting side-tracked onto tangents.

You should try to leave some time to write a short concluding paragraph (or at least a sentence or two). This conclusion should return you to your thesis (e.g. for or against the topic), but NOT simply leave it there. You can restate your opinion at this point if necessary, but you should also take a sentence or two to explain “who cares?” -- for example, why is this issue important, what impact does it have on the world, and what other issues are related to it.

Thus, the overall structure of your essay will probably look something like this:
(I). Introduction (thesis and context/background)
II. Supporting point / argument
III. Supporting point / argument
(IV). Conclusion (thesis, relevance and importance)
(I realize that essay-writing is a skill that develops over time and with practice, and that individual style is very important. If you consider yourself to be a talented writer and prefer not to follow the structure as outlined here, that’s fine, but please make sure that your essay is effective, convincing, and solid in both content and form.)

II. Vocabulary and Content

You should now consider the type of vocabulary you will need to discuss your topic. There are certain standard words and phrases that are common in writing position statements; for your convenience, I’ve listed a few of them here. If others occur to you (think, perhaps of English essays you’ve written and what common phrases you’ve used), look them up now and add them here. Thus, for the introductory paragraph:

meiner Meinung nachin my opinion
ich bin der Meinung, daß ...I am of the opinion that ...
glaubento believe or think
halten (für)to consider, hold (an opinion about)
    -- ich halte die Familie für wichtig-- I consider the family to be important
ich stimme damit (nicht) übereinI (don’t) agree
ich nehme an, daß ...I assume that ...
der Einwand, -¨eobjection
    -- mein Einwand dagegen ist, daß ...-- my objection to that is that ...
das Thema, die Thementopic
die Frage, -nquestion, issue

There are also specific words and phrases that deal with each of the three topics listed above. Please choose one topic now that you would like to write about, and make a list of words that you consider to be relevant. I’ve included a list here: of course you won’t need to use all of these words. Read through the list, highlighting those you think may be useful, and adding any of your own thoughts where needed.

For all three topics: 
   die Gesellschaftsociety
   gesellschaftlichsocietal, cultural
   die Werte (pl.)values
   heutzutagetoday, these days
   aktuellcurrent, ‘hot’
   die Religionreligion
   die BibelBible
   die ChristenheitChristianity
   das JudentumJudaism
   der IslamIslam
   die Meinungsfreiheitfreedom of thought/belief
   der Grund, -¨ereason
   aus politischen/medizinischen Gründenfor political/medical reasons
   legal / gesetzlichlegal, lawful
   illegal / ungesetzlichillegal, against the law
   das Lebenlife
   die Freiheitliberty, freedom
   das Streben nach Glückthe pursuit of happiness
   die Folge, -nconsequence, result
   unschuldig / schuldlosinnocent
   er hat die Schuld daran, daß’s his fault that ...
   der Mißbrauch (von Kindern )(child) abuse

   die Abtreibung, enabortion
   die Teilgeburtsabtreibungpartial-birth abortion
   das Trimestertrimester
   die Schwangerschaftpregnancy
   beenden / abbrechenterminate, end
   ehelichmarital, in marriage
   die Vergewaltigungrape
   vergewaltigt werdento be raped
   sorgen fürto care for, take care of
   das Sorgerechtcustody (of child)
   für Adoption abgebento give up for adoption
   der Kondom, -econdom
   die Geburtenkontrollebirth control
   die Pille, -nthe pill
   ein Kind haben / gebärento have / to bear a child
   fähig / unfähigable / unable
   unterstützento support
   die Gefahr / gefährlichdanger / dangerous
   der Fötus / der Embryofetus / embryo
   die Entwicklung, -endevelopment
   entwickeln (hat / ist entwickelt)to develop
   die Gebärmutterwomb, uterus
   überlebento survive
   der Mensch, -enperson, human being
   die Geburt, -enbirth
   lebendig / am Lebenalive, living
   tot / gestorbendead, deceased
   Sex habento have sex
   Geschlechtsverkehr habento have intercourse
   der Mordmurder
   erlauben (erlaubt)to allow
   verbieten (verboten)to ban, forbid
   pro-life (gegen das Abtreibungsrecht)pro-life
   pro-choice (für das Abtreibungsrecht)pro-choice

Same-Sex Marriage: 
   die Ehe, -nmarriage
   heiratento marry
   das Paar, -ecouple, pair
   der Schwule, -n / der Homosexuelle, -na gay man
   die Lesbe, -na lesbian
   erziehento bring up, raise (kids)
   die Erziehung, -enupbringing
   das Vorbildrole model
   ledig / unverheiratetsingle, unmarried
   männlichmale, masculine
   weiblichfemale, feminine
   der Einflußinfluence
   das Recht, -e (etwas zu tun)the right (to do sth)
   gleichequal, the same
   die Gleichberechtigung (sing.)equal rights
   gleichstellen (gleichgestellt)to equate, make equal
   anerkennen (hat anerkannt)to recognize
   das Gesetz, -ethe law
   ein Gesetz verabschiedento pass a law
   die Beziehung, -enrelationship
   die Partnerschaft, -enpartnership
   auf Lebenszeit / lebenslanglifelong
   der Partner, -partner, spouse
   beständigcommitted, long-term
   wählento choose
   die Wahlchoice
   attraktiv / reizendattractive
   die Fortpflanzungreproduction, procreation
   sich fortpflanzento reproduce, procreate
   das Geschlecht, -ersex, gender
   sich scheidento divorce
   die Scheidungsratedivorce rate
   die Institutioninstitution
   freiwilligconsensual, voluntary

   der Terrorismusterrorism
   der Terrorist, -enterrorist
   der Moslem, -eMuslim
   der Krieg, -ewar
   einen Krieg führento wage a war
   der Friedenpeace
   angreifen (griff an, hat angegriffen)to attack
   der Angriffan attack
   entführento hijack
   die Sicherheitsecurity
   bombadierento bomb
   der Führer, -leader, head
   die Taliban (pl.)the Taliban
   die Racherevenge
   die Justizjustice
   der Haßhatred
   die Gehirnwäschebrainwashing
   ihm / ihnen wurde Gehirnwäsche vorgenommenhe has / they have been brainwashed
   das Regimeregime
   die Regierunggovernment
   die Übergangsregierungtransitional government
   oppressiv / unterdruckendrepressive
   unterdrückt werdento be oppressed / repressed
   das (Militär-)Tribunala (military) tribunal
   das Gerichta court (of law)
   vor Gericht bringento take to court
   die Höhle, -ncave
   die Geheimdienste (pl.)secret service
   die Atomwaffe, -nnuclear weapon
   die Lebensweiseway of life
   die Truppen (pl.)troops
   die Armee / das Militärarmy / military
   die Spezialeinheiten (pl.)special forces
   kämpfen (gegen)to fight (against)
   die Spurtrace, track
   fangen (gefangen)to catch, capture
   der Gefangene, -nprisoner
   sich versteckento hide
   der Verstecka hideout
   finanzierento fund, finance
   der Widerstandresistance

Your additional vocabulary:

When considering the type of arguments you could use in your essay, you can prepare by thinking about the following questions. The following sections may help you come up with arguments and supporting statements for your stance, but be aware that you certainly don’t need to have ALL of these categories: two or three is plenty. I would like to see at least two separate “reasons” or “arguments” discussed in your essay -- one is not really enough to prove your point. More than two is great, but make sure that you devote enough time to at least two main points. Read through the sections below, and take some notes (in English or German) if any important thoughts occur to you.

Some arguments and reasons stem from personal experience. For example, in regard to the topics above: do you have gay or lesbian friends or relatives? Have you or your friends/relatives dealt with unwanted pregnancies or similar situations? Were you personally affected by the World Trade Center tragedy, or do you have friends/family in the Armed Forces? Think about the topic you’ve chosen, and write down any major personal experiences and/or vocabulary that you think may be useful.

Another important supporting point is factual information, such as current reports, statistics, laws, or evidence. Although you don’t need to research the current abortion rate in the U.S. or anything so detailed, do take a moment to write down some obvious factual information about your topic, such as common knowledge about the current situation, laws, or basic scientific research. For instance, is abortion legal in Wisconsin, or in your home state? Or: what is the current situation in Afghanistan? (On that note, I should mention that if there’s any late-breaking developments Friday morning, I certainly don’t expect you to try to incorporate them into your essay, although you can of course do so if you choose.)

Obviously, some of the reasons for your opinion may be based on philosophical or ideological beliefs. Consider questions like the following: are you religious? if so, what does your religion have to say about your topic? Are there political factors motivating your decision -- do you think of yourself as liberal, conservative, moderate, or neutral? Write down anything here that you believe falls into this category and is relevant.

Finally, don’t forget the possibility of counterarguments -- positions opposing your own. If you’d like to draw these into your essay, then write some information and vocabulary here. For instance, why are some people opposed to abortion or gay marriage, or what reasons do others have for wanting it prohibited? What would you say to these people? Why don’t you agree with them?

If you are up to it after all of that, here is a further list of miscellaneous vocabulary that may be used throughout your essay to tie your arguments together and to present your conclusions. Using this type of vocabulary to make your transitions and reasoning easier to follow can add a very nice “feel” or style to your writing, but is not 100% necessary. I would love to see some of these transitions in your writing on Friday, but again, I do know what it’s like to write under time pressure and would never require that you incorporate these rather advanced stylistic elements. But try, if you can! :) Feel free to add your own words here as well.

   alsothus, so
   daherhence, therefore
   deshalbtherefore, for that reason
   zum Schlußin conclusion
   zuerst (or) zunächstfirst of all
   zweitens, drittenssecondly, thirdly
   auf der einen Seiteon the one hand
   auf der anderen Seiteon the other hand
   auf jeden Fallin any case
   selbstverständlichof course
   insofern, daßto the extent that
   in der Tatin fact, indeed
   überhauptat all

Congratulations! You should now be well-prepared for tomorrow’s essay. Don’t forget to bring this worksheet, your dictionary, and a clear head! (I’ll provide paper.) Viel Glück!