Mary Allison

Mary Allison

Lecturer and Pedagogy Specialist, German
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
research interests:
  • Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Language Contact & Change
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Early Modern Urban Centers
  • Dutch Language & Culture
  • Ancient Gothic
  • Old High German
  • Early New High German
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    contact info:

    office hours:

    • All being held via Zoom
    • Monday, 1:30 to 3:30 pm
    • by appointment
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    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1104
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Mary Allison completed both her MA and PhD in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    She has served as a mentor to teaching assistants and as graduate supervisor of beginning-level German courses, and she is passionate about strengthening pedagogical practice and curriculum development. Allison has focused on the representation of a multicultural Germany at all levels of German instruction, as well as the thoughtful incorporation of technology and social media. 

    Additionally, she publishes on topics in Germanic linguistics, and her main interests lie in the growing subfield of historical sociolinguistics. Her doctoral thesis, Immigration and dialect formation in Nuremberg: The role of koineization in the development of the diminutive suffix system, investigates the intersection of historical events and language change. She connects issues of historical migration and language change with modern contexts, for example in discussions of migration in modern Germany.

    Spring 2021 Courses

    Basic German: Core Course I (German 101D)

    Introductory program; no previous German required. Students will develop their competence in listening, speaking, reading, and writing German by means of interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communicative practice. This first course serves as an introduction to German grammar and culture; goals range from developing the communicative skills necessary to find an apartment to being able to read modern German poetry. Students will learn how to apply their knowledge of basic cases and tenses in order to hold a conversation or write a letter describing their interests, family, goals, routines, etc. and to discover personal information about others. Students who complete this course successfully should enter German 102D.

      Intermediate German: Core Course III (German 210D)

      Continuation of German 102D. Reading and discussion in German of short literary and non-literary texts combined with an intensive grammar review. Further development of writing skills. In addition to the regular class meetings, students must be signed up for a subsection. Prerequisite: German 102D, the equivalent, or placement by examination. Students who complete this course successfully should enter German 301D or 313.

        Theory and Practice of Foreign Language Pedagogy (German 5053)

        This third course in the pedagogical series takes a look back and forward to inform future language instruction. Instructors in their second semester of teaching German at Washington University will consider various theories that have been employed for the purpose of second/foreign language acquisition and how these have been incorporated into or overlooked in contemporary SLA methodology. Students will be introduced to important journals as well as professional organizations that assist language instructors at all levels and will present one journal article of their choice to the class. They will also have an opportunity to begin construction of the materials portfolio - gathering exemplary syllabi, lesson plans and evaluations, and creating their first drafts of a statement of teaching philosophy to start them on these aspects of job market preparation. The course will be comprised of active class discussion and group and individual document development.