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Are there any sites where one can read German essays? I'm learning to write essays and with my learning style I think I will learn a lot by reading authentic German written school essays and journal articles, generally writings in which ideas are discussed and shared. I'm tired of reading news websites where I find loads of information but no thought-provoking ideas.

I'm quite curious as I can't seem to find any sites where one can read such essays, neither in English nor in German. Maybe this is common practice to prevent plagiarism in the west?

Other interesting reading source; Non German written German compositions

I once asked my German writing class teacher if it's possible for me to get access to her former students' compositions since I imagined it'll be helpful to learn from their mistakes and maybe find cool phrases to use in my writing. Her reply was that she believed it won't help much because students in her class are urged to use only basic and simple sentences, thus the errors and phrases there might not meet my expectation. Now I would like to trouble you guys again as I want to know ,apart from the German written ones,if there's any source where I can find intermediate to advance compositions of German language learners. I thought of lang-8.com but is there any other place? For example this study http://journals.sfu.ca/CALICO/index.php/calico/article/view/479/356, it's mentioned that 349 of 2nd year students' essays were successfully scanned. Is there any way I can get my hand on those? Is it appropriate to e-mail the author and ask for it? Danke im Voraus

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You could read a specialist journal, those should have essays. Maybe some have a webpage for readers, too. –  Pasoe Jul 11 at 9:03
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hausarbeiten.de ? –  elena Jul 11 at 11:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Just as in English, German essays (as school assignments or journal publications - I assume this is the type of essay you refer to) are only loosely defined by their structure and some basic characteristics.

For example, school essays typically follow the structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography/Works Cited

Of course, academic language is expected. For more information about the mechanics of essay writing consult: OWL Purdue (English), The Art of Being Remembered: Wie schreibt man einen wissenschaftlichen Aufsatz by Robert Bronsart.

As for the asker's question: journal articles are probably your best bet in terms of finding an adequate number of essays to read. I would agree that the best way to get a feel for what constitutes academic language in a given language is to read source material. If you are a university student, you should be able to find an ample number of German-language academic essays in the form of journal articles. Major resources (at least, in the US) include JSTOR, Academic Search Complete, and of course Google Scholar. There should be search options (often under Advanced Search) that will allow you to specify German as the language. Just select a topic of interest or that corresponds to your field.

(Note: Whereas in the US students are repeatedly reprimanded for utilizing the Personal "I", this does not seem to be as strictly followed in languages other than English. Not sure that I could provide a reference for this contention, other than personal experience though.)

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The iBooks store of Apple has free books, if books is what you consider essays.

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