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

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

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.

Fall 2021 Courses

Basic German: Core Course II (German 102D)

Continuation of German 100D or 101D. In preparation for more advanced academic study in German, this second course will further introduce students to fundamental German grammar, culture and history. It is comprised of a combination of situational lessons and tasks which will challenge their critical thinking abilities. Students in 102 will familiarize themselves with the language necessary to understand and give directions, apply for a job and speak with a doctor; students will also read more advanced content such as Grimm's fairy tales and a text by Franz Kafka. Prerequisite: German 100D, 101D, the equivalent, or placement by examination. Students who complete this course successfully should enter German 201D.

    Teaching Practicum (German 5052)

    This course supports beginning university instructors during their first German course at Washington University. It will be comprised of activity composition, discussion and microteaching with a focus on the following topics: a review of processing instruction, an introduction to the three modes of communication, American and European national standards, technology in the foreign language classroom, and appropriate strategies for feedback, assessment and motivation.

      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.