Summary, in English
This bachelor thesis studies the syntactic structures in four textbooks in German as a foreign language used in the Swedish upper secondary school (the gymnasium). The aim of the study is to test whether the German syntax is presented in such a way that it becomes optimally processable for learners. Research on grammatical developmental stages has shown that learners of a language acquire grammatical structures in a certain order, independent of their mother tongue, which resulted in the Processability Theory, or PT (Pienemann 1998). The question of whether language textbooks follow this “natural” order or not is relevant to teachers as well as textbook authors, as both groups presumably wish to accomplish an efficient and evidence-based language education. Similar studies have been conducted, but thus far not on German as a foreign language to native Swedish speakers. The method used in this study includes one emergence analysis (noting the point at which the learners for the first time are expected to produce each structure) and one quantitative input analysis (measuring the frequency of each structure throughout the books). Both parts of the analysis show that although the textbooks follow the processing order of the PT to some extent, the overall presentation of the syntactic structures in question does not correspond with the order of acquisition predicted by PT. This is possibly explained by the concept of transfer, since the developmentally complex structure of Inversion (which the books never explicitly instruct) is the same in Swedish and in German. Research shows, however, that transfer does not override the order stated in PT. The progression observed is not steady and incremental – on the contrary, the frequency of the syntactic structures analyzed fluctuates extensively between single texts as well as between different chapters. The findings of the study are important: with transparency in this issue, Swedish teachers of German can make a more informed choice of, and approach to, textbooks. For this reason, future research on other textbooks as well as on more aspects of these particular ones is needed.