Arthur Mosher

Professor Emeritus
Emeritus
College of Arts and Sciences: Global Languages and Cultures

Profile

Dr. Mosher has taught German language and literature, as well as general and Germanic linguistics on the university level since 1979. He is the immediate past chair of the Department of Global Languages and Cultures (formerly the Department of Languages), a position he held for twelve years (1994-2006). Previously to that service, he directed the Linguistics Program and coordinated the first-year German program at the University of South Carolina (Columbia). He has published articles on the fourteenth century German mystic, Johannes Tauler; Germanic philology; and proficiency approaches to teaching German and other foreign languages.  He is a certified Oral Proficiency Tester in German and a recognized trainer in the Oral Proficiency testing procedure as administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. During 2000-2001, he served as president of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, a division of the Modern Language Association. Dr. Mosher regularly teaches German language and linguistics.

He is a graduate of Wheaton College (Il, 1971) with majors in philosophy and German; Syracuse University (MA, 1975) with a concentration in German literature and linguistics; and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Ph.D., 1979) with a concentration in Germanic philology. He initially learned German during his participation in a year-long American Field Service (AFS) study program in Switzerland (Zurich). He studied in Freiburg, Germany during his Junior Year of college (1969-70) and than also a second year when he gathered data for his dissertation (1977-78). He has lived for shorter periods and conducted research in Donaueschingen, Karlsruhe, Bamberg, and Leipzig, Germany. 

Faculty Perspective

I am continuing to work on a multifaceted project to compare the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Guidelines and to investigate empirically the equivalences in proficiency ratings under the two frameworks. During summer 2003, I spent three months at the University of Leipzig in Germany where I studied the speaking proficiency of 35 students of German as a foreign language from all over the world. This research was made possible through a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). I am also a member of a team of professors from different American universities, sponsored by the Goethe Institute in New York City,  that is examining the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and its application to American Universities.  

I seek to teach German with the goal of providing my students with the most opportunities possible to develop real-world proficiency in the language so that they can use it to accomplish communicative tasks in German-speaking countries. Since I am a non-native speaker of German, I understand what it is like to learn the language, but also know how enriching the experience of being able to communicate in another language is. I encourage my students to seek international experiences, to get to know individuals from other cultures, and to learn to view their own culture from other points of view.

Courses Taught

  • GER 101: Basic Proficiency in German I
  • GER 141: Basic Proficiency in German II
  • GER 201: Intermediate German I
  • GER 311: German Conversation I
  • GER 312: German Conversation II
  • GER 342: Germany and the New Europe
  • LNG 468: Introduction to Linguistics
  • GER 469: German Linguistics
  • LNG 495: The Language Major in Professional Careers

Degrees

  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Ph.D., 1979
  • Syracuse University, MA, 1975
  • Wheaton College, IL, 1971

Research Interests

  • Proficiency approaches to foreign language education
  • Fourteenth Century German mysticism
  • Germanic philology and dialects

Selected Publications

Books, Pamphlets & Monographs

The South Carolina Framework for Foreign Languages, Columbia, South Carolina: State Department of Education, 1990 (editor;  217 pages).

The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview in German:  A Video Introduction, created and produced by Arthur Mosher, Karl Otto, and Erwin Tschirner. Cherry Hill, New Jersey: American Association of Teachers of German, 1999. (project director, 47 minute video).

Articles

"The Role of Graphemics in the Study of Early New High German." Society for Germanic Philology: Yearbook 8 (1985-86), pp. 46-50.

"The South Carolina Plan for Improved Curriculum Articulation Between High Schools and Colleges." Foreign Language Annals  22 (1989), 157-62.

"The Articulation of Curriculum through a Standardized Proficiency based Diagnostic Placement Test: the USC Experience." Co-authored with David Hill. In Dimension: Language 88: Language in Action: Theory and Practice, ed. by T. Bruce Fryer and Frank Medley, Jr.  Columbia, SC:  Southern Conference on Language Teaching, 1989, pp. 101-11.

"Johann Jacob  Bodmer." German Writers from the Enlightenment to Sturm und Drang, volume 97 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. by James Hardin and Christoph Schweitzer (Detroit: Gale Research, 1990), pp. 3-18.

"Johann Jacob Breitinger." German Writers from the Enlightenment to Sturm und Drang, volume 97 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. by James Hardin and Christoph Schweitzer (Detroit: Gale Research, 1990), pp. 19-28.

"Baldr." Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia. Phillip Pulsiano, ed. New York and London: Garland, 1993, pp. 27-28.

“But What Ever Happened to the Golden 90s? Promises and Reality in Language Teaching at the End of the Twentieth Century.” The Crescent Newsletter (South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers’ Association) 25, no. 1 (Spring 1996), pp. 10-12.

“Ein Vertrag zwischen Else von Frauenberg, Witwe von Reinhard Enzberger, und Reinhard Nix, genannt Enzberger, aus dem Jahr 1425.“ Jahrbuch des Enzkreises, Pforzheim, Germany (Summer 2007).