This aim implies that it should cover the whole gamut of variation in usage within modern German, not simply the most prestigious written form which is still, unfortunately, used too exclusively in many teaching manuals, even when they purport to present examples of spoken language. Thus, considerable attention has been paid to giving information on usage in registers other than formal writing or literature, and details given on everyday speech. This also reflects the greater emphasis paid to oral skills, both active and passive, in modern language teaching.
The distinction between common spoken usage and the norms of formal writing norms is particularly marked in German, and clear indications are given in this work as to where spoken and written usage diverge, as also in respect of forms which, although they are considered to be grammatically ‘correct’, are felt to be stilted outside formal writing (and sometimes even there). Similarly, forms which are frequently heard in everyday speech but widely thought of as non-standard or incorrect are included here, as the foreign learner will encounter them every day, but with a clear indication of their status. Important regional variants within standard German are also included and marked accordingly, especially those commonly found in Swiss or Austrian usage, but purely dialectal forms have been ignored.