The aim of the paper is to investigate to what degree the linguistic means used to emphasize a certain element in the text are received by German native speakers. The research is based on a purpose designed questionnaire consisting of two excerpts taken from parliamentary speeches in Bundestag. The questionnaire was administered to 55 German philology students at the University of Leipzig. The students’ task was to read the excerpts carefully and then to decide which elements in the text were emphasized by its author. The fi ndings of the study indicate how different means of textual emphasis (syntactic, lexical and rhetorical ones) are recognized by the students.