Learning To Speak German

Oct 27th, 2013, 03:47 AM
  #1  
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Learning To Speak German

I am going to Germany in May, 2014. I would like to learn to speak some German. I've been to Germany before, and know it's not necessary, but I would like to learn some of the language. I have looked at Rosetta Stone, Primseur, and Language101, as possible programs to teach me German. Does anyone on this forum have experience with any of these? Are there others I should look at?

Thanks for any help you can give me with this.
garyincary is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Deutsch ist so schwer zu lernen!

Look into the Michel Thomas German. It is 100% audio.

If you can swing it, look into taking a class. German ain't the easiest language to learn.
sparkchaser is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 05:24 AM
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If you're in Cary NC, do you know that the library has Pimsleur language courses on CD that you can borrow? I loaded the French ones onto my iPad and they seem pretty good to me.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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well, i don't agree with sparkchaser that German is difficult, certainly for an english speaker I think that the initial stages are reasonably easy, and that's all you need to worry about between now and May.

Where we do agree is in recommending Michel Thomas. I started learning Italian using his method and never looked back. But a class is also a good idea so that you have a chance to practice on real human beings before you go.
annhig is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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Good luck. For me the problem with languages has been not so much learning what to say and how to say it, but how to understand when people reply in that language.

If I were you, I would concentrate on learning polite phrases that don't require you to understand a reply. If you are able to take a beginning German class, that would be a plus.

I think most languages are hard to learn unless one is able to devote considerable periods of time to concentrated study. Mark Twain called German "the awful German language," and claimed that there are 16 ways to say "the" in German. He was exaggerating, but the articles, coupled with the gender problem still flummox me, despite the fact that I now speak German.

When I studied Spanish, it seemed much easier to speak right from the beginning, but once I had to learn verb tenses, I was pretty flummoxed once again.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Take a language class if you have the chance to in your surroundings, best one taught by a native speaker. Having a live teacher who corrects your pronunciation and mistakes and answers questions helps a lot.
Viel Erfolg!

The German language has clear rules about spelling and pronunciation - unlike English. The English orthography never fails to flummox me!
There are problems with any language. I have just started learning Polish. Phew!
quokka is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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I've found the Living Languages series to be helpful.
http://www.livinglanguage.com/products/german

Also, the BBC and Deutsche Welle have online courses.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/
http://www.dw.de/learn-german/s-2469

Another online site is Germanpod101.
http://www.germanpod101.com/?src=gc_...FdJj7AodcnAA5w
tom18 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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I agree that learning German is difficult, and I had a German grandmother. Perhaps had I studied the language in my youth I might have been able to handle memorizing articles with each noun, but not now!

On the other hand, in college I did Russian and found it relatively easy--while French became increasingly difficult.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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I studied German starting in middle school through college and found it middling difficult - more difficult than romance languages but far less daunting than Russian or Arabic. Kind of on a par with Scandinavian languages. I agree it really helps, at least for me, to take a class where you have interaction and feedback. I've spent a lifetime learning other languages fairly successfully and never once did so with purely audio or online resources. You barely have time to learn the basics, anyway. It takes years to become even semi-fluent, and that's speaking, hearing, and reading it every day.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 27th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Michael Thomas worked for me with the help of another book-
German in Ten Minutes a Day. I liked the flashcards and the little stickers.

I speak enough German to get by and be understood. As always, the only problem with learning a language is not speaking it but understanding when someone answers back.

German is a fun language to learn, Michael Thomas is a great way to learn while driving.
LSky is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Michael Thomas worked for me with the help of another book-
German in Ten Minutes a Day. I liked the flashcards and the little stickers.

I speak enough German to get by and be understood. As always, the only problem with learning a language is not speaking it but understanding when someone answers back.

German is a fun language to learn, Michael Thomas is a great way to learn while driving.
LSky is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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I also recommend the BBC online stuff for German. It is not hard to learn the basics in German (grammar notwithstanding) and once there you will find that younger people all speak English. It can be a pain if you are trying to practice but at least you will not run into difficulties. Also when you get there, you will find that once you have a little under your belt you will also learn a lot just from observing and listening to what is around you. Also it can be very motivating to join an evening class - nice having others to interact with and practice on.

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 07:57 PM
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For your purposes, I'd be looking for a course or a class that teaches "tourist" German. It's not necessary for you to know when to use the dative and when to use the accusative; rather, you need to learn some phrases that a tourist might need and be able to read a bit to help you with transportation or shopping.

When I lived in Germany, my "go-to" phrase was always, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?"
longhorn55 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 11:07 PM
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I seemed to get along better when I added bitte to "Sprechen Sie Englisch?"

Travelforbeer is offline  
Oct 27th, 2013, 11:20 PM
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You can't go far wrong with

Bitte sehr

Vielen Dank

Entschuldigung
PatrickLondon is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 03:50 AM
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This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. It's a very long story, but let's just say I have been learning and un-learning German since the age of 4.

My recent ventures include a community college tourist German course, a standard university German course (most helpful), as well as countless audio programs including the Deutsche Welle free online courses. I also did a stint with an outfit that would Skype with you for a set appointment once or twice a week and give you homework, etc. Can't remember what that was called, but it too was helpful.

I have an Aunt and Cousins in Germany that speak not one word of English, so when we visit, it's a lot of sign language and whatever German I can muster. My biggest problem, as has been mentioned by others, is not speaking, but understanding the rapid responses. There also seem to be regional differences. I can understand most city speakers better than my Family who lives in small town northern Bavaria.

Good luck in your learning!
phieaglefan is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 04:30 AM
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You might want to try duolingo.com. It's a good program and it is free.
skz5 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 05:51 AM
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I tried Rosetta Stone a couple of years ago and was very disappointed.

When we got back from Germany, my son who had taken German in high school for 2 years, said "Why didn't we learn something that I could have used?" What he meant was learning tourist talk rather than general language.

I think looking for a tourist oriented program/tape/dvd etc would be best.
bigtyke is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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What he meant was learning tourist talk rather than general language.>>

That doesn't make any sense to me, not for someone who has studied a language for several years. YOu have to be learning things that would be anything a tourist might use. Such as where something is located, simple nouns for objects, including rooms and food, where is something, how much does something cost, etc. I have never taken a "tourist" course in any language, and you can learn tons of useful stuff in a couple years. I don't really know what "tourist talk" is, actually, except maybe for things about buying airline tickets or hotel rooms, but everything else is part of the basic language, and learning how to form questions, etc. is basic.

I think Pimsleur is limited, but better than nothing. I don't really like the way it works, by just making you repeat stuff and you have no knowledge of verbs, what parts of sentences are, or what something looks like in writing. I haven't used Rosetta Stone or others, but I think anything that teaches you to read some words and understand parts of speech, etc., has to be infinitely better.
Christina is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 11:48 AM
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Regarding the "tourist"/"survival" German versus Deutsch als Fremdsprache, OP is probably wanting the former.

I found this little book in a German bookstore and it proved to be INVALUABLE my first few weeks in Germany. Sadly I cannot remember the name of it, nor can I locate it, but it was similar to Wicked German, was published in the UK, and the page numbers were in German.
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