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German Language Programs. Help!

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
30 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4866 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 25 of 30
05 March 2010 at 6:27pm | IP Logged 
As for vocabulary... I was surprised, but the first 30 lessons of Assimil Swahili
actually pack 453 new words, and in Swahili they can't depend on cognates. I'm counting
conservatively too, just new words, which are typically new roots, not expressions,
different forms of words, or words that mean different things in different contexts.
Since there are exactly 100 lessons in Assimil Swahili, I guess I will have a starting
vocabulary of 1500 words when I'm done, plus all the grammar including the subjunctive.

I noticed that Assimil Greek introduces a lot more words per lesson, drawing on
recognizable roots and building several words from the same root.

Note that Assimil routinely advocates spending 30 minutes a day, every day, on the
lessons, not more than that.

Edited by Sprachprofi on 05 March 2010 at 6:41pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4835 days ago

4474 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 26 of 30
05 March 2010 at 6:37pm | IP Logged 
Pyx wrote:

I'm not convinced that you don't need that many words, though. Of course you get quite a lot of freebies, especially once it gets scientific, or political, or anything like that, but it's still a terribly great number of words you have to get to know. I remember all to well my first book that I read in English (and my first emails, and my first times trying to understand the Simspons, and so on), and I'm pretty sure that you need more non-cognate words than that when trying to follow even the main plot of a typical movie (which would be B2 level). I'm not even sure, that you could make the logical connection from cognates such as bomb-Bome, or terrorism-Terrorismus in that situation, even though you most likely would, when leisurely reading a newspaper.


A lot of it gets easier as you learn more languages, as fanatic has. Getting to the point of understanding the main gist of movies in Italian was a long and painful process for me. Getting to the same point in German was much faster and easier. The ability to get the gist while missing a lot of vocabulary, to recognize sound-shifted cognates on the fly in speech, and so forth do generalize fairly well across languages. Some time ago, I aligned some Hungarian parallel texts; I had an idea of the sound shifts and was recognizing borrowings from several language families within a few hours, and after that within spoken Hungarian within minutes - on the other hand, I can't say 'hello' in Hungarian, and routinely forget the word for 'thank you' as well (I've never studied it, but did briefly visit Hungary).

I would be amazed if anyone replicated his results with a first foreign language. Even with a background in several, it would be difficult. Fanatic is also an expert in learning (I have a copy of his "Speed Mathematics" book which demonstrates his style of thought quite well), which gives him a serious leg up - he's highly honed some skills which lead to unusually good results.

Reading literature is always a bit painful at first; it uses more words than everyday speech. Exposure to a new register also takes time - comfort speaking and comfort reading newspaper articles have surprisingly little transfer, comedic shows have yet another chunk of learning to do before they become comfortable and familiar, and so forth.

Realistic expectations are important, and sometimes deeply counterintuitive.
3 persons have voted this message useful



timothyyoung.ty
Newbie
United States
Joined 3814 days ago

3 posts - 2 votes

 
 Message 27 of 30
06 March 2010 at 2:30am | IP Logged 
Does anybody have any experience with Complete German, Ultimate German, or FSI German? How do these compare with Assimil? These are going to be my main focus and I'm having some trouble choosing which one would be the best.
1 person has voted this message useful



kamal12341
Newbie
India
Joined 3773 days ago

6 posts - 7 votes

 
 Message 28 of 30
07 March 2010 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
I have just started with michel thomas German foundation course and believe me if you have the transcripts of the lessons to accompany audio files , its great.
1 person has voted this message useful



datsunking1
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3981 days ago

1014 posts - 1533 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: German, Russian, Dutch, French

 
 Message 29 of 30
08 March 2010 at 12:52am | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote:
Pimsleur won't take you to B2 level, they define "intermediate" differently. ;-) That's
why I like the CEFR.

It takes a lot more hours to reach a similar level in Chinese as in European languages.
The two Assimil Chinese books should not be enough to reach B2 there, but for German (or
also Greek, which I'm studying now) it's definitely good. Does the Assimil Chinese book
specifically state it will get you to B2 level? With the latest Assimil books, some books
state it, some books imply it, and some books don't state it as they know they won't.


I agree. The Assimil German programs are VERY thick in content. (I have to spend a ton of time to truely learn it!)

The Italian With Ease is also very thick, and a LOT of new words per lesson. I feel rushed :/
1 person has voted this message useful



datsunking1
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3981 days ago

1014 posts - 1533 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: German, Russian, Dutch, French

 
 Message 30 of 30
08 March 2010 at 12:56am | IP Logged 
timothyyoung.ty wrote:
Does anybody have any experience with Complete German, Ultimate German, or FSI German? How do these compare with Assimil? These are going to be my main focus and I'm having some trouble choosing which one would be the best.


Complete German - Too "tourist-like" for my liking. Bland, little grammar explanation, boring content.

Ultimate German - I like the layout. A little better than complete German, More content, and more explations. Seems more "usable" in comparison with Complete German.

FSI- Great program (content wise) but EXTREMELY BORING. If you can make it through FSI you will be well on your way to good German!! :D


1 person has voted this message useful



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