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MT German Case System

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Andy E
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 Message 25 of 60
25 November 2010 at 9:27am | IP Logged 
Quote:
German case endings made easy

That article was discussed further back in the thread. However as I posted previously:

Quote:
I like the progression from pronouns to articles to adjectives and it would be a shame to lose that because that ties it all together.



Quote:
but I had hoped for more people to give feedback

15 people voted it useful, so I'd count that as positive feedback :-)

Edited by Andy E on 25 November 2010 at 9:28am

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BartoG
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 Message 26 of 60
25 November 2010 at 10:54pm | IP Logged 
I did the 8 CD foundation course, but not the advanced course. And I have never been able to get the hang of the cases, not that I'd put a lot of energy into it. But that's precisely the point: Here you have given us something for getting a handle on the cases without putting a lot of energy into it, or rather, where the energy comes from the teacher making it understandable and not the student racking his brains.

Because I didn't do the advanced course, I can't comment on what it might be doing to fill gaps. And because I'm not a good speaker of German, I can't comment on accuracy. But for where I am, a mediocre speaker whose German is coming back as he studies Alsatian, I found this to be enormously useful. I printed out a copy, read it on the train and think I have a much better sense of what's going on with the cases, especially as regards the articles. I'd love to see this turned into a couple hours on CDs, because I'll be doing Le Nouvel allemand sans peine after I finish Alsatian, and I'm finding that the spot where L'Alsacien sans peine is weakest is in helping you nail down the case system with ease. Very nice work which is why I commented, early on, that you just needed a smart student and a dumb student and you'd be ready to go!
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Random review
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 Message 27 of 60
28 November 2010 at 4:01am | IP Logged 
I'm so sorry about the delay, but I have re-written the section on adjectives (Including Andy E's suggestion, thanks!), I think it is now much clearer. I have updated the OP to reflect this. I have kept a copy of the OP and will post it at the end when this thread finishes. Please find below the new Lesson 7 (on adjectives).

Lesson 7

We're now going to look at adjectives. Before we do, let's summarise what we know so far.

1)The German Noun System shows the pronoun that the noun replaces by adding an ending to the word for “the” “this” “a” “my” etc
2)The only exceptions are when a noun is BOTH preceded by ein (or kein or a possessive adjective, see above) AND replaces “er” or “es”. Here ein just stays the same...it doesn't add anything. This is the only thing in the entire German Case System that isn't logical, and that you just have to memorise

In Summary (* means “careful!”)

er = der = dieser = ein(careful!)         ;We're going to call this the ER SITUATION
es = das = dieses = ein (careful!)     We're going to call this the ES SITUATION
sie = die = diese = eine            The SIE SIUATION
ihn = den = diesen = einen            The IHN SITUATION
ihm = dem = diesem = einem     The IHM SITUATION
Ihr = der = dieser = einer            The IHR SITUATION
Ihnen = den(*) = diesen            The IHNEN SITUATION

Now, back to adjectives:

Adjectives in German follow 4 simple rules

1)You usually add “e” unless rules (2), (3) or (4) apply
2)After the verb to be you do NOTHING! Der Hund ist braun (The dog is brown)
3)If the noun replaces ANY pronoun except the original 3 (he/she/it) the adjective adds “en”
4)If the noun is not preceded by some word (such as “the” or “this” or “a”) that shows which pronoun it is replacing then the adjective has to do it

These are 4 very simple rules, but I just threw them at you all at once so it might seem more complicated than it is, so let's take them one at a time

The first rule states that the normal resting state for the German adjective is to add “e”
Think of adding that “e” as putting its clothes on. A German adjective would no more go out without its “e” than you would stark naked.

So how would you say: “the good man”

Der gute Mann

How about: “I love a bad cat”?

Ich liebe eine schlechte Katze

And finally: “I am drinking this German beer”?

Ich trinke dieses deutsche Bier



The second rule simply tells you that after the verb to be you do exactly what you do in English...nothing!

How do you say: “the dog is brown”, (try to guess brown)-

der Hund ist braun

What about, “the girl is beautiful”

Das Mädchen ist schön

OK, if you want you can imagine that adjectives are all married to the verb “to be” and so don't mind being naked around it, or that the verb “to be” is a nudist beach, whatever tickles your fancy, but actually you don't even need to, because this is REALLY easy, absolutely everyone picks it up naturally no matter HOW bad their German, and actually you have already been doing it without realising (see above!), so let's leave it there, and just forget about it.

Rule (3) is probably the hardest of the 4, but it's still not THAT difficult


to see what is happening here we have to go back to the pronouns.

Do you remember I told you that all German nouns are a “he” a “she” or an “it”?
If you look them up in a dictionary you will find them with der, die, or das. This is to show what “gender” the noun is, in other words, whether it is a “he” a “she” or an “it”.

We're going to call these 3 pronouns (he/she/it) are the ORIGINAL pronouns, they tell you what gender the noun is; and all the other pronouns (they/him/her/them etc) we are going to call the CHANGED pronouns, they tell you SOMETHING ELSE. What that something else actually IS is really quite difficult to describe, but we don't have to because the same thing happens in English, so you know this.
Whenever we have a noun that replaces one of the CHANGED pronouns the German adjective takes an “n” on top of the usual “e” to mark the occasion, think of it as wearing a little hat for dress occasions- WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS.
Let's look at some examples, to make this clear.

the brown dog sees me = der braune Hund sieht mich

Here “der Hund” is replacing “er”, which is one of the original pronouns- it tells you that dog is a “he” in German, so the adjective stays in its everyday normal form, with an “e” on the end.

but I see the brown dog = ich sehe den braunen Hund

braunen to mark the occasion of “er” changing to “ihn”

Ihn is a CHANGED pronoun, it doesn't just tell you that a dog is a “he” in German, it tells you more (roughly speaking it tells you that the dog is the one being seen, rather than the one doing the seeing, but you don't need to worry about that), so the adjective gets its little hat out to mark the occasion, and takes “en” on the end: den braunen Hund

Let's try a few more to really make it sink in

How would you say: “I see the brown House”

Ich sehe das braune Haus

(das Haus) is replacing “es” (“it”), which is an original pronoun. Nothng happens so “braune”


Here's one to think through carefully:

How would you say, “I see thebrown cat”?

Ich sehe die braune Katze

This was tricky, because “she” changes to “her” in English, but as we have seen above in German it stays “sie” (“she”), so we have an original pronoun, so braune

You should be getting the hang of it now, so the next few should be easy.

How would you say, “I am giving the dog to the small man”?

Ich gebe dem kleinen Mann den Hund

(dem Mann replaces “ihm” (to him), which is a changed prnoun, so kleinem)

and, “I am giving the dog to the beautiful Lady”?

Ich gebe der schönen Dame den Hund

(der Dame replaces “ihr” (to her), which is a changed pronoun, so schönen)

and finally (remembering that a girl is an “it” in German), “I am giving the dog to the beautiful girl” would be?

Ich gebe dem schönen Mädchen den Hund

(Dem Mädchen replaces “ihm” (to him), which is a changed pronoun, so schönen)

One last thing to be aware of, when Germas use “sie” to mean “her” it is the same pronoun, as we mentones above, so, “I love” the beautiful cat” would be?

Ich liebe die schöne Katze

Because Germans say (literally) “I see she”, so we have an original pronoun here

BUT ACHTUNG! When “sie” means “they”, or “them” it is NOT the same pronoun. It no longer means she, it means they! Another way to look at this is that it does NOT show you whether the noun is a he, a she, or an it, because ALL nouns are “sie” in the plural, we say die häuser (the houses) even though it is das Haus, and die Männer (the men) even though it is der Mann.

So how would you say, “the small men have just arrived”?

Die kleinen Männer sind gerade angekommen

here “die Männer” (the men) replace “sie” meaning THEY, and that means it is a changed pronoun, so kleinen

how about, “I love the beautiful girls”?

Ich liebe die schönen Mädchen

Here again, die Mädchen replaces “sie” meaning “they”, so we have a changed pronoun, and that means schönen

One last one, using “nett” for nice, try to say: “I have sold the cat to the nice Ladies”

Ich habe den netten Damen die Katze verkauft


Rule (4) is also really easy...it only says that we just have to carry on playing the same game we have been playing up until now, but if none of our other words are around to do it, then the adjective MUST pick up the slack, no matter what else it was doing, so this rule takes precedence over ALL the above.

The German word for beer is “Bier” and it is neuter, so we have an ES SITUATION, so now let's play our game with it: how would you say (about the beer) “it is good”

Es ist gut

So how about “the beer is good”?

Das Bier ist gut

because we have es = das = dieses etc

So how do you say, “this beer is good”?

Dieses Bier ist gut

OK and if German is “Deutsch” AND CARRYING ON PLAYING THE SAME GAME, can you figure out how to say: “German beer is good”

deutches Bier ist gut

Did you get it right. Even if you didn't, as long as you understand where the “es” came from you are doing fine- the es is there to show it's an ES SITUATION. We're just playing the same game as we have been playing with der and dieser etc

Let's try another, this time you should easily work it out (if not you need to go back to the start of the Lesson). Wine is “der Wein” so we have an ER SITUATION.
How do you say (about the wine): “it is very bad”?

Er ist sehr schlecht
And “THE wine is very bad”?

Der Wein ist sehr schlecht

And “THIS wine is very bad?”

dieser Wein ist sehr schlecht

So now: “German wine is very bad”

Deutscher Wein ist sehr schlecht


So you see we carry on playing the same game UNLESS there is already an ending on another word to show what situation we are in (what pronoun the noun is replacing), because then there would be no point in the adjective showing it too (German efficiency in action!).

An example should make this clear If I say, “dieser Wein ist gut” there is already “er” on the end of “dieser” to show it is an ER SITUATION, so if I wanted to say “this German wine is good” it would be a complete waste of effort to say dieser deutscher Wein, so the adjective just goes back to it's resting state, which is (as I hope you remember!) to add “e”.

dieser deutsche Wein ist gut.

Only one ting to watch out for. Do you remember what I asked you to memorise- the only two things you have to memorise in the entire German Case System?

When “ein” is used before a noun replacing “es” or “er” it doesn't play the game, it stays “ein”

Ich habe EIN Haus, EIN Mann hat angerufen etc

So here again there is nothing to show that we are in an ES SITUATION, or an ER SITUATION, so the adjective has to pick up the slack

So how would you say, “the good man”?

Der gute Mann

Here we have an “er”situation, but we already know that because of the “der”, so the adjective can relax

What about, “A good man”?

Ein guter Mann

here the “ein” does not show that we are in an ER SITUATION, so the adjective has to do it.
Did you get this right? Even if you didn't, as long as you got the “AHA” feeling, and understand WHY it was “guter” you are doing fine!

You should get this one quite easily (if not, you need to go through this section again).

How would you say, “I am drinking this German beer”?

Ich trinke dieses deutsche Bier

Das Bier, so we have an ES situation. Now try to say, “I am drinking A German beer”

Ich trinke ein deutsches Bier

Ein doesn't show that it is an ES situation, so the adjective (deutsch) has to- deutsches


And that's how adjectives work in German, or you can memorise 50+ endings and when to use them ha ha!

Edited by Random review on 28 November 2010 at 10:25pm

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Random review
Diglot
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 Message 28 of 60
28 November 2010 at 4:16am | IP Logged 
BartoG wrote:
I did the 8 CD foundation course, but not the advanced course. And I have never been able to get the hang of the cases, not that I'd put a lot of energy into it. But that's precisely the point: Here you have given us something for getting a handle on the cases without putting a lot of energy into it, or rather, where the energy comes from the teacher making it understandable and not the student racking his brains.

Because I didn't do the advanced course, I can't comment on what it might be doing to fill gaps. And because I'm not a good speaker of German, I can't comment on accuracy. But for where I am, a mediocre speaker whose German is coming back as he studies Alsatian, I found this to be enormously useful. I printed out a copy, read it on the train and think I have a much better sense of what's going on with the cases, especially as regards the articles. I'd love to see this turned into a couple hours on CDs, because I'll be doing Le Nouvel allemand sans peine after I finish Alsatian, and I'm finding that the spot where L'Alsacien sans peine is weakest is in helping you nail down the case system with ease. Very nice work which is why I commented, early on, that you just needed a smart student and a dumb student and you'd be ready to go!



This is great feedback- real proof that this patch to the course makes sense to people who are struggling with cases. I STRONGLY recommend you do the Advanced Course, though! It is well worth the money (assuming you can't get it at your local Library) and will take up only 5-10 hours of your time! With that and a basic understanding of cases (which I hope this thread provides), you'll be ready for what really is hard about German (learning genders and plurals of nouns), which I suspect Assimil will be great for.
1 person has voted this message useful



Cainntear
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 Message 29 of 60
09 December 2010 at 2:03pm | IP Logged 
Random review wrote:
If nothing else I am a bit disappointed not to get some feedback on this from Caintear, as I think he speaks German, he's not normally shy when it comes to giving his opinion, and frankly this is probably the only thread mentioning Michel Thomas that he isn't on ha ha (no offence intended if you read this).

None taken.

I looked at the thread when it kicked off, but didn't have time to read it all (you've clearly put in a lot of work!) and meant to come back to it, but forgot. I can't look at it now (just finishing my lunch then back to work) but I'll try to have a look over it at the weekend and provide proper feedback.

Cheers,
C.

Edit: PS. No, I don't speak German. I did the MT Foundation course but never started on the Advanced. I really should pick it up again soon....

Edited by Cainntear on 09 December 2010 at 2:04pm

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Cainntear
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 Message 30 of 60
09 December 2010 at 8:05pm | IP Logged 
Random review wrote:
The German case system is simple and logical, do you remember Michel Thomas teaching you “mit mir”, “von mir”, “bei mir” etc but “für mich”? If you do and you can speak English then you already know enough to use the German case system correctly.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea listing what people should already know. Far better is to do as you do next.
Quote:
Lesson 1

Cases exist in English too, but only for pronouns and few other words such as who versus whom

for instance we say HE goes, but I see HIM

An example in English proving how we already know this -- excellent.
Quote:
now MT already taught you how to do this with pronouns, how do you say "he goes"?

er geht

and how do you say, "i see him"?

ich sehe ihn

The student is prompted to recall the word forms spontaneously -- no clues. Excellent.

But then...
Quote:
Now MT also introduced you to "to me" "to him" etc: "to me" was mir, "to him" was ihm, "to her" was ihr and "to you" and "to them" were Ihnen and ihnen respectively

Thomas very rarely reminded students by telling them what they should know -- he prompted them to recall words and patterns. Reminding students by simply telling them the words again isn't very effective, as in real language we have to recall the words that we need without any reminders.


Quote:
One thing that MT did not cover was "to it", which is also “ihm”, let´s quickly practice this: how would you say "it is not possible to do it that way"?

es ist nicht möglich es so zu tun

and how would you say, "I did it (already) yesterday"?

ich habe es schon gestern getan

Why did you tell us what "ihm" was, but then proceed to revise "es" before working with "ihm"?

Quote:
but "to it" is the same as "to him" that is to say: ihm

You've now explained it twice before actually using it, which should be unnecessary.
You also then proceed to prompt for "to him" after this second explanation
Quote:
so if book is DAS Buch "I have given him the book" meaning "I have given the book TO him" is, as you know:

ich habe ihm das Buch gegeben

...before finally getting to a "to it" example:
Quote:
So how would you say, "I have given IT the book" meaning "I have given the book TO it"?

ich habe ihm das Buch gegeben

OK, so maybe I'm stretching this explanation out a bit, but a big part of Thomas's philosophy was about not needing to remember, so he didn't like leaving any sort of gap between the explanation and the initial practice, because the student would be forced to try to remember during the gap.

The most way MT to handled this (IMO) would be to be revising the "ihm" as "to him" so that the student had a chance to recall it, and only then introduce the fact that "to it" is the same, before prompting for a few examples.

Quote:
not a very likely thing to say admittedly, which is probably why mt did not teach it, but not as unlikely in German as it is in English as you will see

This is quite divergent from MT philosophy -- Thomas didn't like introducing things that didn't actually mean anything to the student. One of the problems with a lot of grammar study is that it explains structures, but doesn't connect with meaning on a personal level.

At this stage, I don't know what the sentence could mean, so I can't learn it meaningfully, and by saying "as you will see", you've set up a cliffhanger: it's now forcing me to remember what you have said for later. This is also something that I'm not going to get to practise for a while.

Better then to leave this until later when it can be introduced once it actually means something to the student, and when you're going to be able to practise it properly.

Quote:
former world memory champ Domonic O' Brian suggested the following mnemonic to help you remember whether to use der, die, or das:-

“der” remimnds you of a particularly stupid male pupil unable to remember anything
“die” is a female name (Dee)
and “das” is like a well-known washing powder that neutralises smells (i.e. neuter).

I'm not a fan of mnemonics, particularly for something fundamental.
Mnemonics are "telling", which is a poor substitute for "teaching". It also means that you're again giving the words before you're ready to practice them, and the student is going to be trying to remember again.

Maybe you should give them one by one and make sure that each one gets practised enough to be learnt, but instead you only give one example of each one before moving onto the next, and you have to give the article every time.
Quote:
Now as I keep saying German is nothing if not ultra-logical so if a noun is masculine then even though in common sense it is an "it" logically it has to be a "he", right?

so if the dog is der Hund (c.f. the English word hound), how would you say, "the dog is tired"?

der Hund ist müde

and now, still speaking about the dog, "it is tired" would be?

er ist müde

because in German a masculine noun has to be a he

like I say I do not argue that German is sensible, but you cannot deny that this is logical, and this logic makes it easy to learn as you will see

...

Now, you're onto something here:
Quote:
now I rather like this mnemonic of O' Brian´s, but there is in fact an even easier way which shows just how logical German is

what is “he”?

er

and what is "the" for masculine nouns (use the above mnemonic if it helps)?

der

“der “and “er”, hmmm, same ending (remember MT saying it had to do with endings)

what about “it”?

es

and the neuter word for “the”?

das

es and das, both end in "s"

actually the German word for "that" comes from the neuter word for the, that is why they are both "das"

finally what is “she”?

sie

and what is the femenine word for "the"?

die

die and sie both end in ie

so we have die and sie, er and der and es and das, all of which makes perfect sense because in German all masculine words take he (er) and all feminine words take she (sie)

now, let´s see whether we can extend this: what is the German for "they"

sie

so if the German word for they is sie can you guess the plural word for the?

die!!!!!!!

Interesting pattern, isn´t it, but it gets even better because German is logical to a fault, as we will see in the next lesson.

It's a great pattern, but you've rushed it. You're still presenting the rule rather than teaching it.

Start instead with one definite article, and practise it a few times.

Then compare with the pronoun.

Next go for the next pronoun, and point out the change in the previous pronoun, and try to see if the student can recreate this.

Practice with a couple of examples.

Same again with the third and fourth.

Now that the student is familiar with the forms in use, you can describe the general pattern more clearly, because you're just firming up known information.



Now, here again you are giving words that the student already knows (I think -- are you saying what's in the brackets?):
Quote:
Quick review, whenever you would use “he” (er) the word for "the" in German is?

der

and whenever you would use “she” (sie) the word for "the" in German is?

die

and whenever you use “it” (es) in German the word for "the" in German is?

das

finally whenever you use they (sie) in German the word for "the" is?

die

der and er, sie and die, es and das and sie and die

Why not prompt the student to recall the pronouns themselves rather than handing them over on a plate?
This may seem like an irrelevant point, but by giving us the pronoun, you let us engage in a little "word-juggling" -- ie we can fiddle with the form without thinking about the meaning. If you only give "she" then when the student recalls "sie", we are guaranteed to have both the form and meaning fresh in our minds.

Quote:
are you all happy with this? if not go and revise the last few sections before continuing.

Now this is just a nitpick, but that's not very MT because you're placing responsibility on the student. You seem to be open to feedback, so don't fall into the trap of passing the buck to the student or your course will never get to the level it deserves

Quote:
Now, what is "I see her" in German?

ich sehe sie

that´s right, it does not change, hmm...so try to figure out the following in German:- how would you say: "I see the newspaper"?

ich sehe die Zeitung

that´s right “sie” does not change, so neither does “die”.


what about, "I can hear it"?

...
“sie” does not change, so neither does “die”

Excellent excellent excellent. No extraneous explanations, just walking the student through the patterns.

Quote:
Finally, if to hate is "hassen" how would you say: "I hate him"?

ich hasse ihn

ah, now here the “er” changes to an ihn (as you already know)

so if German uses “der” where it uses “er” (he) can you try to guess what it uses for “ihn” (him)?

den

I'm not sure this is close enough to really be worth guessing at. (I also think you chose a bad time to introduce a new verb as it risks distracting the student's attention from the grammar point at hand.)

But looking at the next part, I'd say that you have to consider this a second pattern of changes (even if only a variant on the main pattern)
Quote:
now if “er” matches with “der” and “ihn” matches with “den”, can you guess what “ihm” matches with?

dem

So I give the man the book (I give the book TO the man) would be?

ich gebe dem Mann das Buch

...but now this is definitely a second pattern
Quote:
Now if girl is “das Mädchen”, and bearing in mind that "to it" is also ihm can you figure out: "i give the girl the book"?

ich gebe dem Mädchen das Buch

do you remember the word for "to her"?

ihr

now “ihr” matches with “der”, I suppose it should really have been “dier” but if you try saying this really fast it´s quite hard to pronounce- try it, you´ll see, so they shortened it to “der”

I disagree. If "ihn" is "den" and "ihm" is "dem", then "ihr" logically should be "der". That's why I say that this is a second pattern. Don't point out anything that makes it look unusual, the more regular the better, I say!

Quote:
One quick subtlety, German nouns which don't ALREADY end in "n" in the plural add it in this case (unless they end in "s" because that would be too hard for even Germans to pronounce!), so "with the men (Männer) would be: mit den Männern. But don't worry as we'll explain this later.

I'm not clear on what you mean hear by "in this case". Am I correct in assuming you mean grammatical case? That's a term most MT learners won't understand -- you need to show your meaning by analogy to what the student does know, and that's the pronouns and articles, which means you can't just throw this in and say "we'll do it later". You need to practise it so it sticks. If you're not ready to practise it, don't introduce it!

Quote:
To say "this" in German you use the word "dies" plus an ending, and the ending matches the pronouns again

er = der = dieser

so this man = dieser Mann

es = das = dieses

so this book =dieses Buch

can you figure out what this newspaper (die Zeitung) is?

diese Zeitung

because sie = sie = diese

similarly ihn = den = diesen

so “I hate this man” would be?

ich hasse diesen Mann

ihm = dem = diesem

so “I give it to this man” would be?

ich gebe es diesem Mann

ihr = der = dieser

so “I give it to this woman” is?

ich gebe es dieser Frau

finally

ihnen = den = diesen

so “I give it to these women” would be?

ich gebe es diesen Frauen

You're going too quick. Thomas didn't present full rules like this. He normally spent time on the first item in the set before introducing the idea of the rule. There's a little too much covered in a short space of time above, and that leaves everything a little muddy and hazy, and again, the learner will be tempted to slip into "word-juggling".


Quote:
The word for “a” in German is “ein”.

How would you say “a man”?

Ein Mann

And how about “a house”?

Ein Haus

So, for instance, how would you say in German: “I bought a house”?

Ich habe ein Haus gekauft

I'm confused (probably because I don't know German) -- is the house in the nominative here?

Quote:
This is all pretty easy, but I want you to forget it for a minute, while we play with a different system.
What we have been playing above with the German word for “this” we can also play with “ein”. So “ein” also changes to match the pronoun (he, she, it, him, her, etc), in exactly the same way as the German word “dies” did above. If you are unsure how to use “dies” revise lesson 5 above.

Let's take an example and this will become clear.

The description isn't clear enough to start off with. I assume this is the accusative case, from the examples that follow. Anyway, I'm not sure this explanation is needed. Thomas didn't bother telling students when not to use a particular language point, instead relying on the examples used to show the context, and then presenting another form separately with no fuss and no "this is X, that is Y".

So how about...
How would you say, "He has bitten me"?
(answer)
And "I have bitten him”?
Ich habe ihn gebissen

OK, so now if you want to say that you have bitten a dog, we have to say "einen" instead of ein, because in German these things change depending on whether they are doing or being done to.

So, "I have bitten a dog"...?
(answer)
But wait... what was “I have bitten this dog”?
(answer)

Einen... Diesen... it's those endings again.


...and so the rule emerges from the first example, and you can now ask the students to guess at the remaining forms of "ein".

But just doing a very rigid one-of-each makes it feel very stiff and artificial.

Quote:
But we have two exceptions, the only two illogical things you have to memorise for the entire German Case System! And to think that some grammars give over 50 endings to memorise!

We had earlier: er = der = dieser, and you would expect the word for “a” to be “einer”, but it isn't, it's “ein”

Similarly we had es = das = dieses, and we would expect eines, but it isn't, it's “ein”

Again, you're telling, not teaching, because you're giving me information but not getting me to manipulate it. It doesn't matter how well you tell me, if you don't give me the opportunity to use it, it's not going to stick.

Quote:
So you see even this is easy, because you just have to remember not to add ANYTHING at all, which is easy for us because it's what we do in English. In fact if you remember I already showed you this earlier, and you had no trouble! Do you remember how we said “I bought a house”?

Ich habe ein Haus gekauft

Ah, now I see. Trust me, that was a mistake.
By throwing it in where you did, you made it seem like it was the same case, rather than an identical form in a different case. You presented two different things as one, making it harder for me to understand the distinction with what I was supposed to be looking at in the next line.
Quote:
You also need to know that the German word “kein” (= “not a” or “no” as in no problem) and the possessive adjectives (my, his, her, your, their, our, etc) behave exactly like “ein”. We'll come back to this later.

Again, and I can't say this enough, don't tell me anything until you're ready to teach me it.

And don't, please, ask me to do this.
Quote:
Try making up sentences of your own until you are comfortable with all of this, before moving on to the next lesson

* It's quite difficult for some people to motivate themselves to make arbitrary sentences, and you can spend as much time deciding what to say as saying it. This isn't a matter of being lazy, it's a matter of not really having a good reason to do something. A course needs to motivate its students, not rely on them coming to the table ready and able to do anything - Thomas new that.

* If you make mistakes you'll never know because there's no answer key when there's no questions.

* You can end up falling into word-juggling again. In particular, the ordering of Thomas's prompts ensured that you weren't able to just recycle lots of the previous sentence and manipulate it into a new one, but once you're doing self-directed sentences, you're liable to fall into this pattern.



OK, so that was a lot, but you did ask!!!
And again, the fact that I could be specific is only because of the amount of material and the quality of it, so please don't take this feedback too negatively.

Edited by Cainntear on 09 December 2010 at 8:24pm

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Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 31 of 60
09 December 2010 at 8:12pm | IP Logged 
@Cainntear: I'll look forward to that- the sooner this gets tightened up, the sooner a pdf etc can be made. Regarding your German, I thought you spoke it, but maybe you should leave the MT Advanced Course until Nobel brings out a German course so that you can do a proper comparison! Just to explain, then, my "victim of the verb" comment in the O.P. was because (amazingly!) that is how they chose to start teaching cases in the Vocab Course. Why take something perfectly clear that we already have in English (albeit only for pronouns and who/whom) and explain it with a vague concept like "victim of the verb"? There is nothing in German that is truly alien to the anglophone mind (unlike, say Ser and Estar in Spanish/Portuguese, or the two past tenses in the Romance languages- to say nothing of more exotic languages!), so why not keep things clear?

Edited by Random review on 09 December 2010 at 8:17pm

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Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4146 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 32 of 60
09 December 2010 at 8:36pm | IP Logged 
Just got your feedback and am very happy with it. I knew I could rely on you not to sugar-coat things. This is exactly why I was disappointed that you weren't on this thread! I think you are right in most of your points, the only thing I disagree with is splitting it up into two patterns. That said what you say here
Cainntear wrote:

Quote:
now “ihr” matches with “der”, I suppose it should really have been “dier” but if you try saying this really fast it´s quite hard to pronounce- try it, you´ll see, so they shortened it to “der”

I disagree. If "ihn" is "den" and "ihm" is "dem", then "ihr" logically should be "der". That's why I say that this is a second pattern. Don't point out anything that makes it look unusual, the more regular the better, I say!
is much clearer than mine, so I need to find a way to get the best of both worlds. Not sure how yet.
Thanks for taking the time to do this, it's a real help.

I'm going to get cracking on a new (hopefully penultimate) draft this weekend, so if anyone else wishes to do what Cainntear did now is a good time, please. Thanks to all.

Edited by Random review on 09 December 2010 at 8:43pm



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