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Request for German resource suggestions

  Tags: Resources | German
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
Po-ru
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3847 days ago

173 posts - 235 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 1 of 5
16 January 2016 at 7:52am | IP Logged 
Being that German is one of the most popular languages, it is no surprise there is so much material
out there. However, this is making it difficult to come across good material that is in tune with my
learning style.

I was wondering if anyone can recommend me any resources. Texts, online sources, websites,
anything is good. I prefer to learn using Assimil and TYS type methods, using dialogues and having
grammatical points laid out before me as much as possible. Thus far, I've been pretty content with
the older version of TYS German (black book from 80s-90s), as well as a very old Assimil book from
the 50s. However, I don't have audio for these and would therefore like to come across some
material that might have some audio attached to it.

Thanks in advance.
1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2419 days ago

499 posts - 1084 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 2 of 5
16 January 2016 at 9:56pm | IP Logged 
A Learners' Language Forum
Most of the "active members" of the HTLAL have moved on to the new/replacement language forum A Language Learners' Forum. You would increase your chances of receiving comments to your posts were you to register on the new forum and post them there.

HTLAL G-Search
My "G-Search" of this forum, using "German Resources" as my search criterion, yielded 2,590 discussion threads. I suggest that you do the same and that you consult the ones that seem most interesting.

German Resources
I'll be brief. In my opinion, given your preferences for learning, the best resources available for studying German up to the Intermediate Level are as listed below. I assume that you can locate links to these very well-known materials.

FSI German: A Programmed Introduction (up to Unit 20 only)
FSI German Basic
FSI German FAST
DLI German Basic
DLI German Headstart + DLI German Gateway
Linguaphone German Beginners-to-Advanced (Deutschkurs)
Linguaphone German Advanced-to-Expert (Deutsch Aufbaukurs)
Assimil German (they keep changing the title)
Assimil Perfectionnement Allemand (a great opportunity to practice your French)
Living Language Ultimate German: Beginner's-Intermediate
Living Language Ultimate German: Advanced
Hammer's German Grammar and Usage
Reading German: A Course Book and Reference Grammar

There are countless other materials available for learning the basics of German. However, in my opinion, the vast majority do not offer the sheer depth that the above materials do. However, I would point out that none of the above materials contain full-colour pictures of smiling, white-teethed, physically attractive young adults who are obviously enjoying their séjour in Germany.   

I will leave it to others to comment on online materials, readers, videos, websites, audio-only methods, and etcetera.

Moving to China by way of Germany?
On Christmas Eve, you announced that you were moving to China in two months; now in less than one-and-a-half months. I suspect that the challenge of learning Mandarin will keep you more-than-a-little occupied, linguistically speaking, and that studying German will be nothing more than a pleasant distraction ... at least until you return.

Edited by Speakeasy on 16 January 2016 at 11:14pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Po-ru
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3847 days ago

173 posts - 235 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 3 of 5
17 January 2016 at 2:07pm | IP Logged 
Thank you for the reply. I keep forgetting that the forum has moved. To me this is still the go to
place, so I've got to get used to going to the new one.

I still am going to China, but I am also studying German. I will be taking a trip to German and Austria
next year and thought this would be a great change to study German and learn as much as I can. I
did the same thing with Norwegian and have since established a very solid foundation in it. German,
however, is much more challenging that Norwegian for me. I am kind of experiencing opposite
problems with the two languages. With Norwegian I find a lack of decent intermediate materials
(especially listening materials), whereas German, I have an overflow of materials at all levels it is
difficult to weed out the good ones.
1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2419 days ago

499 posts - 1084 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 4 of 5
17 January 2016 at 4:27pm | IP Logged 
Hi, Po-ru!

I have sent you a Private Message.

Yes, there are simply "too many" options for studying German. Over the past few years, I acquired a collection of introductory and intermediate materials sufficient to fill two large bookcases. Still, in retrospect, I should have simply concentrated on the materials listed above (and even that is excessive, as there is a fair amount of overlap) and then moved on to native materials (magazines, newspapers, novels, specialized textbooks, online newscasts, films, and the like) and private tutoring and/or language partners.

As to the FSI and DLI materials ...

FSI German: A Programmed Introduction
Unlike the FSI Programmed courses for Portuguese and Spanish, which are truly excellent and quite complete, and the FSI Programmed Italian course which was an unmitigated disaster, the FSI Programmed German course was written specifically to assist students prepare themselves for the rigours of the FSI German Basic course. It covers only a small portion of the vocabulary of the Lesson Units 1-6 of the Basic course, the overall objective being to introduce the student to the sounds of the German language, whilst introducing some very basic notions of the language's structure. From what I have read on the Internet, this course was initiated at a time when the Programmatic Method of learning was still in vogue. However, before it was completed, there was a change of leadership at the FSI and the new managers decided that the previous instruction methods were obsolete; hence the FSI FAST methods and the "rushed and incomplete" appearance of the final Lesson Units of the Programmatic German course. If you have had absolutely no exposure to the German language, this course might be an interesting place to start. Nonetheless, given its very limited objectives, you would probably be better off with something like Teach Yourself German.


FSI German Basic
As you are probably aware, this course uses the audio-lingual method of instruction (drill, drill, drill ... what, you're tired? ... 5,000 more sit-ups ... and don't puke on my shoes, you slug!). In the case of the FSI German Basic course, I found that the accompanying "notes" to be a tad too sparse. For this reason, in preparation for this course, I would recommend that you acquire a very simple German Grammar (German Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, by Charles J. James, published by McGraw-Hill, is quite sufficient) and that you "skim over" the explanations of verb conjugations in the present tense and the basic notions of the case system. The audio recordings for the FSI German Basic course are not of commercial quality, but at least they are clear and I'm sure that you'll fall in love with the dulcet tones of Frau Kunze's sensual voice. When I started using this course, I found Lesson Units 1 & 2 so unimaginative and boring that I almost abandoned all effort. However, I persevered and it became apparent to me that is only as of Lesson Units 3 & 4 that the dialogues, and more particularly the exercises, help one envision himself actually being able to speak the language one day. The sentence-pattern drills (as of Lesson 3 forward) are, to my mind, extraordinarily well-conceived; so much so that they render the equally well-conceived dialogues virtually superfluous.

FSI German FAST
This course was designed to be presented in a classroom setting. While the material is arguably more advanced than, say, Teach Yourself German, the latter is more appropriate for self-study. Given the availability of materials for studying German, I used it simply for the extra dialogues.

DLI German Basic
As for the FSI courses, the DLI Basic courses were designed for use in a classroom. I supplied the copy of the DLI German Basic course that is presently available via the FSI Language Courses website. In preparing the audio recordings, I took the time to split them into smaller sections. I also prepared a transcript of the Pattern Drills, which doubtlessly contains some errors. Although the first two volumes of this course can seem a little "dry", the subsequent volumes are much more interesting. One very nice feature of the course books is that every Lesson Unit contains a succinct, but very clear, presentation of the grammatical issues covered in the lesson. In addition, the DLI produced as series of "Structure Supplements" containing additional explanations and simple grammar exercises. Another feature of these materials that I appreciated was that, in addition to the dialogues, the Lesson Units include "prose narratives" that are recorded, thereby giving the student the opportunity to improve his reading, narrative, and listening skills. While, generally speaking, the DLI Basic courses "pattern drills" resemble the style of those used in the FSI Basic courses, curiously, the DLI took a different approach with their German course. The "pattern drills" employ very limited vocabulary and focus exclusively on the grammatical structure of the particular lesson. This has the advantage of focusing the student's attention on the grammar. However, the disadvantage is that they are exceedingly dry and downright boring. Nonetheless, if a student were to concentrate heavily on the dialogues and prose narratives of the DLI German Basic course, he would achieve and Intermediate Level of knowledge of the language.

Ciao for now!
Speakeasy
PS: I have sent you a Private Message.

Edited by Speakeasy on 17 January 2016 at 6:06pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



KelsTheLinguist
Diglot
Newbie
United States
kelseythelinguist.co
Joined 1228 days ago

1 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: English*, German

 
 Message 5 of 5
21 February 2017 at 9:51am | IP Logged 
Each year there are new and better resources! It gets hard to choose. When I'm not
reading/watching/listening to native media, I use the following:

WordBrewery (www.wordbrewery.com) for on-the-go studying. It has beginner-master levels
and it gives you one sentence at a time. You can even read the original source article
with the sentence if you have more time.

Deutsche Welle -(http://www.dw.com/en/learn-german/s-2469). Their Deutsche Interactive
will take you from A1-B1.2. It's worth taking. They also have a plethora of materials,
and many of the audio/video selections have transcripts.


2 persons have voted this message useful



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