Teaching myself German?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Stinkythe1, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Stinkythe1 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Next semester, I'll be taking German 101. For my major I have to have 12 hrs (2 years) of a foreign language, so I picked German. In high school, I had Spanish I, but when I went to take the review test for Spanish II, I failed it :eek: , so I swiched to French.

    I remember nothing from Spanish or French, except that I liked neither, so I decided to start over with a different language of a different genre. (From what I understand, Spanish and French are romantic languages).

    I've also heard that English is a Germanic language, going back to when the Anglins and the Saxons merged to create Anglo-saxons and whatever. So I figure that since it is similar to English in some ways, that might make it easier.

    Well, to get to the point of the post, I was wondering what would be the best way to prepare for this first class. I know it will be the introductory class, but I'd like to be fairly familiar with the language before I go in there blindly.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #2
    If you want to keep it really simple, you can familiarize yourself with the structure of the words and the language just by looking at stuff in german online and in magazines/books.

    Getting comfortable seeing words in german like that would be a really simple first step. Too much prep might be a bad thing if you don't want to have to wait until the third month before actually learning something new.

    Once you start the class, the best way to get ahead is to completely immerse yourself in german stuff...go to german websites and read them, try to read a newspaper article in german. If you want to improve your speech, read articles aloud in german. Simply being around and seeing the language a lot, while frustrating at first, is the best way to get comfortable with it. You can also watch movies in german, which is great for listening skill, subtitles are a personal choice in that case.
     
  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    Old German and Old English were a lot alike but, while English has similar words, it's not that much alike. The sentence structure in German is partway between English and Latin.

    Buying German lessons on audio CD and just listening to them without reading might be helpful to get you comfortable with the sound of the language.

    It's definitely what I consider a fun language with lots of twists and turns. Good luck with it!
     
  4. Stinkythe1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Ugh... now I remember having to memorize the first part of the Canturbury Tales in Old English....
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #5
    The Canterbury Tales are in Middle English and it's so close to Modern English that there isn't that much in common with Old English.
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #6
    Yeah, but the Normans and Romans came over and conquered England and turned English into something that borrows heavily from French and Latin as well as its original Germanic roots.... i.e. don't expect German to be much like English. Dutch is actually a lot closer...

    I took German in high school, living in a French speaking country at an English based school, speaking Spanish at home. I later took Mandarin Chinese in college, and now my weakest languages (German and Chinese) often get confused in my mind, I tend to find them "similar" even though they share very little in common. ;)

    B
     
  7. oblomow macrumors 68000

    oblomow

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    #7
    watch 'Das Boot', preferably with english subtitles.
     
  8. IanF0729 macrumors regular

    IanF0729

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    #8
    One thing I found useful in teaching myself some French before I started taking French classes was to listen to French music and download the lyrics so I could get it ingrained in my mind how written and spoken French differed. It actually helped me a lot.

    Since I know nothing except how to count to 10 in German I am not sure how easily this would transfer over, but it may be worth a shot.
     
  9. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #9
    Buy a phrasebook (one of the little Berlitz ones) and learn a few numbers and simple greetings. That's how I started off with Italian and it was really effective.

    There's also this BBC site meant for schoolchildren who are just starting with the language.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/lj/
     
  10. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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  11. jamesmcd macrumors 6502a

    jamesmcd

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    #11
    I wouldn't recommend listening to too many songs before you know any German... otherwise you will just know lots of German words, but not what they actually mean. However, if you want to listen to German Music, you could try Rammstein or Die Ärzte.

    I had a Swiss girlfriend several years ago, and she forced me to learn High German (not Swiss German). Very useful having that as another language.
     
  12. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #12
  13. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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    #13
    buy a book and learn. Like German for Dummies or something.

    Learn vocabulary words. Though the hardest thing, for me at least, is the cases. Oh Männlich, Weiblich and Sächlich... (masculine, feminine, and neuter). It's not too difficult, but before your first class I'd know several verbs and their conjugations. z.B. sein, geben, gehen, wurden, haben, helfen, shreiben and so on. german.about.com is a good reference tool




    z.B. = zum Beispiel which means for example or i.e. (I thought I'd be clever :cool: )
     
  14. floriflee macrumors 68030

    floriflee

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    #14
    Don't forget to listen to 99 Luftballoons if for no other reason than to find the reference for Captain Kirk (not in the English version).

    German--even with all its guteral sounds--is a beautiful language to listen to if it is spoken well. I like the idea of finding ways to just listen to it before you start taking classes because then you'll have an idea of what good German really sounds like. When you listen to it, try practicing the some of the words and phrases out loud. Just thinking them in your head won't help you much in learning how to speak it well.

    Also, in addition to getting your feet wet with verb conjugation you could try to start out by trying to find some children's books in German and read through them with a German dictionary on hand. The language and sentence structures should be simple enough for you to be able to follow along and would help you get an idea of the basics in German conversation.
     
  15. ieani macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    #15
    German with Michel Thomas will teach you alot very quickly.
     
  16. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

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    #16
    You can buy all the books and all that stuff... but what about pronunciation? That's where you need some one to tell you if you're right or wrong. ;)
     
  17. ieani macrumors 6502a

    ieani

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    #17
    The cds have you repeat things over and over and the people on there even demonstrate the typical mistakes.
     
  18. Kingsly macrumors 68040

    Kingsly

    #18
    I use Rosetta (not that Rosetta! :eek: ) for vocabulary. When I finish the course I take a *insert language here* 101 course to learn conjugation, etc. It works quite well. gute nacht.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #19
    Go to Germany for a few months? ;)


    Lethal
     
  20. JeanJPoirier macrumors newbie

    JeanJPoirier

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    #20
    I don't know if anyone's mentioned this yet, but I'm in German IV, and if you want to do well in German, you HAVE to be good at grammar, or be willing to be good at it. In German, you need to know whether something is the subject, direct object, or indirect object just to say « the » or use adjectives. And adjective endings are changed just by « the » vs. « a. » For example…

    Der schwarze Hund sieht den schwarzen Hund mit dem schwarzen Hund. (The black dog sees the black dog with the black dog, haha)

    Ein schwarzer Hund sieht einen schwarzen Hund mit einem schwarzen Hund.
    (A black dog sees a black dog with a black dog.)

    If this is confusing, take French !:p
     
  21. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #21
    Sure, you not only conjugate verbs, but you also decline the nouns' articles. It's not terribly difficult, it's just busy. Latin and Ancient Greek are similar fun.
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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  23. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    #23
    I was going to suggest this too, based on my experience with the Italian one which I'm doing at the moment. He really has a knack for teaching and bringing new things into what you know already so you learn without really feeling that you're swotting.
     
  24. Diatribe macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #24
    That's actually the best advice you'll get next to watching a lot of German TV and reading German magazines.
    This is basically how I learned English and Spanish and I don't consider myself to be terribly bad at it. :D
     
  25. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #25
    Deutsche Welle is a great resource. A little ways down the page is a link to Slowly Spoken News Reports. It's a little annoying in a way but it's a great way to expose yourself to spoken German. They also have podcasts and tv shows as well for downloading. I like their TV offerings a lot. A lot can be learned about a spoken language by watching the faces of those who are speaking.
     

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