German reading for beginner

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by lewis82, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    #1
    I started learning german language by myself about a month ago (during my free time, that is) and I'm having problems finding stuff that is easy enough to read.

    I found the website DW-world, which is good, and has interactive classes, but lacks easy beginner texts (texts that doesn't require constant trips to Dashboard to translate that new word I don't understand).

    Does someone have any suggestions for free texts?
     
  2. TSE macrumors 68030

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    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #2
    Listening, listen to ndr2 web radio, it is German news channel except in really really slow motion. :D
     
  3. lewis82 thread starter macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Aug 26, 2009
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    #3
    Thanks, I'll have a look at that.

    (Or Danke should have I said...)


    Anyone else?
     
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #4
    Look for children's books that have been translated into German. You might have to visit a public library and talk to a children's librarian to get additional guidance. Also, some children's book sections in bookstores will have foreign-language translations of popular books, like "Die Katze in die Hatze" or "Eine Fisch, Zwei Fisch" or whatever.

    I don't mean just little-kid books, either. There is quite a range of youth and children's literature that is translated into many languages. For example, you could probably find Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle In Time" without a lot of difficulty. You might have to order it from Germany, or visit a specialty bookstore, or drop by your local high school and ask the German teacher how to order books in German.
     
  5. lewis82 thread starter macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Aug 26, 2009
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    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    #5
    I'll have a look at my local library but I highly doubt there will be any german books - On over 70 00 books there, there are barely 200 english books (purely speculative number, but the bookshelf is about 6 feet wide by 8 feet high).

    As for the german teacher there is none. There are spanish teachers but I'm not interested...

    Thanks anyways, I will hunt for your suggestions.
     
  6. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #6
    A recommendation I had to learn any new language (I'm learning German & Japanese off and on myself) is to write out the foreign word for each item you come into contact with in your house and put the words on pieces of paper or sticky notes and put them on each item - Refrigerator, coffee, door, stereo, etc - and every time you use it say the word. After you get used to what most of them are, pick up a bit of grammar and start putting them into simple sentences each time you use it.

    It's a great way to learn during day-to-day activities, where you'll see it more often and you won't be pressured to remember something from a formal course.

    You'd be surprised how quick you can pick up a lot of stuff.
     
  7. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    That is a good technique. I wonder if it would also work with body parts. Maybe next time you have guests around? :)

    As far as Japanese, do you write the words in Katakana/Hiragana/Kanji?
     
  8. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #8
    Mostly I do that w German, but when I do Japanese I use Romaji; Katakana and Kanji are way to complicated for me atm.

    afa for body parts, just use a marker on yourself. The technique would work with anything - as long as you can find the word, maybe work it in to a sentence if you're that well along in the language..
     
  9. lewis82 thread starter macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #9
    Where are the news?

    All I found was this, the rest was only music.

    And I guess we don't have the same conceotion of "slow motion"... :p
     
  10. TSE macrumors 68030

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    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #10
    http://www.ndr2.de/

    It has music too, but it's harder to understand someone singing than it is to understand someone talking.

    I took a German class for about 8 months once a week but I practiced my butt off during the offdays and I have to say that if I got dropped off in Germany I would do okay until I have anything more than a basic conversation with someone.
     
  11. lopsta macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #11
    I find it a good thing to watch movies in the language I am learning subtitled in German which is my mother tongue.

    I tried to find texts online available from Erich Kästner who was known for stories equally interesting for children and adults. Didn´t find any. However, under

    http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/?id=5&xid=1357&kapitel=1#gb_found

    you will find kind of like the German version of "google books" and you could skim this site for contemporary authors.
     
  12. instaxgirl macrumors 65816

    instaxgirl

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #12
    Deutsche Welle puts daily news podcasts on iTunes. There was one version that was read veeeeeerrrryyyyyyyyy slooooooowwwlllyyyyy. The slow version might have only been available on their website, I can't remember. By the time I stumbled on it I found it too slow :rolleyes: but you might pick something up from it.

    Bookwise, I didn't actually read anything in German until I'd been studying it for years so I'm not much use there.

    One of the first plays I read in German was Andorra by Max Frisch. It's fairly easy to understand and once I'd looked up the relevant vocabulary for the story I could read the rest without a dictionary. There'll be words you don't necessarily know, but you'll get from context what's meant if you want to read without the dictionary. It's an interesting enough play to keep you reading as well, which is half the trouble sometimes.
     
  13. lopsta macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #13
    Good idea, indeed: Gotta try that out sometimes.

    My brother had to stay in Japan for a while and he says he was hardly able to buy groceries since all the articles were wrapped in non-transparent plastic and all that´s written on it is in Japanese letters. Won´t help you much sticking those to your fridge :)

    Another thing you could do, unless you are already getting tired of suggestions: reading something in German that you know "by heart" in your mother tongue. So that the words you don´t know you can easily conclude.

    Here is a link to an illustrated version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in German. The translation is a little bit aged and the orthography would certainly need some shining up but you can never be quite sure with German orthography these days anyway since we tend to change it every half year or so :)

    http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/?id=5&xid=5252&kapitel=2&cHash=5d5bb9bbb0chap001#gb_found
     
  14. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #14
    You should rather look for some German authors that have been translated to the English language; the list should be extraordinarily long and cover a couple of centuries. I think it also makes more sense to read native authors - translations always lose a lot of the quality of the original.

    Try reading Erich Kästner, for example "Pünktchen und Anton" or "Emil und die Detektive". He wrote some of the most famous children books.

    I would not start with the Brothers Grimm. Although their collection of fairy tales is legendary, their language will be too advanced for a beginner. Also don't start with the classics Goethe, Lessing or Schiller - their language will kill you and you probably won't understand a single word of what they're saying. It's like reading Shakespeare or Joyce's Ulysses in first grade. Not a good idea.

    If you like comics, the German translations of the French "Asterix" comics are awesome, but probably already too advanced in their use of language. But that will be the problem with all comics; the German "Werner" series is as (North-)German as it gets, but almost exclusively uses slang that will be impossible to understand for non-Germans. And the problem with comics in general is that their language is always very colloquial and contemporary and lives inside a specific local context. So I'm not sure if comics are really a good start. They're the most fun, though, and I remember reading some French Asterix comics in high school. Asterix is still my all-time favorite, in ANY language; just like Harry Potter, they even have Latin translations.

    Talking about Harry Potter: You might be tempted to try this. After all, this is what all the kids around the world read in the English original no matter what their own native language is.

    I must say that I found Harry Potter rather challenging: It's BRITISH English, VERY local British English. It's a "stag" and not a "deer", and when English is not your local language, the many differences between American and British are quite confusing.

    I've read Potter in English, but gave the German translations to my Mom as a Christmas gift. The translations are well done, BUT they also translated the names of places, animals, creatures and what-not. Just as it was done in the German translations of The Lord Of The Rings. So when you're used to Harry having a butter beer in Hogsmeade, you're in for a little surprise because there is no village named Hogsmeade in the German version.


    What you can - and should - also do: Watch German movies. Yes, we do make movies over here, and some of you might even know that Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, "Das Arche Noah Prinzip") and Wolfgang Petersen ("Das Boot", Troy, Outbreak, In the line of fire) are Germans.

    Watch "Das Boot" in the German original with English subtitles turned on. So you can hear the language but still be able to follow the dialog.

    Other great German movies include:
    "Im Juli" by Fatih Akin (yes, a Turkish guy who grew up in Germany)
    "Die Katze" by Dominik Graf
    "M - Eine Stadt sucht den Mörder" by Fritz Lang

    Anyway, gotta go. Work's calling. :)
     
  15. instaxgirl macrumors 65816

    instaxgirl

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #15
    I read one of them in Spanish during my exams last year and found it fairly easy to follow. This is 'cause I was a kid when they started releasing them though and I knew that book off by heart at one point. The familiarity helps though, it means that even when you're initially confused by the language you can work it out through your half memories of the English original.
     
  16. lewis82 thread starter macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    #17
    Well thank you all. I really appreciate your suggestions, they are really helpful.:)
     
  17. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    2nd Star to the Right
    #18
    As others have mentioned, the different subtitle/audio options for movies is great. I do this all the time. I find it less boring than book/audio drills.

    If you're more concerned about reading, you can always start with comic books. Marvel and DC translate their most popular comics into the major European languages. Finding hard copies might be difficult, but digital CBR/CBZs in the right language aren't all that hard to find if you know where to look.

    I'd be curious to know if DW has a German equivalent of VoA's Special English, not just for audio broadcast but written media as well.
     
  18. lopsta macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #19
    Excellent suggestion. not at last because starring is Herbert Groenemeyer, one of the best contemporary German singers. So you also might consider hearing some of his songs, for instance "Bochum", which also gives you kind of a feel for German mentality.

    However, I would stay away rom Emmerich-movies which feel more like major Hollywood movies. I, personally, would change one Petersen for 5 Emmerichs any time.
     

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