Learning a new language questions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by waloshin, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    If sa you wanted to learn German, why would you

    Read German books, newspapers, whatever you find
    Watch German TV (if possible) or DVDs.

    When you cant understand what your reading, what your hearing ect.
    As a native English speaker reading most German would be like sounding out English words you dont know. So it would not help you any.
  2. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Your brain starts to pick up on words and phrases, sentence constructions, intonations....all of that stuff. Words are used in context as well, which makes them more accessible for using in speech/writing as you start picking them up, rather than memorizing where you have no real context.

    My dad taught himself English when he moved from Paris to New York for a few years...he bought his first TV and watched American shows all the time. :)
  3. nobunaga209 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2009
    Rosetta Stone is wonderful software for this purpose...:D
  4. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    Well I had a rather humorous experience moving to Japan. The only other language I knew at the time was German and, not having any Japanese speakers around to guide me, I tried to learn a few phrases in romanji (romanized Japanese) but I pronounced everything like it was German. Needless to say, no one had a freaking clue what I was trying to communicate when I arrived... This was before I had internet and I did not have tapes available to guide me, so I did my best!

    Watching movies/TV is a good way to learn, but it has to be appropriate. With German, I tried learning from Fassbinder films and was completely defeated. However, once I got RTL on TV I learned a lot from watching Cheers! reruns in German and German Oprah equivalents.

    I would not recommend trying to read if you do not have a grasp of the basics, especially with German and all its cases and separable verbs and whatnot.
  5. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    I only know simple German words such as:

    ich, ist, bin, mann, frau, klein, kein, golden, Münze, ein , eine, nicht, das, die, orange, buam, blume, tur, auto, rot, braun, silbern, gelb, schwarz, blau.

    How would watching German tv, watching German Movies help me learn German if it does not have German subtitles?
  6. andalusia macrumors 68030


    Apr 10, 2009
    Manchester, UK
    Ich spreche ein bisschen deutsch.

    I bet that's wrong ;D I've so failed that GCSE ;)
  7. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus


    Oct 13, 2007
    Reading non-simplified books and watching "original" TV shows and movies won't help you at the beginneng. But once you're able to understand the majority of what's going on, it really works wonders.

    Yes, that's completely correct ;)
  8. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    OP from my experience in learning a language, go to the country and be around native speakers, you will pick it up easily :)

    If you can't do that Rosetta Stone is a very good piece of software, and if you watch films and tv shows in German and learn to associate the words with what is happening you could learn in no time ;)

    Writing and Reading is different though :eek: IDK what to suggest.
  9. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    From what I understodd you said, I speak a german.

    Not sure what bisschen is yet.
  10. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    In context, it was "I speak a bit of German"
  11. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
  12. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Can you help me with the gender roles:

    Example Ein Eine,

    Ein (Masculine)(Neutral)

    Eine (Feminine)

    Example: Es Ist kein sofa. Es ist eine Lampe.

    How is a Lamp Feminine?
  13. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus


    Oct 13, 2007
    In German, there are "natural" genders for things were the gender is natural (Persons, animals...) and for the rest of the words you just have to learn the gender. There is no inherent gender for them.
  14. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Learning a language is much easier if you can combine learning with immersion. Being in the culture or watching media in that language provides real context to the basic vocabulary and grammar you are studying. Also use multi-modal learning in terms of audio, visual, and kinetic. Have fun and be patient. If you find yourself getting frustrated then take a break.
  15. Berlepsch macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    Calling different genders "male", "female" or "neutrum" is a bit arbitrary in German. A girl in German is called "das Mädchen" (neutrum), even when all primary and secondary indications contradict. In older times, it was similar with women; they were "die Frau" (feminine) until, but "das Weib" (neutrum) after marriage.

    When it comes to inanimate things, the issue of gender becomes practically arbitrary. The classical example is sun and moon, which is female (die Sonne) and male (der Mond) in German, but opposite in Romanic languages, e.g. "le soleil" / "la lune" in French. So you have to learn the gender for each noun in German to know how to declinate it correctly, and there are not really any rules for that.

    Take river names as an example. A river is called "der Fluss" (male) in German, but river names may have either male or female form, e.g. "die Elbe", "die Donau","die Themse", but "der Rhein", "der Neckar", "der Missisippi". So when you plan to drown yourself as a German, you have to figure out first if you want to end up on "seinem Grund" or "ihrem Grund" (Dativ!), which is different if you are jumping off the bridge in Hamburg or Cologne.

    No wonder that most Germans prefer to kill themselves on the Autobahn.

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