So you want to learn German? You’re going to need some resources…
Great! Welcome back. I’ve noticed that installments #3 and #7 are really popular with the readers of the blog. Victor and I are both stoked and hope this is a great resource in itself for language learners. German isn’t easy. I know. I’m going through this right along with you.
What are the resources I’ve been using?
I have a copy of Rosetta Stone I’ve never even cracked open yet. I still need to get a headset for my desktop to use the program. Which is why I use Duolingo instead. Duolingo is free and you use the app on your smartphone. No headset is required. And, it’s a lot of fun. You’ve probably seen a few of the screen-captures I’ve taken from the program to highlight some of the nuttier lessons. Sure some of the sentences don’t make a lot of sense in the real world, but they’re teaching you multiple things in them and you’ll be able to interpolate more meaningful things to say from them. Just hang in there with them.
I recommend the insane level, every day. If you’re serious about this. It will take about a half hour or less to rip through the five rounds (the better you are the quicker they go). Don’t be afraid if you feel overwhelmed or lost. This is a new language and it’s going to take time. I’m just under 30% fluent in German having a year of study in. There is no quick answer, so be sure to avoid those book (kindle) scams that promise this, or any other program. Be prepared to study for a few years, and longer, depending on how dedicated you are.
My next step was to find books that would support my lessons:
iRef Guides: German Grammar by Scott Shay
Both books are very useful for referencing the grammar behind the Duolingo (or Rosetta Stone) lessons as it’s not explained during them in any way that is very clear. This makes it hard to get things right until you memorize the sentences they want you to spit back. That’s not very useful, because, even in English, grammar rules are not constant. The German people won’t be angry with you for screwing it up, but they’ll definitely have a hard time understanding you, or might think you’re a bit slow. Don’t be offended, we all struggle with grammar. I can think of some videos that expose the stupidity of Americans on the street, as shared by Jimmy Kimmel. We all laugh, but then go home and weep for the world.
I also reach out to other students of German and German natives to get some tips about the language. A friend recently connected me to her daughter who took German in a five star Ivy League University and she gave me a tip on a book I still need to buy. I’m sorry I can’t give you a review of it. That said, she told me this is what they used in classes for the grammar and other bits and pieces and it is extensive and very helpful. The text is written plainly and clearly. Sounds like that is a book to get!
English Grammar for Students of German: The Study Guide for Those Learning German (English Grammar Series) 5th Edition by
The support of social media is that it can additionally connect you with native speakers. Now, not everyone is there to be your grammar teacher and you shouldn’t expect them to be. Instead, be friends and just let things be natural. You’ll get perspective on German Culture and even some language to try and translate to see how you’re doing. This can also teach you new words in a natural manner, exactly how you learned to speak your native tongue at home.
Short of that, you can check on Youtube for resources. There are a lot of hosts out there who want to share their native language and culture. Not all created equal. That said, even if a video is dry, it can have a lot of information in it that is helpful, so presentation isn’t everything. Fear not, German/Deutsch Learners! We have Dominic of the Get Germanized channel (go subscribe right now). Dominic has a really fab presentation and his videos are bursting with helpful information straight from the source. From grammar lessons to what not to do in Germany, he is one of the best resources I have found so far. He’s also across a lot of social media, so you can stalk him and his friends there–but again, don’t be pushy and entitled. Dominic and the other members of Get Germanized are volunteering their time to teach you and that is a lot already. The cool thing, if you have a question, you can leave him a comment and he’s likely to get back to you.
And that’s my list of resources so far.
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