Learning German

Bugsy

LE
supermatelot said:
Cheers for the helpful replies. I've read about sticking post-it notes everywhere with the German word and article for it. I find that helpful. I've also read that the key to learning German is to learn & concentrate on the verbs and the rest falls into place. Is this correct?
Reading the books I have I find the word order difficult and also the der die das aspect. One thing I wonder though is - if I used "der" instead of "die" or "das" - would what I said be still understood or could it change the whole context?

I did French & Spanish at school, got GCSE B's in them and could probably only count to ten in them now! I'm keen to now learn a language and see it through!
Just a few tips I found to be helpful when I was learning German and which also helped others when I passed them on.

Don't neglect the numbers! It's easy to do, I know, but you can easily practice them by looking at the registration plates of parked cars as you walk along and reciting the numbers. First singly, then in pairs and so on.

When you're learning vocabulary, always learn the gender of the word (der, die, das). It'll help you later when you begin to understand the grammar of the language.

German pronunciation is very regular. Learn it and you can practically read yourself into the language. When you're reading, read out loud. This is to get yer gob used to actually forming the words as you would in conversation.

In certain cases, the wrong use of der, die or das can actually change the context. Examples are:

Das Maß - the measure(ment)
Die Maß - a litre of beer

Der Gehalt - contents
Das Gehalt - wages, earnings

You also have to be aware that some German verbs change according to context. For instance, the verb "erschrecken" - to scare. If somebody scared you, you'd say: "Er hat mich erschreckt". But if you were referring to your own reaction in the same situation, you'd say: "Ich habe mich erschrocken".

I realise that all this sounds very complicated, but the thing to do is keep plugging at it, even if you've got the feeling that you're not really getting it. The point is that it's impossible to learn less, and even if you have the feeling that you're not making progress, you are.

I say that because folks tend to reduce their commitment with things when they find the going a bit hard. They should be doing the exact opposite.

I learned German on my own, and what kept me going in moments of doubt was that I said to myself: there are about 150 million folks who speak German as their native language. With so many, it stands to reason that some of the fückers have GOT to be thicker than me, but they learned it.

If you think I can otherwise be of help, let me know.

MsG
 

POGscribbler

War Hero
A shameless plug I know but people are actually using this to aide communication and learn a language along the way too

PoGs
www.pocketcomms.co.uk
 

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zulu-uhlu

Old-Salt
Bugsy said:
Reading the books I have I find the word order difficult and also the der die das aspect. One thing I wonder though is - if I used "der" instead of "die" or "das" - would what I said be still understood or could it change the whole context?
MsG
It is also interesting to note that the genders sometimes change when going from singular to plural!

Der Soldat.................The Soldier (Singular, Masculine)

Die Soldaten.............. The Soldiers (Plural, Feminine)

So, one Soldier is a proper bloke :D
but two or more Soldiers are a bunch of Nancy Boys! 8O

Yes it can be difficult.
Some good advice dispensed so far, but there is another fast track way to learn the spoken language.
Find yourself a nice friendly German pub, where no English go.
Where you have to speak the language, no matter how bad.
You will find that the Germans will help you in between bouts of laughter.
 

Bugsy

LE
zulu-uhlu said:
It is also interesting to note that the genders sometimes change when going from singular to plural!

Der Soldat.................The Soldier (Singular, Masculine)

Die Soldaten.............. The Soldiers (Plural, Feminine)

So, one Soldier is a proper bloke :D
but two or more Soldiers are a bunch of Nancy Boys!
That's not quite correct, Zulu. The definite article "die" is both feminine and plural. Thus it pluralises everything, masculine, feminine or neuter:

Der Soldat, die Soldaten - the squaddie(s)
Die Soldatin, die Soldatinnen - the (female) squaddie(s)
Das Ding, die Dinge - the thing(s)

MsG
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
zulu-uhlu said:
Bugsy said:
Reading the books I have I find the word order difficult and also the der die das aspect. One thing I wonder though is - if I used "der" instead of "die" or "das" - would what I said be still understood or could it change the whole context?
MsG
It is also interesting to note that the genders sometimes change when going from singular to plural!

Der Soldat.................The Soldier (Singular, Masculine)

Die Soldaten.............. The Soldiers (Plural, Feminine)

So, one Soldier is a proper bloke :D
but two or more Soldiers are a bunch of Nancy Boys! 8O

Yes it can be difficult.
Some good advice dispensed so far, but there is another fast track way to learn the spoken language.
Find yourself a nice friendly German pub, where no English go.
Where you have to speak the language, no matter how bad.
You will find that the Germans will help you in between bouts of laughter.
Too much time in Osnatraz ZU?
 

12minden

Old-Salt
Get a girlfirend from the fatherland ! I know one lad that went to local school and asked to help with their english classes for free, there by picking up german and chicks, bonus !

My old man was a German teacher at school and I point blank refused to learn a word of german off him. Within 6 months of posting to BFG I had a local girlfriend, learnt it all from her and family and watching Linienstrasse. When you start to think in German you know you are there.

Couple of Regt's I was in we quite often spoke german around the gunpark and in the accom. Also comes in handy in the Uk when your in pubs 'n' clubs and don't want the totty to figure out your cunning plan of attack.
 
Cheers everyone, just looking through the links that have been posted. I looked at that Goethe one in London and attempted the test your German level section that places you in a competence category. I could not understand the questions. (Fill in the missing word etc).

I think i'll beast myself with my books and Michel Thomas CD for 6 or so months then go and do a course in Germany, possibly at that Munich school that has already been mentioned.

Books I have at the moment are:
German for Dummies
German DeMYSTiFieD
A German vocab book with CD and a Michel Thomas intermediate course CD set.

Should be enough to give me a good foundation I hope. Cheers for the helpful advise :D
 

zulu-uhlu

Old-Salt
Bugsy said:
zulu-uhlu said:
It is also interesting to note that the genders sometimes change when going from singular to plural!

Der Soldat.................The Soldier (Singular, Masculine)

Die Soldaten.............. The Soldiers (Plural, Feminine)

So, one Soldier is a proper bloke :D
but two or more Soldiers are a bunch of Nancy Boys!
That's not quite correct, Zulu. The definite article "die" is both feminine and plural. Thus it pluralises everything, masculine, feminine or neuter:

Der Soldat, die Soldaten - the squaddie(s)
Die Soldatin, die Soldatinnen - the (female) squaddie(s)
Das Ding, die Dinge - the thing(s)

MsG
Very good bugsy! :D

Which reminds me, when I find out who Dinged my Jag with a shopping trolley.
Their geschnotten box is going to get Berdinged! :x
 
A good tip for any language is to think in the language you're speaking. Don't think in English and translate. Takes a bit of time at first but once you master it it becomes so much easier.

VH
 

Bugsy

LE
zulu-uhlu said:
Yes it can be difficult.
Some good advice dispensed so far, but there is another fast track way to learn the spoken language.
Find yourself a nice friendly German pub, where no English go.
Where you have to speak the language, no matter how bad.
You will find that the Germans will help you in between bouts of laughter.
Probably the worst folks in the world to learn German from are the Boxheeds. They like nothing more than explaining totally obscure grammatical points, even when the recipient of the doubtful advice has no fückin' idea what they're talking about.

The Boxheeds themselves often make mistakes, and I love nothing more than pulling them up on them. A case in point would be that the Boxheeds very often confuse their two words for "the same". They have "dasselbe", which refers to one object, and also "das gleiche", which refers to two or more identical objects. So a typical example would be:

Boxheed: "Wir haben dieselben T-Shirts" - We have the same T-shirts.
Bugsy: "Nein, wir haben die gleichen T-Shirts."
Boxheed: "Die gleichen?" - The same?
Bugsy: "Freilich! Kannst nicht einmal deine eigene Muttersprache, Alter." - Of course! You can't even speak your own native language, mucker.

Cue red faces all round.

The advantage with the German language is that all questions can be answered by consulting the German grammar "bible" called "der Duden". It contains all the answers to questions of grammar that you never even thought of asking. It's well worth investing in one.

Another not altogether unimportant point is that written German has undergone a radical change since 2000, when the newly revised (and totally unnecessary) grammatical rules were introduced. Anybody reading a German book from before that time might be surprised to find that "dass" is written "daß", and that "zuhause" is "zu Hause". Likewise, "auf Grund dessen" will appear as "aufgrunddessen". It's actually a load of bollix and just other-world academics incompetently trying to "improve" things but in reality just making it worse. But what can you do?

MsG
 

Bugsy

LE
VanHelsing said:
A good tip for any language is to think in the language you're speaking. Don't think in English and translate. Takes a bit of time at first but once you master it it becomes so much easier.

VH
Nice one! Now all you have to do is to include precise instructions on how that can be practised and you're a rich man.

This is something heard again and again, but in truth, it's complete bollix and just something offered by folks looking to raise their own profiles, but has no foundation at all in fact. And the dearth of knowledge about how we acquire and learn languages doesn't support the view at all.

I'm fluent in several languages. I think (picture, imagine) what I want to say and translate it (in my head) into the target language. That's the way it goes. Because I'm so conversant with the language in question, the path of translation becomes so short as to be almost instantaneous. But it's always the same path. It has nothing at all to do with my thinking in the target language.

In a series of experiments at Bremen University in the Eighties, I was among a number of candidates involved in attempts to ascertain how the human brain processes and learns languages. I was the only candidate who wasn't a bi-lingual speaker of German and English, since I'd only started to learn German at the age of 24. The result was that the boffins had no explanation for the language question, and they couldn't explain how I, as an adult, could learn German to such an extent as to be, in some respects, much better than the bi-lingual speakers.

It just goes to show how much we still have to learn about the assimilation of languages and their (individual?) processing and the process of "learning" itself in the human brain.

Just a thought.

MsG
 
Well it works for me. It isnt an exact science but to look at say a table instead of thinking table'' then translating to German just think Tisch.
Germans think in German, Russians in Russian, Chavs in Text Speak, so it can be done to a point.


edited to add Bugsy I read your post again and appologes because that is probably exactly what I do and the transition is quick enough not to notice. So I think you're right as it is probably what I meant in the first place but didn't explain it as well as you.
I have also been run ragged this weekend by my 5 year old and my brain is now in mong mode


VH
 

Good CO

Admin
Goethe Institute = expensive. I don't think you need to pay that much - you are just paying for the name. Do stay clear of the really cheap places where people do integration courses though, ie. Turks learning to speak German paid by the governement. The first class I ever went to I left the school the next day - the class was 15 totally uninterested Turkish teenagers and one completely bored teacher lecturing to them. Cheap is was but I may as well have gone to sleep with German radio playing.

Last thought from me - class size is also a big thing. Get somewhere that has no more than 8 in a class, 10 at the outside. That goes for night classes or intensive and comes from experience in learning, or at least trying to learn, German, Spanish and Russian.
 

Bugsy

LE
YesItsMe said:
Find yourself a penpal would be the easiest thing.

Or join something like this.


Btw, someone once told me 'You're perfect in a language the moment you start dreaming in it'.
I can tell it's not true though, cause my English is far away from being perfect. ;)
Bischde 'n Schwab' oder was? Han i' nür welle wisse, weisch?

MsG
 
Bugsy said:
Just a few tips I found to be helpful when I was learning German and which also helped others when I passed them on.
Quite, and one would be: don't mix German with Bavarian - two distinct languages...
Examples are:
Das Maß - the measure(ment)
Die Maß - a litre of beer
Die Mass is the Bavarian term for the proper amount of beer to be served in one glass and hence the much more important word. Its a mistake a lot of Prussians/Irish-become-Prussians make. (The German Maß is pronounced "Maas".)
[/quote]
Anyway, enough confusion for one day. Go with the common sense suggestions: don't try and translate in your head but go with the flow (again a mass or two will help), get into a German only environment, etc
Good luck.
 

Bugsy

LE
para_medic said:
Bugsy said:
Just a few tips I found to be helpful when I was learning German and which also helped others when I passed them on.
Quite, and one would be: don't mix German with Bavarian - two distinct languages...
Examples are:
Das Maß - the measure(ment)
Die Maß - a litre of beer
Die Mass is the Bavarian term for the proper amount of beer to be served in one glass and hence the much more important word. Its a mistake a lot of Prussians/Irish-become-Prussians make. (The German Maß is pronounced "Maas".)
Anyway, enough confusion for one day. Go with the common sense suggestions: don't try and translate in your head but go with the flow (again a mass or two will help), get into a German only environment, etc
Good luck.[/quote]
So where's the "mistake" then? Sorry, mucker, but you don't know enough about Germany and German to decide. It's an error made by many folks, so no subs to you.

MsG
 
Bugsy said:
YesItsMe said:
Find yourself a penpal would be the easiest thing.

Or join something like this.


Btw, someone once told me 'You're perfect in a language the moment you start dreaming in it'.
I can tell it's not true though, cause my English is far away from being perfect. ;)
Bischde 'n Schwab' oder was? Han i' nür welle wisse, weisch?

MsG
Nope, and that is everything but schwäbisch, since I got some good friends there and know the way it should sound and look. :lol:

At least the letternet is for free, so you're not wasting your money. Of course you can choose something like the Goethe-Institut as well, if you feel like throwing all your money at them.
 

Bugsy

LE
YesItsMe said:
Skuse me, but I can't get rid of the feeling that you might be a Boxheed. If I retrotranslate the following:

"Nope, and that is everything but schwäbisch, since I got some good friends there and know the way it should sound and look."

I get:

"Nein, und das ist alles anders als schwäbisch, da ich einige gute Freunde dort habe und weiß, wie es aussehen und klingen soll."

Gehe ich recht in meiner Annahme?

Übrigens, der Begriff "Schwabe" umfasst Deutsche generell in der Schweiz, und nicht nur die Schwaben.

MsG
 

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