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German: massive input in Berlin

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 49 of 295
11 January 2014 at 12:13am | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:

People are quite polite. You acknowledge the other people in the bar as you enter and
leave, for instance.


I always figured that was a rural thing. You would nod to and possibly shake hands with
most everyone, as well as the proprietor/proprietress, and say "servus." I guess it's
just a German thing!


I watched the Münich based Tatort just after reading your comment, and was laughing as the detectives arriving at the murder scene said 'servus' to every police officer they passed (about a dozen) on the way to the victim.

I have lived in East Germany to and everyone greets you politely there as well. I always put it down to an example of something a little old fashioned that survived in the DDR, but not in the bigger West German cities. So perhaps it's a country/Ostdeutsch phenomenon. Though perhaps it happens in other West German cities.

In Berlin I always say goodbye/thanks to the store staff as you leave. It would just feel rude to walk out without saying something. I don't really notice it, except when friends visit and I realize I am sort of horrified that they just walked out the random (record/book/clothing) store without saying goodbye.

Edited by patrickwilken on 11 January 2014 at 12:14am

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Gemuse
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2381 days ago

818 posts - 1189 votes 
Speaks: English
Studies: German

 
 Message 50 of 295
11 January 2014 at 6:23am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:


I was doing the night courses, so semi-intensive. We used the Hueber Themen Aktuell
textbooks.

I found course books fine, but the course didn't suit me. It was too grammar intensive
for my taste, and be honest because I was working I didn't have time to either learn
the vocabulary efficiently after A1, let alone do the exercises. I think it's a basic
problem with the night courses, as they made up of people who are working during the
day, and the amount of time spent on each level is actually truncated so you cover the
same amount of material in the same number of weeks as you could a full time course.

However, I don't think the Goethe Institute courses are particularly bad. I have been
to cheaper schools with similar results. I have a universally low opinion of language
schools in Germany. I think they fairly useless at getting you to a useful intermediate
level, and once you are at an intermediate level you are better off accessing native
materials directly, and so don't need the schools anymore.

I was wondering how you covered A1 to B1 in only 6 months :)
It takes at least 6 months to do it in *intensive* courses.

And I agree that other language institute courses are crap too.

patrickwilken wrote:

You are living in Germany aren't you? If you are, a good tip is to join the local
library. For 10 Euros per year I can borrow from any library in Berlin. You can get not
only books, graphic novels, magazines, but also DVD and audiobooks. I borrow about a
dozen DVDs at a time and just work my way through the material.

Thats an excellent idea. I will check out the library here.

patrickwilken wrote:

I have no idea how well it works with a phone/pc - never tried it. It should be easy
enough to check. However, I recommend getting the cheaper Amazon e-reader. It's on
offer for 50 Euros, and with a Collins English-German dictionary (8 Euros?) you are all
set to start reading German books. That's no more than the cost of a week's German
lessons even in the cheapest schools.

I don't know what level you are at now, but I was able to start reading real books
after about six months starting at A1.

I dont like the 15cm form factor, am looking for something bigger :-\
I could get the bigger Kindle, but I am also getting an android tablet for
Anki/duolingo.

I am currently at A1.2/A2.1 level.
I want to finish Assimil, and then I will start reading graded story books.

Edited by Gemuse on 11 January 2014 at 6:24am

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 51 of 295
11 January 2014 at 3:37pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:

You are living in Germany aren't you? If you are, a good tip is to join the local
library. For 10 Euros per year I can borrow from any library in Berlin. You can get not
only books, graphic novels, magazines, but also DVD and audiobooks. I borrow about a
dozen DVDs at a time and just work my way through the material.

Gemuse wrote:

Thats an excellent idea. I will check out the library here.


I found films much more accessible than books and started regularly watching TV shows from about your level onwards. It's not that you'll magically pick up lots of vocabulary from listening, but I felt it was important to start hearing native materials as soon as possible. I was able to enjoy my first film in a cinema without subtitles after about four months.

Videoland here in Berlin rents videos for 1 euro a night, and if you use Handbrake software you can copy DVDs to watch later when you get a chance. TV series are great as they use repetitive language and you can get really immersed in the story. I don't know how much time you have, but if you want to learn fast, then I would recommend, say, 20 films a month as a doable goal.

The Super Challenge starts up again in 1st May, so you might want to consider doing this for German. Once you've read 10000 pages German you'll should find your German is a strong B2 (and that's only 30 pages/day for a year).

Gemuse wrote:

I am currently at A1.2/A2.1 level.
I want to finish Assimil, and then I will start reading graded story books.


Or you could just jump straight into real books like Harry Potter once you finish Assimil. You should certainly be able to read that by the time you get to A2+/B1-. One thing I hate about the language schools is that they de-motivate you, and I think actually discourage you a way to start tackling native materials early on.

Your first L2 book is going to be hard whenever you start, my first 200 pages took a few weeks to read, now I read that in about 4-5 days, but sooner is better than later. I would concentrate on getting some vocabulary down from Anki, and try adding matching sentences as you learn words, which will start teaching you grammar implicitly as well as make it much easier to learn words.

One thing that surprised me is that you don't really need to know so much grammar to enjoyably read books. It really doesn't matter if you know whether das/die/der is the correct definite article, so long as you know that it is the definite article as you read. That's not to say grammar may or may not be important, but you can get a long way without worrying about it too much.


Edited by patrickwilken on 11 January 2014 at 3:44pm

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ummagumma
Senior Member
IrelandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3555 days ago

217 posts - 241 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 52 of 295
11 January 2014 at 9:24pm | IP Logged 
Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the message over on my log. I am looking forward to our improvements in 2014.

I've being reading through your log. By the way I am a big Tatort fan.


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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 53 of 295
12 January 2014 at 3:29pm | IP Logged 
ummagumma wrote:
I've being reading through your log. By the way I am a big Tatort fan.


Thanks. My wife is a Tatort fanatic, so unless I hide in the bedroom on Sunday nights, I watch it. I still find it pretty hard, but it's definitely an interesting window into German culture. Last week's episode, involving the culture clash of a new North German colleague in the Munich team wasparticularly amusing.

-------------

I was at a party last night and two Germans I was speaking with swore that dubbed media are much clearer than undubbed German moves/tv. They thought the syntax was also simpler - which probably makes sense when they are approximating English sentence structures. Another argument for beginners to take advantage of the massive amount of dubbed films on offer.

I was actually really pleased with my ability to follow rapid drunken conversations last night on all sorts of issues: Israel, EU economic policy, human trafficking, the Internet, vegan cooking (it was a student birthday party). At some point I found myself talking English (I think because I was bit drunk and tired and needed to speak fast to keep up), but everyone kept talking German back at high speed, and everyone seemed happy.

No one could believe that I had only been studying German for a year-and-a-half, which was very satisfying. Hopefully next year I be able to keep to German the whole time.

Edited by patrickwilken on 12 January 2014 at 3:41pm

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Gemuse
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2381 days ago

818 posts - 1189 votes 
Speaks: English
Studies: German

 
 Message 54 of 295
13 January 2014 at 9:53am | IP Logged 
Good job Patrick!

Although technically you have been learning German for more than 1.5 years (eg your
previous 6 month Goethe courses...)
1 person has voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 55 of 295
13 January 2014 at 10:02am | IP Logged 
Gemuse wrote:
Although technically you have been learning German for more than 1.5 years (eg your previous 6 month Goethe courses...)


I have been trying to learn German on and mostly off for years: it's only been in the last 1.5 years that I have been succeeding when I seriously started self-learning in London and then Berlin. When I started in June 2012 I was A1 both in grammar and vocabulary.

I am pretty confident that in my first three months of self-learning I spent more time on German than the previous eight years. So you could say I have been learning German for 18 months well, and 2-3 months badly in total.

Edited by patrickwilken on 13 January 2014 at 10:06am

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Gemuse
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2381 days ago

818 posts - 1189 votes 
Speaks: English
Studies: German

 
 Message 56 of 295
13 January 2014 at 10:49am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:


I have been trying to learn German on and mostly off for years: it's only been in the
last 1.5 years that I have been succeeding when I seriously started self-learning in
London and then Berlin. When I started in June 2012 I was A1 both in grammar and
vocabulary.


You were only A1 even after the 6 months of Goethe courses?!?

*Shakes fist at Goethe Institut*


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