While digging around in the HTLAL archives, I came across the following sequence of comments, ending with an explication of German grammar by member Betjeman
, who is a native-speaker of German, and his own appreciation of the FSI Basic German
course:From Elexi to ExRN
"What makes the FSI German course 'technically useless' in your opinion?" From ExRN to Elexi
"Now I have never studied German but I was under the impression that German spelling and grammar was standardised in the 70s? Now even if the audio segments are correct, parts of text are going to be wrong are they not? And if it's for a learning learning from scratch, there is no way of telling what is still relevant a d what isn't. Sorry if I am wrong."From Betjeman to all
"Actually, the German language was already standardized in the late 1800s. For educated people not too much has changed since then. Honestly. You can read a novel from the 1920s and it still sounds fresh and original - Erich Kästner, Hans Fallada and Klaus Mann come to mind.
As for the latest spelling reform (about ten years ago), most of the changes are optional and thus neglectable. Basically, exchange the letter "ß" for "ss" if it is followed by a short vowel ("Haß" becomes "Hass" - it is still the same sound though). The letter remains the same if it is followed by a long vowel ("Ruß" is still "Ruß").
The reform was supposed to make things easier for pupils but studies show that the opposite is true. This is because there are so many optional variants now that no one knows what's right and what's wrong anymore. Stick closely to the old spelling and for all practical purposes you will be fine.
As for FSI German, I once had a look at it, and while the language sounded formal (you would expect that from a course aimed at diplomats, wouldn't you?), it did so in an impressive way. I suspect you will come across as a very educated person if you master the material. Personally, I much prefer a foreigner to speak in a somewhat formal fashion rather than hear him use all the latest slang words, which often sound out of place."
The above comment was extracted from the following HTLAL Discussion Thread:The overall usefulness of FSIhttp://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=40800&PN=1&TPN=1EDITED
2. Inclusion of the preceding comments by Elexi