after you went through assimil German, were you able to read native material with ease? Books?
Hmm...no, not ''with ease'', at least not at first. Online articles were a little easier, but there was a period of one or two months when books were pretty tough going. I'd say that Assimil took me about five months to complete, and reading my very first full-length novel for adults probably happened around the eight or nine month mark. In between I was able to start reading online articles, forum posts, etc. I really had to just keep at it, and around that time I bought a Kindle. Having that on-board dictionary was a lifesaver, and eventually after the first two or three novels things got easier. That said, I still think Assimil is the best place to start. Those five or six months will give you a good foundation, and if you're patient and motivated then by the end you can definitely start to slowly
ease into native materials. Just be persistent, I promise you eventually one day it will ''click". Listening skills were much the same...I remember after Assimil trying to watch shows like Die Simpsons
, at first it was somewhat comprehensible but still rather difficult, and then after a month or two I remember vividly I had put on an episode of Zoey 101
in German (I was trying to get my daugther interested in learning German!) and suddenly everything made sense. I don't think I could have done it without Assimil. But realistically, it's taken me about a year to be able to read ''with ease''. Wiederholung
As far as actual ''studying'' goes, this week I've started reviewing Assimil using the Shadowing technique. I hope to be done with this first pass in about three months. I have two goals: first, it's been a year since I taught myself German with this course, and there are a lot of words and sentence structures I've forgotten. Second, this is kind of an experiment to see if it's possible to actually internalize the contents of this little manual in a meaningful way. I'm curious to know if Assimil really does cover everything that one would find on a B2 examination. Note that I'm not testing whether or not doing an Assimil course would actually leave you at a B2 level in a language. My own experience with German tells me that while I covered a lot of ground in a short period of time (around five months), I was at a very wobbly A2-B1ish level when I finished. But these little manuals are damn
concise and really packed with more information than one would think from just glancing at them...so my question is just how much info is crammed in there
? I want to test Professor Arguelles' assertion that one could hypothetically spend a year or so studying with an Assimil course, rather than the average five to six months.
Back to my studies for this week: in addition to Shadowing Assimil, I've been going back through my Schaum's Outline of German Grammar
in a systematic fashion. I'm on Chapter 2, which covers nouns and articles. Right now I am covering the dative case, which was probably the toughest one for me to “get'', at least at first. I remember years ago when I was dabbling in German I saw DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE inscribed on Das Reichstagsgebäude and I couldn't understand why it said dem...at that time I thought the definite articles were just der, das and die. Man did I have a lot to learn!
Flash forward fifteen years and things are a little clearer! Schaum's does a good job of explaining the dative and giving some examples. It also gives a nice list of verbs which are frequently used with an accusative and a dative object (bringen, geben, holen, kaufen, schicken, sagen, and zeigen) as well as a list of verbs which only take the dative (antworten, danken, helfen, gehören, gefallen, and folgen). Sometimes when I'm reading I have to re-read a sentence because I'm so used to English using prepositions to express the dative that I skip right over a noun in the dative case in German and therefore lose the meaning of an entire sentence. It's a rare occurrence though, and I'm getting better at it.
I've also been doing a better job of staying on top of my Anki deck and not letting it get too out of control. So far I've managed to make at least one review a daily habit, and I'm going to try to increase that if possible. Tomorrow I close on my new house and Saturday I have painters coming out to repaint the walls, so I'm probably going to be busy, but I always have time to squeeze in Shadowing and Anki, and maybe even a podcast or two!