Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

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Polyclod
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Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Polyclod » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:01 pm

Okay so since I want to make German, my favorite language, the main focus of my studies, I'm going to keep a seperate log. The goal here will be to bring my German from a wobbly B1 - VERY unstable B2 up to a comfortable B2 range. In an ideal world, I would like to take German the furthest, and if it's possible up to the C levels, but I have to take into account that an extended immersion stay anytime soon is very unlikely. So basically how far can I get with simulated immersion, or ''All Japanese German All The Time'' approach.

My background in German is that I've always wanted to learn it. When I was around thirteen or fourteen I found a copy of my dad's old Teach Yourself German book (the classic grammar/translation method, not the phrasebooks they sell currently) and I can remember trying to work through it. I never really took any serious steps to learning German until a year ago, when I purchased and worked through Assimil German With Ease. After that I started tackling native material, and so for a year now I've been reading novels, listening to podcasts, audio books and music, watching TV and films, and basically doing everything to keep my passive German skills alive. As is usually the case, Assimil left me with a great foundation but not a great grip on the grammar. I feel like reading a lot has helped solidify the grammar somewhat, but I'd still like to formally study it. I started working through Schaum's Outline of German Grammar, and I also have Langenscheidt's Übungs Grammatik Deutsch. I noticed that I've forgotten quite a bit of the expressions and vocabulary I learned in Assimil, so starting this morning I'm going to use the next three months to shadow the course for review.

My immediate goal is to ''activate'' my German, to go from passive to active use of the language. I'm going to try to find people to speak with, and also I want to start writing. Right now I think mainly in German, and can hold converstations, but my grammar is probably all over the place. But I'm still going to continue reading and listening, since I think all four skills complement each other.

Gotta run for now but I'll update as often as possible!
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Via Diva
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Via Diva » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:12 pm

Warum verstehen die Leute nicht, dass Deutsch sehr schön ist? :(

Are you going to do L-R or something of the like?
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Polyclod
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Polyclod » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:28 pm

Ehrlich gesagt verstehe ich es auch nicht.

You know I have a few audio books and matching texts. I don't think I've ever done the L-R method before, that might be interesting! Vielen dank!
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby gsbod » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:39 pm

Ich glaube, man muss ein bisschen Deutsch kennen, bevor man versteht, dass Deutsch so schön ist. Das finde ich auch schön.

I am also in the process of trying to finally do justice to German and learn it properly, so I will follow your log with interest!
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby geoffw » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:16 pm

Meiner Meinung nach, es gibt viele die alle Kehllaute hassen ohne Ausnahme, und die eine Sprache nur lieben können falls überflüssige Vokale bietet. Mach einfach weiter!
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Polyclod » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:05 am

So I've been reading Die Nebel von Avalon, and I have to say I really enjoy this book. It's my first fantasy novel in German and it's actually quite good...the only complaint I have is that this is very much a Pagan novel, and so the narrative is basically "Christians bad, pagans good". I mean, as an atheist I don't really ''have a dog in this fight'' so to say (although I think the old-timey pagan religions were really cool in some ways, and really awful in others), but I get a little annoyed with the constant portrayal of Christians as always evil or cruel or stupid, while the pagans are always wise, noble, or victims of the Christians. It reeks too much of the "noble savage'' stereotype, and I think the ancient Celts were too fascinating to turn them into such one-dimensional characters as they are portrayed in this novel. I'm not arguing that the Christians weren't intolerant and weren't cruel towards the native religions of Britain (they were) but history is rarely so black-and-white. The main problem is that we don't know nearly enough about the ancient pagan traditions of the Celts to paint such a glowing portrait as in this book, and I think Zimmer-Bradley makes a mistake presenting the ancient Britons as basically pacifist Wiccans. But like I said, it's a book written from a pagan (or maybe Wiccan?) point of view, and it really doesn't stop me from enjoying the story. The important thing is that I enjoy reading it enough to keep reading, and since the idea is to read in German as much as possible, I think the book does its job.I really enjoy transporting myself back to ancient Großbritannien, a land populated by famous figures like König Artus and der Merlin, with the island under attack from die Sachsen and ruled from afar by the Cäsar of Rom.

I'm going to add another non-ficition book to my reading list, I have a lot of history books from C.H. Beck Wissen, and also an astronomy book I'd like to leaf through. I think I might start with Hubert Houben's Die Normannen, just to keep with the whole ancient Britain theme. :D I've got the weekend off so hopefully I can get some reading done.

I've also been watching more German films. Lately I've been on an 80's trip, so I've watched WarGames and Tron, and I kind of want to re-watch one of my favorite trainwrecks of a film, Dune - Der Wüstenplanet, or even Krieg der Sterne. But I want to make reading my main priority...well, that and Anki. According to my Kindle I've got about a thousand words to learn, so better now than never. And I'm shadowing Assimil every morning, just to review whatever I might have forgotten...I mean, it has been a year since I looked at it last.
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Elisac » Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:09 pm

Hi :) after you went through assimil German, were you able to read native material with ease? Books?
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Polyclod » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:20 am

Hi :) 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!
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Star Trek The Next Generation Tod im Winter: 82 / 348

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Polyclod
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby Polyclod » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:23 am

Alright, weekly (?) update time.

No real huge changes here, I've been doing my daily shadowing of Assimil, reviewing my Anki deck, and consuming as much German-language material as possible. I guess if there has been any change it's been my media consumption habits: I've hardly watched any TV at all, and have spent more time reading and listening to audio books. Right now I'm listening to the audio book version of Der Wüstenplanet
Frank-Herbert-Dune-1-Der-Wüsten-Planet-Teil-1-Copy.jpg
Frank-Herbert-Dune-1-Der-Wüsten-Planet-Teil-1-Copy.jpg (21.36 KiB) Viewed 1280 times
.

That's right: Jürgen Prochnow is one of the readers, the same actor that played Duke Leto Atreides in David Lynch's unfortunate film version of Dune. And the audio book version is excellent, I can't recommend it enough. I have all of the original Dune cycle in German audio book form and will keep listening to them as much as I can...it's addictive!

I'm also still reading Die Nebel von Avalon, and really enjoying it, although it seems so long and dense that sometimes it feels like I'm not making any progress at all!

That's it for now, I've been pretty busy getting everything ready to move into my new house so it's been hectic but hopefully once I'm all settled in I can get some actual production work started, preferably writing practice but also speaking. Bis dann!
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Re: Die schönste Sprache der Welt (German log)

Postby pir » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:49 am

Jürgen Prochnow -- das soll sich wirklich lohnen! Normalerweise mag ich Audiobooks nur für L-R, aber das ist sehr verlockend.
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