WildGinger's Deutsch log

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WildGinger10
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WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:07 am

Hey Universe! One of my resolutions was to start a log for my German studies. I will make a longer intro post hopefully later tonight when I am on my laptop and not my tablet, but I wanted to make this first post to get the ball rolling.

Started the 5th book in the Dino Lernt Deutsch graded reader series, put the audiobook on in my car and it's been a struggle to understand. I will have to go through it again with the book open in front of me to read along, I expect. Hopefully I can listen to the whole book once by tonight and maybe start my second read-through tomorrow.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby SGP » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:09 am

Some tips for a "late beginner - active learner":

- Don't worry about the four cases too much. English used to be a Noun Case Language, too. And even today, they still exist in disguise. "Mine" means "of me", this is similar to the German Genitive. "This forum's" is a Genitive, too, indicated by the apostrophe and the S.
And in sentences like "he eats some toast while being on the coast without talking to the TV show's host", there are several examples of cases, too.
(Colorized and color-coded. Red belongs to red, even if there is some orange in between.)

- The grammatical genders aren't necessarily the same as the biological ones (if applicable). Yes, it is "der Mann" and "die Frau". But "the girl" is "das Mädchen". And inanimate objects can have any (specific) grammatical gender. This is simply about tradition and Germanic lingustical heritage.

- It really is helpful to be able to at least recognize irregular verbs. But it could have some advantages to mainly focus on those particular verb forms that already occurred in whatever you are reading or listening to. This is what I have been doing when learning some more irregular Spanish verbs, and it greatly reduced the workload. So sometimes, I only learned e.g. a certain past tense form of "I" or "you", while omitting the same tense's form of "he/she" or "you (plural)", because it didn't occur yet in my learning materials.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:04 pm

Thanks for the tips, SGP. Always nice to hear from native German speakers.

The story so far:

I went to Hamburg for work almost exactly one year ago. It was my first time out of America and my first exposure to the German language. I immediately decided I needed to learn enough German to get around the city (even though nearly everybody speaks English) and started the Duolingo English-to-German course (no time, with work, to take a "proper" class). As I fell more and more in love with the city, the country, and the people I was working with, I realized that I needed to learn the language to full fluency. I asked questions and spoke with my colleagues about German, and did my Duolingo courses with them when I could. But the mobile app doesn't actually teach the RULES of German, just drills. So for the next 6 months I blindly navigated 1/2-3/4 of the tree with my only help being from native speakers (who are not teachers).

When I returned home in July I quickly completed the rest of the tree - but on the web browser this time. I went back and retaught myself the grammar basics, much of which I kind of already knew (from what had been - sometimes poorly - explained to me). But in finishing the Duolingo tree, even after significant review, I found that I had nearly no language abilities. (I am also expecting, at any moment, to be whisked back to Germany, or more likely some other city in America, so starting a "proper" class right now is a time commitment I am not sure I can make.)

So I went online and started researching hard. I picked up a few books on the subject of language learning, bought a ton of grammar, vocab, and phrase books in German, downloaded Anki, joined this forum, and started again. Within a month my vocabulary increased exponentially. All of the literature and online resources suggested that I needed to start reading and listening to actual German texts, so I picked up the Dino Lernt Deutsch set and am slowly (too slowly, it's a resolution to really buckle down in 2019 - hence this log) working through the texts and audiobooks. My understanding of spoken conversational German has increased dramatically over the last few months (even after joining this forum), simply with the help of these readers.

What now?

Right now I'm pleased with my progress but I am still not at a level where I can watch children's television without significant hardship (a LOT of Sesamstraße is on YouTube), so I want to improve my comprehension so that I can start with the TV world, and from there hopefully upgrade to regular books written for children or young adults. Right now my comprehension is probably around 30%-40% of such material, if LingQ is a reliable litmus, so those materials are far too much of a struggle at the moment to be useful quite yet. But I'm almost there. Just got to climb to the next stair.

The other thing is that I have almost no speaking practice anymore. I understand that speech isn't required for language acquisition, but as I am trying to learn to communicate with German speakers, not just understand when it's spoken to me, it is important for me. I'm not sure that I'm at a level to start working with a tutor but speaking and writing in German is something I need to start doing again. I am thinking of revisiting the Duolingo tree to review the rules again, refresh the way words decline and conjugate in specific sentences, and then start... something. Maybe I'll write periodically.

Ein bisschen Deutsch: Ohne übersetzen oder bearbeiten, hier ist mein Deutsch. Besser als nicht, aber ich habe noch viel schwerigkeit. Es gibt sehr viel Arbeit und Zeit, dass kann ich nur dies schreiben.

This year I will also return to Germany, either with new work or on my own, and will pursue more language learning there. Not sure where yet, but I'm leaning towards the West as I want to live in a city where most people speak dialectless Hochdeutsch, possibly Köln or Düsseldorf.

This week:

Work actively, every day, on these Dino Lernt Deutsch graded readers, without moving forward until I understand them at maybe 80% or 90%, and work through the remaining 3 or 4 I have left. Hopefully I can manage all of that by the end of the week, though it will require more time every day from me.

Today:

Finish listening to Ahoy aus Hamburg and replay the audiobook with the text open in front of me, working through the new vocabulary as I go. Hoping to get through the first 4 or 5 stories this way tonight.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby SGP » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:32 pm

WildGinger10 wrote:Thanks for the tips, SGP. Always nice to hear from native German speakers.
Gerne geschehen.

As for things I have a strong passion for, and they also include Sprachen,
well, as a matter of fact, I do enjoy hinting at this and also at that from time to time.
This feels to me like watching the movements of a High Sky Drachen [*],
But as a grown-up, it instead is a game with a purpose, like coining this very rhyme.


[*] Drachen: kite. (Drache: dragon).

Some people like being corrected ;), especially when there also is a bit of background information on "why to say it like this rather than like that?", while others might prefer not to.

Now what would be your preference?
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:50 am

SGP wrote:Some people like being corrected ;), especially when there also is a bit of background information on "why to say it like this rather than like that?", while others might prefer not to.

Now what would be your preference?


I prefer to be corrected on my mistakes, that way hopefully I won't make the mistake again in the future (inevitably I will, but eventually I will KNOW it's wrong and I won't get into a pattern of THINKING it's correct - until eventually I've internalized the correction altogether).

I wrote the German in order to give an idea of where my language abilities are at the moment, but feel free to correct it - I'm sure it doesn't quite communicate what I'm trying to say and is full of errors.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:00 pm

Haven't had a great few days, the non-language learning life has been a bit crazy and I haven't managed to find time to do much. Ugh. Gonna put on my audiobooks for a few hours today while I make a long drive, hopefully get some good listening in if nothing else.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby SGP » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:19 pm

Since you agreed to your Deutsch being corrected, here are some small corrections.
Important: Whenever I wouldn't say anything about some other words (even if I quote them as well), this simply means that I keep silent ;). I.e. not saying anything like "right" or "wrong".

WildGinger10 wrote:Ein bisschen Deutsch: Ohne übersetzen oder bearbeiten, hier ist mein Deutsch. Besser als nicht, aber ich habe noch viel schwerigkeit. Es gibt sehr viel Arbeit und Zeit, dass kann ich nur dies schreiben.

"Besser als nicht" --> "Besser als nichts".
"nicht" means not, and "nichts" means nothing.

"viel schwerigkeit" --> "viele Schwierigkeiten"

- "schwer" means difficult or heavy. But "difficulty" is "Schwierigkeit". They are related, no doubt, but there still is a different spelling.

- Capitalization, because it is a noun.

- "Difficulty" in this context would be pluralized.

- "viele" because of the plural.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:34 pm

1/13/19

Been stuck in LA for a few days and I've been taking as much time as possible to review my readers. Relistened to all of them at least once, some of them several times, and read through one as well. About to take some more time to read through another one that is new to me and give it a listen.

It's really hard to judge exactly what I am or am not retaining from reading every day. I'm thinking about starting up Anki again, which I haven't touched in a while, and trying to incorporate some of the newer vocabulary that I'm struggling to remember, as well as some phrases, etc. The last time I moved to complex vocabulary in Anki I struggled greatly, but I really felt that my initial work in Anki was reeeeally useful. So maybe starting that again will be productive.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like I really just need to be in Germany. Not sure when the right time to move there will be. Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of moving there the first time, so maybe it's just on my mind more right now.
Last edited by WildGinger10 on Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby WildGinger10 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:39 pm

SGP wrote:"Besser als nicht" --> "Besser als nichts".
"nicht" means not, and "nichts" means nothing.


Achso! Yes, I should have known that.

SGP wrote:"viel schwerigkeit" --> "viele Schwierigkeiten"

...

- "Difficulty" in this context would be pluralized.


This one I did not know. Thanks!

I'm surprised there was nothing wrong with my final sentence, as I assumed that would be a huge mess of word-salad that didn't really convey my meaning. But hey, maybe I'm better at this than I kmow!

Vielen Dank for the corrections!
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Re: WildGinger's Deutsch log

Postby SGP » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:24 am

First of all, I really do like reading about anyone's Deutsch learning progress from time to time. Some people never had the chance of learning, e.g., German as a second language, because it is their first. So they never were able to experience what, for example, WildGinger currently is experiencing. But at least they can read a bit about it.

In addition, when I was reading your log, I did realize once again that there are people who can learn German more easily (like you, I'd say) than others. There are others who really struggle trying to remember the most basic words while also speaking and writing in a way that really is incomprehensible. But that is understandable, too, I am not criticizing them or anything like that.

As for what you wrote, I am able to comprehend it without even doing any additional thinking. And if I would be able to make some sentences like yours in some of my pre-A1 languages, I would be a much more advanced learner of them than I am right now.

WildGinger10 wrote:I'm surprised there was nothing wrong with my final sentence, as I assumed that would be a huge mess of word-salad that didn't really convey my meaning. But hey, maybe I'm better at this than I kmow!
Well... maybe I would just quote myself. Because there was something at the beginning of my post that I definitely liked to include in it as well.
SGP wrote:Important: Whenever I wouldn't say anything about some other words (even if I quote them as well), this simply means that I keep silent ;). I.e. not saying anything like "right" or "wrong".
So what I was trying to say is: Sometimes I could quote some German sentences written by another person. Then I would correct some words and phrases, while not saying anything about the rest. If I do so, this doesn't mean that I call them wrong of course, but it also doesn't necessarily mean that I call them right either. Instead, it is about being silent only :). I have various reasons for doing so.

Some of them are:

- If it is something very small only, then I would prefer not to correct it all the time (but sometimes only).
- Sometimes I would have to think for a rather long time about the question of "is this a plain error, or simply an uncommon way of expressing oneself?"
- Some sentences might require a bit of rephrasing or starting over.

As for your final sentence, well, it belonged to the third category. But I nevertheless understood it without even pausing for a few moments to grasp its meaning. And there are countless persons (who even live in Germany) who use something like it, or even something more not-entirely-Hochdeutsch in their daily life over and over, but the others still are able to understand them and to respond to whatever they say. Yes, there also could be a few who would state / "claim" not understanding them. But in that case, I really would wonder if they aren't able to do so (this could apply in some cases, no doubt), or if they simply are a bit, no offense to them, but "denkfaul" ;).

Vielen Dank for the corrections!
Gerne.
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