German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

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Speakeasy
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:25 pm

@David1917, most of the reading resources that I listed above were conceived with a view to assisting the student make the difficult transition from handling the basics of spoken German, which is often acquired through exposure to CEFR A1-A2 materials in the classroom, to being able to read, analyze, and discuss a selection of standard texts drawn from German literature. The texts vary in difficulty from B1 through C2. Upon completion, the advancing student should be able to read most native materials fairly comfortably, assuming that he/she continues to engage actively with the language. However, from my own experience in studying German, and as frequently expressed by the authors of these types of textbooks in the preface/introduction, the student will likely continue encountering elements of vocabulary, idiom, and structure requiring more study. In preparation for reading more difficult texts, my approach has been to read through collections of the more advanced bilingual readers and to "butt my head" against some of the more difficult texts in the original.

Your question concerning what level of preparation the above selections might offer a student who wishes to read the works of the great German philosophers is quite valid. I would say that, even if one were to read absolutely everything listed above, including a good deal more, approaching such works would still represent a significant challenge … even in translation! That is, the works of the great philosophers were simply not written for the benefit of the average person who would likely find them quite impenetrable. The problem of comprehensibility does not necessarily lie in the vocabulary or the idioms deployed in these types of works. Rather, the concepts themselves (and the sentence structures used to express them) are highly impermeable to a genuine and deep understanding by the average Joe. I have to admit to shying away from the works of the great philosophers, be they German, French, English, Russian, or whatever. Having been born for “un petit pain”, I see no value in discouraging, or even humiliating, myself. ;)

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David1917
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby David1917 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:03 pm

Speakeasy wrote:I would say that, even if one were to read absolutely everything listed above, including a good deal more, approaching such works would still represent a significant challenge … even in translation! That is, the works of the great philosophers were simply not written for the benefit of the average person who would likely find them quite impenetrable. The problem of comprehensibility does not necessarily lie in the vocabulary or the idioms deployed in these types of works. Rather, the concepts themselves (and the sentence structures used to express them) are highly impermeable to a genuine and deep understanding by the average Joe.


Yes, the concepts are definitely reasons that, even were to I to reach a "C2" level of reading German, I would still keep a translation and commentary by my side.

The part I put in bold regarding the sentence structures is something I am especially concerned with - as the way German sentences are constructed is a little quirky in itself for the English speaker; should they cover lofty topics and take up several lines of text before resolving to an appropriate verb, I foresee some periods of confusion.

Nonetheless, I will go ahead and proceed with some of these recommendations, specifically Dichter, Denker und Erzaehler and Modernes Deutschland in Brennpunkt, not only for their C-level assessments by yourself, but also by the contents being more of the essay/historical type than the storytelling type, though Was Deutsche Lesen might offer a nice reprieve somewhere in there!

Thank you for the tips. I think I'll order the first course shortly.
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Speakeasy
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:22 pm

David1917 wrote: ... The part I put in bold regarding the sentence structures is something I am especially concerned with - as the way German sentences are constructed is a little quirky in itself for the English speaker; should they cover lofty topics and take up several lines of text before resolving to an appropriate verb, I foresee some periods of confusion...
A couple of years ago, the "New York Review of Books" published an extract from article that one of my favourite British historians/lecturers had written (damned if I can remember his name!). The extract was one sentence and it covered over two printed pages! In my opinion, the concepts would have posed no difficulty to the average native reader, but the sentence structure was a bit of a bear. The difficulty with the works of the major philosophers is that both the concepts and the sentence structure are frightfully difficult, even in translation. Not for the faint-of-heart!
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:36 pm

Freidrich Durrenmatt. The first novel they had us read as university German students was Der Besuch der Alten Damen and the second was Das Versprechen. These books are on the accessible side of actual German literature. Das Versprechen is also just a really good book. It like to read more of him someday.
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby David1917 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:11 am

Just an update - I saw a copy of Dichter, Denker und Erzähler for 7 USD on Thriftbooks and decided to roll the dice (since they cost 60 new/30 used on Amazon) with a quality descriptor of "Good." Well, it came today and it is in certainly good condition - no markings/tears, etc. just normal wear.

I must say this book is a beast and I cannot wait to get working on it. The introduction mentioned that the glossary includes all of the words used in the book save for numbers, pronouns, etc. I checked and yes, words like Nacht and gut, which might certainly be expected to be known thoroughly by anyone having spent a few months learning German, were included. The glossary runs 172 pages, at roughly 60 words per page giving a grand total of 10,320.

The format is also ideal - each page has some relevant vocabulary words at the bottom, rather than other readers that put vocabulary lists at the end of each reading and require you to flip back and forth. Very convenient.

Thank you for this recommendation, truly one of the best readers I've seen.
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:42 pm

Deutschland : Grundwissen und mehr … Comprendre l’Allemagne et sa civilisation (2e edition, 2018) by Gabriele Padberg-Jeanjean, ©Armand Colin (Dunod Éditeur), Malakoff.

What to do, where to post?
I was torn between filing this review under the “German Resources” thread, the “German Study Group” thread, and this particular thread covering reading materials for advancing students of German. As this book would seem to fall within the category of works presented above, and as it is a particularly current work, I decided that this would be the better place to post the notice.

You can “bank on” aravinda’s recommendations!
At the beginning of the month, aware that I am always on the look-out for solid materials for the study of German, member aravinda very kindly brought this title to my attention. I didn’t bother asking him why, I simply ordered it. And, I’d glad I did! Thank you, aravinda!

Why This Book?
This book is a collection of remarkably well-written articles on Germany society and civilization. Very briefly then, this book begins with a review of the history of the German state from the middle of the 19th century and traces the cultural and societal developments to the present day. For anyone who is presently somewhere around the intermediate level of study and who wishes to expand his vocabulary and his appreciation of German society THIS IS the book!

Level?
The author suggests that the audience would be first and second year students in applied language studies or individuals pursuing their own studies of German. Having quickly skimmed over a number of the articles, I was left with the impression that the level required for reading this tome would be intermediate; that is, roughly CEFR B1-B2.

German, not French, nor English
Although the author provides very brief commentaries on many of the articles (highlighted in blue) along with a few annotations (in German) to assist the reader, there is NO “hand holding” in this book. It does not fall into the category of bilingual intermediate level textbooks. A glossary is not provided. Even a good command of French won’t help you, you’re simply own your own. Still, the intermediate level and the exposure to so much material on German society and civilization make this a great resource for the student.

Where to buy?
The LINK below, which aravinda kindly provided, is but one source (it permits a quick peek at the book’s contents). You can find copies of the book just about anywhere on the internet.

Armand Colin (Dunod Éditeur) -- publisher
https://www.armand-colin.com/deutschland-grundwissen-und-mehr-2e-ed-comprendre-lallemagne-et-sa-civilisaton-9782200623555

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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby jeffers » Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:33 pm

Speakeasy wrote:Der Spiegel: Aktuel Themen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1993) by Helene Zimmer-Loew et al -- National Textbook Company
This 160-page book, published entirely in German, contains annotated extracts from the well-known German magazine, Der Spiegel. Sold as a book or as book plus three audio cassettes. Although not really a course of instruction, it does serve as an excellent supplementary source of reading material at the upper-intermediate and lower-advanced levels.


This appears to be the only book in the list of suggestions that included audio, although only on cassette. Could anyone suggest any German readers at the upper-intermediate level which include audio?

Two possibilities come to mind:
1) DW, which has intermediate-advanced material which includes audio and transcripts,
2) Easier novels which have audiobooks.

Are there any other suggestions? Any specific novel/audiobook combination recommendations? Does anyone have access to the audio for Der Spiegel: Aktuel Themen?
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Chung » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:56 pm

jeffers wrote:
Speakeasy wrote:Der Spiegel: Aktuel Themen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1993) by Helene Zimmer-Loew et al -- National Textbook Company
This 160-page book, published entirely in German, contains annotated extracts from the well-known German magazine, Der Spiegel. Sold as a book or as book plus three audio cassettes. Although not really a course of instruction, it does serve as an excellent supplementary source of reading material at the upper-intermediate and lower-advanced levels.


This appears to be the only book in the list of suggestions that included audio, although only on cassette. Could anyone suggest any German readers at the upper-intermediate level which include audio?

Two possibilities come to mind:
1) DW, which has intermediate-advanced material which includes audio and transcripts,
2) Easier novels which have audiobooks.

Are there any other suggestions? Any specific novel/audiobook combination recommendations? Does anyone have access to the audio for Der Spiegel: Aktuel Themen?


I can't think of a graded reader in German with audio (nor have I seen one). Along the lines of your suggestions about DW (plenty of choices) and conventional books with Hörbücher (audiobooks) in relatively simple German / German for kids (e.g. Der kleine Nick: Die besten Geschichten, DIE ZEIT - Der große Hörspaß (27 CD): 12 Kinderhörbücher - a boxset of 12 audiobooks for German kids), you could also try a couple of freebies of texts with audio:

- Deutsch-to-go.de - Hörtexte für Deutschlerner: It's rather like that section on DW with short non-fiction articles read aloud. Texts are of varying difficulty and beginners would probably do best with "Hörtexte A (einfach)".
- François Loeb - Kurzgeschichten: This is the website of a Swiss author and former politician who reads aloud his own short stories whose texts are available also in .pdf. From what I can tell this is probably better for advanced students despite the texts' brevity. It's basically a 79-year old reading his own texts and this could take some getting used to because of age-related characteristics in pronunciation and enunciation which also reveal a bit of a Swiss accent. He's certainly not the typical native speaker of German whom you'd hear reading lines of a dialogue or narrative in a textbook.
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby jeffers » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:28 pm

Chung wrote:I can't think of a graded reader in German with audio (nor have I seen one).


Just for the sake of keeping this thread complete, I will mention that I am aware of two series of self-published graded readers that have audio as well:

Brian Smith http://www.briansmith.de/ has a series with three "Easy Readers", one "Pre-intermediate Reader", three Intermediate reader and one called "German Power Reader". All of them are available as printed books or on Kindle, and the audio is downloadable for free from his website (even without purchase!)

André Klein has a series of books called Learn German with Stories which are also available on paperback or on Kindle. The audio for these is found on Audible, so it may cost extra to have the audio.
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Speakeasy
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Re: German: Improving Reading Skills (Intermediate and Advanced)

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Mar 04, 2020 9:21 pm

Chung wrote:I can't think of a graded reader in German with audio (nor have I seen one).
jeffers wrote: Just for the sake of keeping this thread complete, I will mention that I am aware of two series of self-published graded readers that have audio as well: Brian Smith … André Klein.
First, please allow me to apologize for the late reply. Second, I concur with Herr Chung (Chung is King!). Going further, ...

My collection of German materials extends over four floor-to-ceiling bookcases and it includes the Brian Smith and André Klein series of graded readers. While Messrs. Smith, Klein, as well as many other authors, have done a great service to students of German by crafting their respective series, in my opinion, their highest level offerings do not qualify as being “advanced” in the sense as “Der Spiegel: Aktuel Themen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“ which was a rather rare and unique item. Save for this item, I do not recall coming across a series of graded German readers replete with audio recordings which would fall into the C1-C2 range.

La Spiga Languages is one of a few publishers which offers graded readers all the way up to the C1-C2 range. These are, for the most part, extracts from 19th classic literature; however, the higher-level readers do not come with audio recordings.

I agree with Chung that searches for audio books on Amazon.DE and elsewhere will yield a great deal of material; the choices are almost limitless. When I was at the Intermediate level in German, my approach was to purchase a German audio book and a German translation of a popular English-language novel along with a copy of the original, thereby creating a set of matched higher-level parallel-ish readers. However, while the audio books and translated books are designed for native-speakers of German, I will admit that the level rarely moves into the C1 range. That is, while I do not want to start a debate, in my opinion, Harrey Potter, the whole fantasy genre, crime novels, et cetera, do not fall within the C1-C2 range.

Two sources of freely-available audio books with transcripts are Librivox and Loyal Books (formerly Books Should Be Free. The materials are in the public domain and, for the most part, are drawn from 19th century classical literature. Although the volunteer readers are not voice-trained, and although the works themselves might not meet the tastes of the average millennial, they do offer the advancing student an opportunity to develop their aural skills at the upper levels.

While the practice sets on DLI GLOSS and NFLC: University of Maryland are not graded readers per se, they do offer the student a broad range of materials up to and including the more advanced levels.

Free Audio Books
From the "Master List of Resources" file.
reineke wrote:
German
Vorleser.net 750+ free German audiobooks in professional quality https://www.vorleser.net/
https://freiszene.de/hoerspiele/
theateraufcd.de Das Literatur- und Hörbuchportal (down) http://www.theateraufcd.de/
ARD Hörspiele http://www.ardmediathek.de/radio/H%C3%B6rspiele/mehr?documentId=21301890
Projekt Gutenberg-DE (German ebooks) http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/

Other
Speech Repository
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/
Radio Garden (Brun Ungle)
http://radio.garden/live/
Audio-Lingua - a collaborative bank of authentic audio resources, recorded by native speakers
http://www.audio-lingua.eu/?lang=en
Backbone multilingual corpus
English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Turkish
Audio and transcripts. http://projects.ael.uni-tuebingen.de/backbone/moodle/
ListeningPractice.org http://listeningpractice.org/
Currently, there are 47.000 exercises and 62 texts on the site in 15 languages (see them below) using native recordings from Tatoeba.org and Librivox.org.

Audiria.com - Aprende español con audiotextos gratuitos http://www.audiria.com/capitulos.php

Maria Lectrix public domain audiobook podcast – for people with catholic tastes
https://marialectrix.wordpress.com/

Project Gutenberg (etexts) https://www.gutenberg.org/

http://www.bookcrossing.com/

Podcasts
This would appear to leave the world of Podcasts for which transcripts are available.
lisat wrote:Hi there, I've launched a podcast for intermediate and advanced German learners who would like to improve their understanding of spoken German and learn common informal words and phrases. For each episode, I interview several of my friends on a specific subject. You can check out the podcast under any of the following links:

https://soundcloud.com/spokengerman

https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/s ... 1491678349

https://open.spotify.com/show/16OnQNwEii4YcnEP9r20XD

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp3KL- ... lu3VA-wRmg

The transcripts can be found on my website, http://www.spokengerman.net/resources/podcast

Hope you'll enjoy it! :-)


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