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German textbooks?

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German textbooks?

Postby ferrous » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:21 am

I apologize for the off-topicness, but I find myself with an interest in German of late, and since the only German speakers I know are native ones, I'm forced to turn to Textkit for advice. I'm assuming that at least some Textkit members study German? Does anyone know of good textbooks and resources for German?
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Re: German textbooks?

Postby helios » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:51 pm

But in the open forum there is no off topic, right? Besides, all good philologists know French and German anyway.

Do you want to speak German or read it or speak/read/write? My situation is that I spoke some at home as a young 'un but couldn't read much of it. While deciding what to do, I thought I'd work on my spoken as well. So here are the resources I have used.

FSI Basic---If you're not familiar with this course, it's an intensive course created by the US Government to get diplomats and consulate workers up to speed in the target languages. The drills are fantastic and it's free, bro...FREE! http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content ... an%20Basic

Reading For German Knowledge by Hubert Jannach. I bought mine used for like $6 on ebay. It has a section of reading the old gothic typeface Fraktur, which is important for my interests.

Essential German Verb Drills by Ed Swick. I always go for the verbs and learn the system first.

If you want an tape and book with vocabulary set that works well, the Living Language series has worked well for me in the past.

I don't know how you best learn, but I need tons of audio practice. I like to watch movies in my target language and watch it without subtitles. If I do watch it with subtitles in subsequent viewings, I will do it with the subtitles turned on in my target language. And words I just can't figure out by context I will write down and look up when the film is done.

I know a French woman who learned English pretty darned well by means of this method.
Keep it rill.
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Re: German textbooks?

Postby spiphany » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:17 pm

I like a book called "Deutsche Sprachlehre für Ausländer" by Schulz and Griesbach. It's an older course, but still in print in Germany & you should be able to easily find used copies online.

Also check out the following websites:
http://userweb.port.ac.uk/~joyce1/abinitio/ (online German course from Paul Joyce at the University of Portsmouth)
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,2547,00.html (German audio courses in podcast form from the radio station Deutsche Welle)

For beginning-level readers you can check out
Hannelore and William Crossgrove's "Graded German Reader" and Heinz Thorn's "Beginner's German Reader"
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: German textbooks?

Postby ferrous » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:18 pm

Thank you both! Those resources look very helpful, and I'll try to grab a few of the books. My primary interest is in reading and writing, but I won't turn down an opportunity to learn how to speak as well, and I've found that listening to audio courses tend to help me more than staring at text. :p

May I ask why you favor "Deutsche Sprachlehre für Ausländer", spiphany?

The FSI Basic is looking very promising, not only for German but for getting my Chinese up to speed. I wish I had managed to find the link on my own, earlier.
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Re: German textbooks?

Postby spiphany » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:10 am

Why do I recommend Schulz & Griesbach? Well, ultimately, because it fits my learning preferences...

I should add the disclaimer that I did not learn German from this text -- I was already pretty fluent when I came across it -- but I have used it on occasion when tutoring self-study students. It has an old-fashioned feel (and parts of it are probably pretty dated), and some people may dislike it for that reason, but exactly this "old-fashionedness" also provides some features I like.

What I like:
- It has a very ground-up approach. It starts with simple structures and vocabulary and builds on what has already been learned. The coverage of grammar is thorough and systematic. The readings use no grammar that has not been covered in the lesson. That is, it focuses on understanding how to put words together rather than blind memorization of conversational phrases.
- It's entirely in German with a glossary supplement, which means it can be used independent of your native language. Vocabulary is introduced somewhat inductively through readings.
- It's suitable for self-study students, and particularly for students who want to acquire reading/writing knowledge. The lessons are based on reading and grammar practice; there's very little of the communicative exercises which you see in modern textbooks and which are best suited for a classroom situation.

What it lacks: colloquial idiom and the kind of practical dialogues you're likely to need when communicating on vacation or a business trip in Germany.

I tend to use multiple textbooks, my personal method would be to get partway through Schulz & Griesbach then pick up something like Teach Yourself or Living language or one of the online courses I linked to for the conversational stuff, but of course it depends a lot on your learning style.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: German textbooks?

Postby helios » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:08 pm

ferrous wrote:The FSI Basic is looking very promising, not only for German but for getting my Chinese up to speed. I wish I had managed to find the link on my own, earlier.


I usually have the local Staples print the pdfs and bind them for me. The mp3s go on my iPod and then I'm off to the races. Lots of languages there, including some that might be considered exotic to a Westerner. Good luck!

spiphany wrote:I tend to use multiple textbooks, my personal method would be to get partway through Schulz & Griesbach then pick up something like Teach Yourself or Living language or one of the online courses I linked to for the conversational stuff, but of course it depends a lot on your learning style.


I am the same way---sometimes one textbook muddies a point that another makes much clearer. Always best to have a good amount of resources on hand. The more the merrier.
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