University of Victoria's German for Beginners is one of the first online-courses. 1996-10
The Internet Handbook of Grammar provides an introduction to the fundamentals of German grammar (intended for beginning students)...
...so does the German Grammar site 1996-10
The newsletter Der Weg and its associated website are a great resource for anybody who wants to learn German ‐ if you already know some German since it is entirely in German. It also has a very strong Christian slant.
Summary of experiences as reported by various readers of s.c.g (winter 95)
Courses and tapes recommended
Reading German as a means to learning spoken German was high on everyone's list. The following were recommended:
I am learning German in the US, and though I have the benefit of a German wife, she speaks such good English, that we never talk in German. I get children's books from the library (including picture dictionaries!), and I try to watch as much German TV as we get on cable: (Mind Extension University.) We also get the international channel, which has other German shows. Also, get a short wave radio and tune into Deutsche Welle, which broadcasts worldwide. I decided that it's like learning a language as a kid. Kids hear the language constantly, and absorb it all like sponges; kids don't even speak until they've been hearing a language for 12 to 24 months, so i figured I'd do the same, and did a lot of listening, so it would seep into my soul, and now, about a year later, I'm starting, with croaking voice, to speak, and it's fun.
I learned German as an adult through a language 'school' called Inlingua (they're like Berlitz). They offer instruction by native speaking teachers and it is taught by 'total immersion', i.e., only German is spoken in class. This is the best method to learn although it can be expensive (my company picked up the tab). If taking a formal class such as I did is not an option, I strongly suggest that while you are learning German through tapes, community college courses, etc., take every opportunity you can to speak German. In the car, to spouse/kids/partner/ roommate, family, or even to yourself. I would come home from class and tell my wife, in German, what I learned in class or did at work that day. I got some strange looks, but it really helped me to start thinking in German. When you start dreaming in German, you'll know you making good progress.
I have had German exchange students, and have had great experiences with them. I would not recommend them as a way to learn German, however, as they are interested only in speaking English.
I learned to speak German in a small village outside a city that had itself a rather böse dialect. I learned the local platt, and found that I got on better with that than I did with my attempts at high German. When speaking dialect I was always mistaken for someone from a farm town over the next hill, however on the rare occasions when I tried to speak High German, I was spotted immediately as an Ami.
I've had good experiences renting from the German Language Video Center (see Audio / Video Tapes.) They also sell documentaries from Deutsche Welle TV for US$16.95, which I think is the same price Deutsche Welle sells them for. You can also get the documentaries on some PBS (Public Broadcasting System) stations - in the San Francisco area, channel 60 broadcast two episodes of Schauplatz Deutschland starting last night at 11 p.m. It's in German with English subtitles.1995-3
After I had gotten somewhat into the basics of the language, I started to read books that I had already read in Norwegian. This enabled me to keep most of my mind on the language, since I already knew what the story was.
In addition to this, it would come in handy if you can listen to German on the radio, and after some time, and practice, you should of course go to Germany for a month or three.
NB: When going to Germany, go alone! I was in Germany once, travelling with a group of other Norwegians, and whenever we were two or more Norwegians in one spot, we would speak Norwegian. I therefore made it a rule for myself to keep away from my fellow travellers as much as possible. Otherwise I would not have gotten full benefit of my stay.
The origins of the German language are quite manifold as various peoples have influenced it throughout history. Conversely, there is an impressive variety of expressions for the meaning of the adjective German in those languages.
The notorious Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze in all its possible extensions is often cited as evidence how the German language uniquely burdens all non-native speakers with what seems to be nothing but curious absurdities.
What do you know? English, does not, either, regard this type of word as excessively sesquipedalian...Richard Lederer (in Crazy English) tells us that even antidisestablishmentarianism is not very hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian. -- Hmm? Oh, German words are simply concatenated? Well, that, as well, is not that unique. Ponder, for instance, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis ... it is not to be floccinaucinihilipilificated!
Really, very very very (...you get the picture) long words are not used in German, despite their possibility -- anything comprised of more than two parts (like Gedanken-anstoß) is rare. 1996-07
The most widely accepted authoritative answers to questions about the German language are provided by the
Sprachberatungsstelle der Dudenredaktion, Postfach 100311, 68003 Mannheim, Germany, tel +49(0621)39014261996-03
Oh my -- there are so many...and yet, there are so few, compared to the rest of all the English language. English has been influenced by so(!) many languages, that each makes but a more or less insignifcant portion of the whole. (Hope I don't insult any Latin speakers;-)
As languages do so often (except for esperanto, I am told;-) I shall define a few arbitrary categories under which to collect some of those words. (Apply the usual "include, but are not limited to"...)
Also, it should be noted that many of these words are of Yiddish origin -- according to Webster's dictionary, which I shall take as the definitive reference. Yiddish and German have had a somewhat symbiotic relationship over the centuries, with German words making it into Yiddish (e.g., Scheitel, Geld) and Yiddish words of differing origins being added to German ; in both cases, Yiddish is the link between quite a few German and English words.
angst, blitz, bratwurst, geld, gestalt, gesundheit, hinterland, kaffeeklatsch, kindergarten, rucksack, sauerkraut, schadenfreude, umlaut, wanderlust, weltanschauung, weltschmerz
ansatz, bremsstrahlung, eigen- (value, vector), entgegen and zusammen, leitmotiv, reststrahlen, umklapp process, zwitterion
affenpinscher, deutsche mark, doberman pinscher, festschrift, gegenschein, groschen, kaffeeklatsch, kirsch, kitsch, meerschaum, putsch, putschist, schilling, schlemiel, schlep(pen), schlieren, schmaltz, schnaps, schnauzer, schnitzel, schnorkel, schnorrer, schnozzle, schorl, schottische, schuss (Skiabfahrt), schwarmerei, tusche, wiener schnitzel,
blitzkrieg, ersatz, katzenjammer, kibbutz, kibitz, kibitzer, pretzel seltzer, sitz bath, sitzkrieg, sitzmark, spitz, switzer, waltz
Challenge your German pronunciation skills with these...
Not strictly tongue twisters, more brain benders:
Platt is the kind of German spoken mainly in northwestern Germany. It is almost ununderstandable to people who only speak "high" German, since it is very similar to Dutch and English; indeed, the transitions between many Germanic languages are rather fluid and Platt is part of the fluid link between Dutch and German.
FOLKHART is an ongoing project of a group of American (mostly Midwestern) descendants of Northwest German immigrants whose ancestral language is/was Low German (Plattdeutsch); it was founded to provide an online vehicle to help to learn/preserve/share/promote Platt (Low German). Sacred Seasons and other classical texts present introductory Plattdeutsch language as well as North German culture.
There is also an adjunct project called WIND-MILL online. 1998-02
This email forum discusses those germanic languages and cultures that originated from costal areas around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, including Frisian, Dutch, Lower Saxon, Afrikaans, and more.
To subscribe to the listserver...
send email To: firstname.lastname@example.org with body subscribe lowlands-lFor more information email H.A.Y. Wolf 1996-1
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