Tips For Learning A New Language

I have been rather sloppy at maintaining Mosel Musings over the last year and please accept my sincere apologies for that. I will spare you the excuses even though I do have my personal reasons for the absence. I also promised some time ago to give a review of the language courses I did last year and sadly I still have not got around to that, but they will happen as soon as I get more time.

However, a colleague is thinking of moving to another country and today I was chatting to her about my language learning experiences. I gave her several pointers of the things I found most helpful and I thought some of the readers of Mosel Musings might also find them useful if they are learning German or indeed any other language.

So, without further ado, here are my tips for language learning novices: Continue reading

My German Learning Progress – Update

Well, that is week one of my two-week intensive German studies over, and it has been one of the busiest weeks of my life.

I am staying in the beautiful home of the teacher (actually, she is the school owner) and her husband, and each day comprises one-on-one lessons from 9am to around 4pm. Meals are taken with the family, and free time is also spent predominantly with them.

Being private tuition as opposed to class based lessons, the programme is tailored to my particular needs, and in my case it is a combination of grammar, phonetics and comprehension. Of course, I am finding the German grammar the hardest element to get to grips with, but also the fact that the entire day is pretty much solid German means I am feeling mentally exhausted quite often and on occasions emotionally drained too. The latter was a surprise to me – on Wednesday evening I just felt like jelly and incredibly homesick to the point where I thought to myself “why the hell am I doing this?”. I think this was the result of exhaustion from the intensive studies and the fact that it started to hit me that all my efforts to date really have only lightly scratched the surface of the vast sphere of the German language. My teacher came to the rescue and after half an hour or so I was back on track and ready to face yet another German social gathering, but I have to admit there are still occasions when I really feel I need to be alone but cannot without appearing rude. Continue reading

My German Learning Progress…

I previously published a number of posts on everyone’s favourite subject – German language learning. It was my intention to embark on a combination of systematic and diligent self-study coupled with using various apps and other types of software to support my efforts. Here is an update on my progress… Continue reading

Ich Will Deutsch Lernen (I Want To Learn German)

My German learning progress has been rather sketchy over the last few months. Of course, I could blame it on work, travel, family commitments and the like but when I sit back and analyse it, that is utter rubbish as I still manage to find time to sit gawking at the telly. I suspect that is the case for many of us and sadly it is very easy to fall into the habit of staring aimlessly at some daft action movie than to challenge our intellects by studying a language.

In my defense however, my work has kept me overseas for extended periods of time, and therefore I neither need or even hear German that often, so the incentive to learn it has not really been there. Well, that is my argument and I’m sticking to it. However, my impending permanent move back to Germany has started to give me a bit of a kick up the rear end and I realise that I really do need to brush up on what I have learned already and start picking up new stuff.

So, in my panic, I came across another free learning resource which looks quite promising. It is a website called “Ich will Deutsch lernen” (i.e. “I want to learn German”) and is sponsored by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). It takes your from total beginner to level B1, and includes lots of real video footage so you will hear native speakers conversing. It also includes a 45 episode “websoap” called “Schnitzel und Dolmades”. As with most of these sites, you need to register to access the full content, but given it is free that is no hardship. If you feel uncomfortable with registering, it is easy enough to create another free email account and use that along with a false name, etc.

I will be giving it a try over the coming days (well, probably weeks knowing me) and will write my findings and opinions in future posts. If you are interested in giving it a go, the website is here and I would be interested to receive feedback from anyone else who tries it.

Language Learning Advice – From An Opera Singer

I just found a very useful webpage along with its partner website for those of you starting to learn or already learning German, or indeed any other language.

It is by a guy called Gabriel Wyner who is an opera singer and to help him in his job he taught himself to speak German, French and Italian fluently and in just a few years and is now attempting to learn Russian. Mr. Wyner gives simple. no-nonsense advice for normal human beings, something where many formalised language resources compiled by language teachers and ‘experts’ fail..

The introductory webpage which briefly states the method he uses to learn the languages can be found by clicking here, and his main website which offers some useful resources is here.

From English To Denglish To Deutsch

Following on from my previous posting titled “Sprechen Sie German”, I just want to give a bit of an update on my journey along the rocky road to speaking Deutsch.

As pointed out in the aforementioned posting, German happens to be one rather complicated languages to learn. Sure, it is far more phonetic than say English or French and that does reduce the likelihood of certain errors, but the grammar is mind boggling to say the least and much of the vocabulary totally unfamiliar. Continue reading

Sprechen Sie German? The Quest Continues…

I recently did a posting wherein I recommended some online German courses and an excellent app for iPads walled Duolingo. In my quest to increase my German knowledge and to help you guys along with it too, I have since discovered a website called “How To Learn German” which can be found here. Written by a 25 year old Danish guy, Peter, who speaks no fewer than five languages, this site offers plenty of no-nonsense advice on how to learn the language with limited resources. Continue reading