Orthodox Advice on Learning German

Thanks to Ken for this…

The problem with learning any new language is that it isn’t just one thing to learn; it is several quite distinct things that each must be mastered. You can have a perfect understanding of grammar but have to look up every other word in a dictionary. Or you can learn to speak fluently but not be able to read a sentence. Grammar, reading, writing, speaking, hearing–each is a distinct skill with plenty of overlap but not as much as one might expect. Each requires its own distinct strategies–and lots of practice–which can make learning a language very frustrating and time-consuming. I’ve studied eight languages now, and the only one I can claim to have mastered in all of these areas… is English. (here)

Resources for Learning German (Group to Assemble 14 June on Google+ – All are welcome)

Unique Traits of the German Alphabet:

  • More than 26 letters in the alphabet – German has a so called extended latin alphabet
  • The extra letters are ä, ö, ü and ß
  • The pronunciation of some of these letters do not exist in the English language
  • Several letters are pronounced more from the back of the throat: g, ch, r (though in Austria the r is trilled).
  • The W in German sounds like the V in English
  • The V in German sounds like the F in English
  • Most of the time the S in German sounds like Z in English when placed at the beginning of a word followed by a vowel.
  • The letter ß is the only letter that will never be at the beginning of a word.

    Click on the following letters to hear them pronounced. (Audio saved as .wav files.)

    Das Deutsche Alphabet/ The German Alphabet

    Buchstabe/ Letter Aussprache des Buchstabenamens/ Pronunciation of letter name Aussprache des Buchstaben – wie in/ Sound of Letter – as in Beispiele/ Examples
    A a ah astronaut der Adler (eagle), Januar(January)
    B b approximate: bay baby der Bruder (brother), aber (but)
    C c approximate: tsay creative, Celcius (soft c sound in German sounds likets) der Chor, der Christkindlmarkt(south German term for der Weihnachtsmarkt/ Christmas market), Celcius
    D d approximate: day dollar Dienstag (Tuesday), oder (or)
    E e approximate: ay elegant essen (to eat), zuerst (first)
    F f eff effort der Freund (friend), offen (open)
    G g approximate: gay gorgeous gut (good), gemein (mean)
    H h haa hammer der Hammer, dieMühle (mill)
    I i eeh Igor der Igel (porcupine), der Imbiss(snack), sieben (seven)
    J j yot yellow das Jahr (year), jeder (each)
    K k kah camel das Kamel, der Kuchen (cake)
    L l ell love die Leute (people), das Land(land)
    M m em man der Mann, die Ameise
    N n en nice nicht (not), die Münze (coin)
    O o oh oven Ostern (Easter),rot (red)
    P p approximate: pay party die Polizei (police), der Apfel
    Q q koo coral das Quadrat (square), die Quelle(source)
    Note: All German words start with qu (kw – sound)
    R r approximate: er rich der Rücken (the back), der Stern(star)
    S s es zoo, shine, mouse summen (to hum), schön (pretty, nice), die Maus
    T t approximate: tay tyrant der Tyrannacht (eight)
    U u ooh ou sound in you die Universität (university), derMund (mouth)
    V v fow father der Vogel (bird), die Nerven(nerves)
    W w approximate: vay van die Wange (cheek), das Schwein(pig, wieviel (how much)
    X x ix sounds like kz das Xylofon/ Xylophon, die Hexe(witch)
    Note: There are hardly any German words that start with X
    Y y uep-si-lohn yellow die Yucca, der Yeti
    Note: There are hardly any German words that start with Y.
    Z z tset sounds like ts die Zeitung (newspaper), derZigeuner (gypsy)

    Umlaut + ß

    Aussprache des Buchstaben/ Pronunciation of Letter Beispiele/ Examples
    ä sounds similar to the e in melon ähnlich (similar), gähnen (to yawn)
    ö sounds similar to the i in girl Österreich (Austria), der Löwe(lion)
    ü no equivalent nor approximate sound in English über (over),müde (tired)
    ß(esszet) double s sound heiß (hot),die Straße (street)
  • Learn more specifics of several German letters and their dipthongs in the following articles:
    Pronunciation Part 2
    Pronunciation Part 3
  • Starting to feel comfortable with German pronunciation? Put your pronunciation to the test with these Zungenbrecher (tongue twisters).
  • More pronunciation practice with these Alphabet Exercises.
Related Articles

Daily German Verse – 6/5

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, daß er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, auf daß alle, die an ihn glauben, nicht verloren werden, sondern das ewige Leben haben.

In the world of Google, it is difficult to say “guess.” But, try to read it first and see if you can figure it out.

Gott = God.

Welt = World

Leben = Life

Jim’s correct… Start reading the bible in German

For those who will be joining us next week to start our online German learning group, make sure you get a German bible. Youversion has several free ones online and on your mobile device.

Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Und die Erde war wüst und leer, und es war finster auf der Tiefe; und der Geist Gottes schwebte auf dem Wasser.

Guess what that is…

Resources and Answer Key for Learning German Quickly – First Google+ Hangout 14 June

Thanks to the person who sent me this.

Some of us, several of us, are planning a weekly get together to go through this book together and attempt to learn German together.

learning german quickly

Click to Order

Answer Key for German Quickly. (warning – pdf)

Also, throwing some time and dates around. I’m thinking that we start next week. Ideally, it would be 14 June, about 7pm Eastern. I’m up for looking at other times.

To connect, you will need a Google+ hangout. You can reach me here. We’ll do a hangout. That way, we can test each other, learn from each other, and hold each other somewhat accountable.

Again, I’m pretty open to meeting in various groups at various times on various days. I don’t sleep much, so….

Also, you can go here and get lots of free kindle books in German. Here is a German Bible for the cheap for Kindle. In most if not all bible software programs, you will be able to attain a free German bible. Here are some flashcard sets (free) for German.  This, I believe, the preferred book for learning Theological German, which will happen somewhat later.

These are some vocabulary lists (this one is a pdf).

Anyone up for learning German together this summer using this book and Google+?

Google+, in case you don’t know, has this hangout feature where you can have a live conference chat over the pc. Nifty wee little thing.

Anyway, I was thinking. Maybe those of us who would like to learn German, or those of you who know German, could get together, say on a Thursday evening for about an hour, and go through this book:

learning german quickly

Click to Order

For those wanting to do German for college credits, you can always take a CLEP test(s). If I am reading this correctly, passing both German tests available via CLEP qualifies you as having taken two full years of German (or, say, having a German mastery of two full years (not just semesters) of German).

This would be a fun way to go through this book, especially if we had someone who knew German and could walk us through some of the stuff.