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Old 12.02.2009, 11:48
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Not progressing anymore in German

Hi folks, i've been learning German (for 4 years now, and even use it at the office for the last year or so, making presentations, writing emails, taking minutes etc. i have a fairly large vocab, but my grammer is only so-la-la. i've reached a plateau and can't seem to get any better.

i was hoping to get some advice/tips on how further improve my german, esp from a stagnant level. as a german philosopher said, "the limits of my language are the limits of my world," and i'd like to expand my world

btw, can anyone recommend a good humorous german author?
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Old 12.02.2009, 11:56
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

hi hsiang, welcome back

my advice is go to a conversation class (i do) that is the best way to keep up i find..
otherwise try to watch more german tv (news etc)
I also recommend getting german/english novels which are in both languages side by side (i have a few i could lend you) i think you can get them in most orell fusslis
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:11
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

Get a german speaking girlfriend :-)

Worked for me, now she's Mrs Wu
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:16
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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hi hsiang, welcome back

my advice is go to a conversation class (i do) that is the best way to keep up i find..
otherwise try to watch more german tv (news etc)
I also recommend getting german/english novels which are in both languages side by side (i have a few i could lend you) i think you can get them in most orell fusslis
hoho SO, nice to be back in wintry wonderland are your novels funny?
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:21
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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Get a german speaking girlfriend :-)

Worked for me, now she's Mrs Wu
Mr Wu, if i could find one, i wouldn't be on EF at all

does Mrs Wu have a younger sister??
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:29
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

This was exactly the same that happened to me when i was learning Spanish.... It also the same with English, but in this case, not even getting an English boyfriend is helping.

What I did by then was to enroll in an advanced course of Spanish. It was enough motivation that I had to write a dissertation in that evil language. Conversation classes can be alright, but ensure that your partner speaks at an higher level than you. I also got "complicated" books that allowed me to expand my vocabulary and deal with more complex sentences. The Quijote can also be son considered "humorous", but in general, these sort of books tend to be easier.
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:36
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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This was exactly the same that happened to me when i was learning Spanish.... It also the same with English, but in this case, not even getting an English boyfriend is helping.

What I did by then was to enroll in an advanced course of Spanish. It was enough motivation that I had to write a dissertation in that evil language. Conversation classes can be alright, but ensure that your partner speaks at an higher level than you. I also got "complicated" books that allowed me to expand my vocabulary and deal with more complex sentences. The Quijote can also be son considered "humorous", but in general, these sort of books tend to be easier.
i am currently still learning german at C1 level (i am lazy, so progress was slow ), but the emphasis is towards preparing for certification, as is with most courses.

you are right though, i should join a class where there is more discussion and writing, with focus on themes. kinda like GCE 'A' Level General Paper.

a slight deviation, do you consider german an evil language too?
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:36
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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are your novels funny?
well they're in german...
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:47
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

I would say being able to speak the words is one thing but getting into the head of people in another culture is way more difficult.

That is probably why we sometimes feel not getting any further ... we can speak the words, maybe even understand and use their "slang expressions" correctly and yet there is still some kind of a barrier ... an invisible wall ...

... or if suddenly people are getting into discussing a theme unfamiliar to you, lets say aviation, where a specific vocabulary is needed ... one just falls short of words ...


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snip ..... i was hoping to get some advice/tips on how further improve my german, esp from a stagnant level. as a german philosopher said, "the limits of my language are the limits of my world," and i'd like to expand my world
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:49
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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a slight deviation, do you consider german an evil language too?
To remain positive, I consider it to be a barbaric and uncivilized language....

After being almost 6 years in the country, i can barely speak it (I am a a2-b1 level). And i am going now for my 3rd intensive course, in yet another effort to improve my language skills... It doesn't help much that my circle of friends is English-Portuguese-Spanish speaking, and that i can easily get away without speaking German in Zurich. Not even the prospects that my life would be oh-so-easier are motivating enough. At some point i have considered doing therapy, as this seems to be a mental blockage. Could find anyone that could understand my problem, though.
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:54
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

yeah even the Swiss French
have some kind of mental blockage to learn German ...
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Old 12.02.2009, 12:59
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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i am currently still learning german at C1 level (i am lazy, so progress was slow ), but the emphasis is towards preparing for certification, as is with most courses.

you are right though, i should join a class where there is more discussion and writing, with focus on themes. kinda like GCE 'A' Level General Paper.

a slight deviation, do you consider german an evil language too?
Maybe this is the problem, you are focusing on learning the language from a theoretical stand point.

I have only done one course and generally try to learn by immersion rather then structured. I find the structured courses teach you how to pass exams but not necessarily how to communicate properly.

I would consider my level of German to be similar to what you describe though. I have a large vocab, but very poor Grammer. Still I am happy that I can communicate with people, go about my daily business and even socialise in German/Swiss German.
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:10
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

I have been learning German for a day and I too have now plateaued.
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:31
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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Get a german speaking girlfriend :-)

Worked for me, now she's Mrs Wu

Didn't work for me. Mr Argus is German through and through.

But what has got me past the beginner stage is reading children's books with Mr Argus (he's very strict with pronunciation) watching DVDs with German subtitles and German-speaking movies (with German or English subtitling) and 'Tatort' with German subtitles, and using livemocha.com. And struggling to hold conversations with Swiss who stop to talk about the dog.

Hsiang, you're so advanced in your Deutsch already, you can only practise by reading, writing, listening and talking (a friend of mine also takes advanced German tuition) more than before.
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:31
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

My boss is originally from Germany, moved to Lausanne and taught himself to speak and write perfect French and has since picked up Italian. Speaks and writes near perfect English too. He attended no courses and believes in reading the paper, watching TV and chatting. His only study aid - a Pons grammar sheet
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:46
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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...

btw, can anyone recommend a good humorous german author?
That'll be a really short list, like British gourmet restaurants or Swiss manner guides.



You could try Heinz Erhardt for starters, and Ephraim Kishon's German books are also hilarious and entertaining, even though he is not a native German speaker. Erich Kästner is a great children's book author.

I also second the movie idea ... language and subtitles on DVD's are a great learning aid ... pick a movie you know and watch it about a zillion times in German.
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:49
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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btw, can anyone recommend a good humorous german author?
Try "Wilhelm Tell für die Schule"... where Max Frisch tells the legend in an extremly funny way... out of the perspective from the "invader" Gessler who does not want to travel to the mountains and is simply annoyed by the weather and extremly difficult and conservative Swiss population...

just read the recommendations:

http://www.amazon.de/Suhrkamp-Tasche...4438971&sr=8-2
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:49
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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I would say being able to speak the words is one thing but getting into the head of people in another culture is way more difficult.
well yes, but language is the conduit that lets one into the pants, i mean, heads of people.

as i progress, i learn to pick up inneuendos previously hidden from me, and am able to have a greater appreciation when communicating with locals.

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To remain positive, I consider it to be a barbaric and uncivilized language....
which reminds me, i used to cover myself with spittle, when i first started learning german. that happened again recently, when i tried to speak SG.
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:56
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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That'll be a really short list, like British gourmet restaurants or Swiss manner guides.



You could try Heinz Erhardt for starters, and Ephraim Kishon's German books are also hilarious and entertaining, even though he is not a native German speaker. Erich Kästner is a great children's book author.

I also second the movie idea ... language and subtitles on DVD's are a great learning aid ... pick a movie you know and watch it about a zillion times in German.
LOL. my sentiments exactly i'm gonna start another thread called "in search of the elusive german humour" or "was ist so witzig?"

i think Argus may be right. i do already watch a lot of german TV (actually, mostly cookign programs hurhur), so i am consuming, but not ..urm... synthesising (??).
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Old 12.02.2009, 13:59
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Re: Not progressing anymore in German

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Try "Wilhelm Tell für die Schule"... where Max Frisch tells the legend in an extremly funny way... out of the perspective from the "invader" Gessler who does not want to travel to the mountains and is simply annoyed by the weather and extremly difficult and conservative Swiss population...

just read the recommendations:

http://www.amazon.de/Suhrkamp-Tasche...4438971&sr=8-2
sounds promising already! Great link, thanks!
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