Monday, July 9, 2012

Reading German for Better Hearing German

great for reading German - Baska und ihre Männer

Hey German students out there, how are you progressing in your learning the German language? Have you been reading, writing, speaking and hearing German lately? You notice I mentioned “hearing” German. There are two ways to improve you ability to understand German when you hear it: reading German and hearing/listening to German.

Reading German for beginners is important because it helps you pick up new words so that when you are hearing German you will recognize those words. Otherwise the words will blow right by you. Practicing hearing German is important just to get your ear attune to the German language and if you combine it with reading German, you'll notice your hearing skills improve dramatically. But we'll talk more on hearing German for another day.

Reading German is the subject for today. What have y'all been reading lately? History, novels, adventure, military, etc? If you've come across some interesting reading, please share it with us! I'd like to share some of my reading with y'all. I'm really excited about the latest book I've been reading, Baska und ihre Männer, one of a series of 4 World War II novels by Ingo Petersson. This is a novel about a German war dog in World War II. Wow, this is a great book and another example of great German penmanship. I recommend this book for any German language student at levels Grundstufe III and Mittelstufe I, II, III (this is the Geothe Institut scale).

I recommend Baska for upper level beginners and intermediates because the grammar is not too difficult. And it has an interesting and colorful array of vocabulary. I was looking up alot of words myself, because these aren't the words commonly found in newspapers, which I read alot. If you don't like war novels, try a novel in another subject. A great source of German cultural and historical books is der Deutsche Stimme Verlag. You can pick up great books and other items from its online store including the 4-book series by Ingo Petersson - just type in Ingo Petersson where it says Suche (search).

Here's an example of what you'll find in Baska - if you can read German like this, you are ready for some German reading at this level. If you have to look up words in the dictionary, go ahead. That is how you make progress. „Während die Männer bis auf zwei Posten bald in teifem Schlaf liegen, ruhrt sie (Baska) selber kaum. Immer wieder hebt sie den Kopf, lauscht in die Nacht, steht zuweilen auf, zieht eine lautlose Runde um das Lager an den Posten vorbei und legt sich dann wieder neben Vorwärts nieder“. (Vorwärts is her master)... Keiner der Posten spricht sie an, und keiner rührt sich, so lange sie in seiner Nähe verweilt. Aber sie wissen sich bei ihr in guter Obhut, denn sie wacht ja mit ihnen“.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this taste of some great German reading from Baska und ihre Männer. If it was a little difficult, keep plugging – euer Deutschverständnis wird sich bestimmt verbessern! If you have any questions about Baska or whatever you are reading, please post it here. Bis bald!

Friday, May 18, 2012

German Grammar - Making Sense of German Sentences

I'd like to help you make some sense of German grammar, so your German reading practice will start to go a little smoother. If you are a beginner or even intermediate in German, and you want to improve your German language skills through reading, sooner or later, if you experience reading German in anyway like I have, you will get hung up some . At this point you may ask yourself, "why learn German"? and contemplate giving up on the German language. Just hang in there - help is on the way!

Let me help you in the next few posts with typical difficult German sentences. I've figured out some tricks to learning German over the years after banging my head on difficult, long sentences enough, so maybe I can spare you a little grief.

We are going to make sense out of a sentence (which I got from my World War 2 reading:

  • Der für ein erneutes Minenunternehmen vorgesehene Tanker "British Emperor" erkannte im nördlichen Indik den Hilfskreuzer and funkte. Er wurde daher beschossen und versenkt.

The trick is to break the sentence down into its elementary parts:

  1. Subject (Nominative case): Der Tanker "British Emperor"

  2. Verb: Two verbs here - erkannte and funkte

  3. Object of the verb (Accusative case) den Hilfskreuzer - object of erkannte

  4. Adjective describing Subject: für ein erneutes Minenunternehmen vorgesehene *This is where I used to get stuck. This is how it works - If you look up vorsehen, it is a verb meaning to have intentions or plans for something, but here it is used as an adjective - its called a verbal adjective. "vorgesehene" is in the past participle form - its subject is Tanker. Have plans for what? - für ein erneutes Minenunternehmen - for a new mine-laying operation. In English it sounds literally like: The for a new mine-laying operation planned Tanker "British Emperor" or, to make it sound better in English - The Tanker "British Emperor" is planned for a new mine-laying operation.

  5. Adverb: im nördlichen Indik - the action is taking place in the northern Indian Ocean.

  6. Break down the sentence to its basic ingredients. Once you understand what is the subject, verb, direct object and indirect object, then add back the extra seasoning!

  7. This is the broken down sentence: Der vorgesehene Tanker "British Emperor" erkannte den Hilfskreuzer und funkte.

  8. Add back the extra seasoning: für ein erneutes Minenunternehmen, im nördlichen Indik

Now we just figured out this sentence. We won't go over the second sentence for now. Can anyone tell me what both sentences mean together and what just happened in this sea action?

The German Language as a Second Language

The Maibaum - Festival time in GermanyOne of the best things I've ever done for myself was to learn a second language. The German language makes a great second language. Since I've been able to read, write and speak German, I've been able to enjoy a very wonderful culture in a way that I could not have experienced with just knowing English. Having German as a second language really comes in handy. Now I can read German books, stories and newspapers in German. I even have a subscription to a German newspaper. And if you ever watch World War II movies, its inevitable that there will be some dialog in German. Its really cool to be able to understand the German being spoken. As far as taking a vacation to Germany. Well, hey, I can just rattle off all day long in German with friends and people I meet.

Its not that hard to learn effective German. If you too want to enjoy the German language as a second language, Rocket German is the right place to get started in a jiffy! Give it a shot!

The German language gets easier and more fun each day I learn it. Now that I'm always hearing German, reading German and speaking German, the German language has become a way of life for me. If you are beginning your adventure with the German language, and get stuck on a certain point or difficulty (as happens with everybody), please feel free to ask me a question here on this blog. I've had an exciting adventure with the German language and would like to share it with others!

Auf Wiederhören!