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I started learning German two years ago when I was planning a weekend break to Berlin. At first, I was only going to learn a few phrases, as my holiday was only two days long. However, whilst on holiday, I enjoyed the city and the language so much that I decided to learn a bit more.
I picked up this book because in school I'd only really been taught French, so I needed something really really basic to start me off. The book covers all the areas you'd expect, for example having a meal out in a restaurant, buying things in shops, getting a ticket for a train etc. Some people don't seem to like the 'For Dummies' books because it assumes in the title that you're, well, a bit thick. In this case, I found it to be quite comforting. There's nothing more demotivating than being an absolute beginner reading a text that's too advanced for you, something I've encountered before with language books!
I found the book to be a great help starting me off, and getting me past the first few phrases that I learnt. The book also contains little boxes with grammar tips and cultural facts, the latter of which made for an amusing diversion after a long learning session! I found the book went quite in depth with grammar, sometimes it was a bit much, but as I've progressed I've been able to look back and pick it up reasonably well.
The book comes packaged with a CD, and includes audio conversations. Although I found these useful to an extent, I also used the German Pimsleur Language Programme CDs, which I found to be much better at developing oral skills in German. The audio CD is good for going back over sections that you've previously read about to reinforce them in your mind, and of course you can listen to it in bed, or whilst getting on with other things!
This book is good for absolute beginners who want to learn some cornerstone German phrases and grammar, and also people who may have learnt German in the past but want to refresh. It's a bit big to take on holiday with you, but it'd be good for the couple of weeks before you go!
*****German for Dummies****
I didn't start using this book completely new to German-i decided to use it as a quick refresher book and i found it useful.
The book comes with an audio cd and is split into five parts.Each part is then split into chapters
1.Getting started-chapter 1 to chapter 3.This had really basic information such as learning the german alphabet,pronouncing vowels,basic German grammar and greetings and introductions
2.Chapters 4 to 10.More basic vocabulary -learn how to talk about yourself,shopping,asking the time ..that sort of thing
3.Chapters 11-16-asking for directions,staying at a hotel
4.Chapter 17-21-has hints/tips on the best way to learn German,things that you shouldn't say,information on the German school system
5.Appendixes-Quite useful as it has verb tables both regular and irregular.It also has a mini dictionary which i didn't use as i found once i started reading the book the German came flooding back!!!
I think that this would be a good guide for those that are new to German.It is handy as it has information about German culture-if you are going to be learning the language you should know something about the people as well.The book is also very easy to follow/set out nice