Complete German with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide Paperback – Mar 19 2010
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About the Author
Paul Coggle is an experienced university teacher of German, who has taught courses from beginners to postgraduate level. He was a pioneer in the development and use of multimedia language learning materials at the University of Kent, and has acted as a Language Consultant for the BBC and the University of Cambridge Language Centre. He is series editor for the Teach Yourself language courses.
Heiner Schenke was born in Hannover and is a native speaker of German. He has taught German at university level for many years and is currently teaching at the University of Westminster.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Exceptionally, while most Teach Yourself language books have 20 chapters, this one has 23, as German is a slightly more difficult language and the topics are introduced really gradually. Even after finishing all the 23 chapters, you won't have learned a lot of german (even the future tense is not covered), but you'll surely learn enough to get you by during a trip, for example. Sometimes I wish the content (grammar points) were not introduced so slowly, and a little bit more content were introduced, like the future tense for example, but I'm not sure it would do good.
Also for the sake of simplicity some topics are introduced as they come up, eg, the fact that adjectives in german are declined differently with the definite and indefinite article. Since concepts come so gradually, sometimes you cannot easily look in retrospect and have a full view of the grammar taught, and thus feel entirely confident, but this is a minor complaint.
In the case of the German language in particular, and a few other languages, the Teach Yourself series also offers an 'Improve your German' course, which can take you further in the language(s).
This course taught me German well from scratch, and gave me confidence to speak it correctly. I really recommend it.
If I had not already completed "German Made Simple," this book may not have been enough to teach me the language, but my German wife has been absolutely amazed by how quickly my speech has progressed once I've started this book. Not only that, I can complete an entire chapter in about 15 minutes, and have had at least 2-3 "a-ha!" moments every time I use their system to study.
One of the more PLEASANT FEATURES of this small package is the QUALITY of the DIALOGUES, all of which are written for adults, who discuss adult issues, in an adult fashion. However, be forewarned, as this necessarily imposes are heavier workload on the student than many competing courses! There are no "la plume de ma tante" phrases here ... an expression that was drilled into me in high school so many, many years ago.
Despite the foregoing, my first reaction to this course was "these are great dialogues, but what am I supposed to do to learn the language?" That is, the course seems to be more of an "illustration" of German than a self-study guide. Ultimately, MY ANSWER to this question would be something like: "repeat the dialogues until you can recall them from memory." That is, in the limited space available to the authors, they seem to have opted for quality dialogues over exercises. Perhaps other reviewers might like to comment?
The course manual has, for me, one very ANNOYING FEATURE. Some -- but not all -- of the recorded texts are included in an appendix. However, the audio recordings themselves are imbedded within the lesson units along with the major part of lesson material. This means that the student will be needlessly flipping back-and-forth between the appendix and the lesson units. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what advantage this might procure, particularly in a self-study course!
I have assigned only THREE STARS to this self-study course because (a) I find that many competing products do a better job of helping the student acquire the basics of German and (b) I simply cannot abide the needless frustration of having to turn to the appendix for some of the recorded texts. I would have given TWO STARS had it not been for the quality of the dialogues.
The big difference is that i'm learning German without need to go to one school.