Learn in Your Car German Level 1 Audio Cassette – Audiobook, May 8 1994
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Look ma, no textbooks! The Learn in Your Car series treats you like a child--in the best possible way--starting with one-word phrases ("please," "good-by"), counting exercises, and simple nouns ("bus," "train") designed to imitate a child's learning process. First you hear the words in English, then they are repeated slowly in clear, unaccented pronunciations. The method is extremely effective for those who don't know a thing, or for those who want to brush up by testing themselves when the English words are spoken. The tapes emphasize the building blocks of communicating in a foreign country rather than rote phrases that only apply on the tape and not in real-life exchanges. Level 1 painlessly covers basic verb forms, essential prepositions, near future and past tenses, as well as shopping, hotel reservations, and other travel-related situations. The series includes French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish in three levels that can be purchased individually or in boxed sets. Each level contains two 90-minute cassettes (or CDs) and an accompanying booklet (not for use behind the wheel) with helpful explanations and scripts for the lessons.
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The CD really does start off with very basic words and phrases, focusing a bit more on travel related words like bus stop, train station, how much does it cost, etc. I honestly think that people whom have not taken German will be able to pick up on the basic phrases, but that people whom speak some German already will find these first 3 disks rather slow.
There are some words included in the lessons that I've never had the chance to use. Furthermore, some of the words are a bit out of date, such as references to the Deutsch Mark. It would have been nice for that track to be updated to talk about the Euro. I also found that the disk and my German language background did not prepare me for situations such as a local offering to buy me a drink!
The CD set comes with a nice, small book. Sadly, while I've found it easy to listen to the CD again and again while jogging and to a lesser degree while driving, I've never found the time to read the book while listening to the CD. I do feel it would help both my ability to speak German and more importantly, my ability to read the language.
I liked this set enough to buy the level 2 set. Furthermore, I found the way the lessons were broken up very useful in skipping tracks and focusing on the vocabulary I felt I'd need.
There is an accompanying CD that features an interview with a laguage expert about how to learn languages, but I couldn't wait and started on disc 1. Right away, you are learning German like children learn their native language -- one word, then two words, then short sentences.
I do recommend starting by sitting with the book once. It helps to see the spelling of the words as you listen to the German speaker say them. Not every word's spelling is apparent in my head as I listen, so I found this much more helpful for remembering the words and for overall understanding and pronunciation.
German and English are both Germanic languages, so the language makes sense. It's a very descriptive language and you already know quite a few words from watching war movies or Hogan's Heroes on tv. (Achtung, bitte! Das ist verboten.) The most difficult part will be pronunciation, so I will practice a lot to avoid having a bad American accent as much as possible.
When I was a kid in the early 70s, my family moved to Brazil for a year. There was no system to teach kids Portuguese and my brothers and I really suffered from not speaking the language. Now that I anticipate moving to Germany for a few years, I will do whatever I can to teach my children German as well. I plan to purchase Learn in the Car German for Kids, so we can all learn together. Then we'll go from there.
Bottom line: If you want to learn German easily on your own and maximize the value of your time in the car, get this set!
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