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Mastering German Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2001
I moved to Germany 6 months ago (I'm in the military). I had a good start in German, having completed a German technical translation program in college. But that was 15 years ago. I have a LOT of German instructional books, but this is by far the one I use the most, since I already have the grammar and pronunciation down. I try to go through at least a page every day before I go to bed. This book has taken me a long way towards my goal of total fluency, because even if you have perfect grammar and have an excellent accent, you can't get around the fact that there are thousands of words you simply have to know cold.
I HIGHLY recommend this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2004
I picked this book up after struggling with learning vocabulary. While I like the book, and it covers a broad range of subjects (or themes), there are a few things that could be altered, that I think would help the book overall.
First, the book should include the plurals of all nouns. As any German learner knows, there's roughly 12 different ways to form a plural on a noun, and while there are ways to try and figure them out, it's best (and easiest!) to just learn the plural along with the noun. Having to look up the plural of each noun as you go through the book is irritating.
Secondly, while I think the book is useful, I think it would be more useful if each subject comprised two or three paragraphs, making use of the words, in full context. Learning words in context is the *best* way to learn vocabulary, hands down. Learning it via static sentences is better than just a plain old vocab. list, but if the words were grouped into paragraphs on a topic, I'd give this book 5 (or 6, if possible) stars.
And don't forget to add in the plurals in the next edition! :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2003
It is usually the case that we look up the translation of a word we want to use in a dictionary. And then, it turns out to be not the word we've wanted, for the fact that the usage of it is somewhere different. Thematic approach was what was missing, and needed at the same time.
This book, however, has changed that. With its 40 chapters on different themes that include 'eating', 'clothing', 'actions and behaviors', 'feelings and instincts', this book offers german-learners everything they need to know for both learning German and living in Germany. Now, it is possible to walk into a shop and tell exactly what kind of a shoe you want, without any difficulty. The book offers another feature: example sentences that help you understand how you use the word. Therefore, every word can be used fluently during talking.
It is concise, and simple. Its small size allows for carrying in a bag. Any further grammatical complications,such as the plurals and different tenses of the verbs, unlike other reviewers, I think, would make the book difficult to use, and heavier to carry. This book can be used with an additional grammer companion, if very necessary. But, for the sole purpose of building vocabulary, the book is excellent. Yet, the grammar section at the end is quite satisfactory for quick referrals. I highly recommend 'Mastering German Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach' for all german-learners.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2001
I just finished my first year of German, and I found that my weakest area was vocabulary. This book changed that. If you want to learn German vocaubulary, this book is for you. The thematic structure makes it easier for someone to grasp and remember German. The reason I gave it 4 stars is because I felt that the book could have used two improvements: 1) The plural forms of the nouns are not given. There is a section at the end of the book that gives rules on determining the plural forms, but it would have been much easier to just give the plural form next to the singular. 2)When an irregular verb is listed, the authors do give the conjugations in the present, simple past and present perfect tenses. However, they fail to include the auxilliary for the present perfect tense.
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on June 15, 2001
I just finished my first year of German, and I found that my weakest area was vocabulary. This book changed that. If you want to learn German vocaubulary, this book is for you. The thematic structure makes it easier for someone to grasp and remember German. The reason I gave it 4 stars is because I felt that the book could have used two improvements: 1) The plural forms of the nouns are not given. There is a section at the end of the book that gives rules on determining the plural forms, but it would have been much easier to just give the plural form next to the singular. 2)When an irregular verb is listed, the authors do give the conjugations in the present, simple past and present perfect tenses. However, they fail to include the auxilliary for the present perfect tense.
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on May 11, 2001
This book does exaclty what it promises. It does help you to enlarge your vocabulary. Words are sorted by theme, which is great since it helps you to memorize the words. At the end there is a very well built index where words are (of course) alphabetically sorted. I have taken 6 semester of German (I'm just in the basic level) but I found this book to be very useful in two specific situations: To collect examples of usage of a word that I recently learned ; To help me fill those moments of idleness when I'm not at home (for instance, before a movie begins or when I'm waiting for someone in a meeting at work). The comprehensiveness of this book, its small size, and low cost makes it one of the best cost-benefit books I have ever bought!
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on September 23, 2003
This is wonderful book for reviewing vocabulary. You should also know that French, Spanish, and Italian versions exist as well. The words covered are very helpful, especially for those who like to travel and need to know "easy" words that do not appear frequently in literature but do come up often in offices, stores, etc. Each entry offers a clear example of usage in its proper context. These books are so inexpensive, that it is worth taking one with you on a trip abroad, even if you end up abandoning it at the end to make more room in your suitcase for the books that you want to bring home.
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on August 31, 2001
I just started to study German language, this book has been very helpful to me, I can easly find words on any subject I want, also I can check the way the word has to be used, you will find diferent situations and how to use words. On the other hand, it's true it would be better if the had showed how the plurals are formed in every word. The Grammar review at the end of the book is also useful.
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on August 27, 2010
Well this book is definitely comprehensive and informative. It's quite long. But it's basically a big book of lists - so it's a "bathroom" kind of book. It's not something you can just sit down and read. It would be a handy reference for writing in German.

I like the format and layout of the book - very simple and to the point, easy to understand.
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on January 23, 2000
It is very useful! You can learn many useful German vocabularies From this book. The very merit of this book is that you can learn German vocabularies by Thematic Approach, as the title goes.
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