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learn german: the pimsleur method, spookiness and goodness  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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So I got the CD for ten bucks with the idea of learning a bit of German so I might be able to understand Sepp. Maybe even communicate with him.

The CD arrived and I learned the catch: "you've been signed up for our gold program where we will send you stuff every month and take money off of your credit card."

I called up and .... I made it clear to cancel the "gold" thing. But I would not be surprised if they "accidentally" didn't quite get it cancelled. In checking around the internet, this outfit seems mighty evil.

The reviews on the internet is that the content is good, the publisher is good, it's this one marketing outfit that is not good.

 
Eric Thompson
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...so many people let those things slip as being too much of a "hassle" to cancel...

The Pimsleur CDs are really good! (And German must be way easier than when I did Korean..) But for good swear words, you will just need to learn enough to ask in German about the best choices...


 
Patrick Thornson
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Paul, was ist los mit Google ├╝bersetzen?
Es ist so einfach zu bedienen.
 
benjamim fontes
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Patrick Thornson wrote:Paul, was ist los mit Google ├╝bersetzen?
Es ist so einfach zu bedienen.

Paul Wheaton, es ist gut dass du lernst sepp holzer auf deutsch zu verstehen.
Ich bin sehr froh ihn auf deutsch (austrian deutsch) zu verstehen.
Mach weiter mit dem pimsleur method und erzaehl uns wie das weiter geht.
Nord Portugal
Benjamim Fontes
 
Bobby Eshleman
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Ich auch lernen Deutsche!
JK, I just started German within the last few weeks. Honestly, Karl Marx and sepp holzer are major factors in me wanting to learn the language. I want to read their writing!

Paul, how long do you have until going to work with Sepp?

I used Pimsleur to introduce myself to Spanish. I used the month long course. It was a good introduction but simply falls short on the amount of words it contains. Needing 3000 words to have a conversation, more or less, Pimsleur's few hundred is unfortunately not enough. After using Pimsleur to get a little bit used to the language, I found using a program called Assimil to be exactly what I needed. With about 2,000-3,000 words in the program you gain a huge step in being able to talk to people. Also, by using Assimil, you learn how to use any authentic/native book + audiobook to learn your target language. It teaches the language and teaches a method at the same time. It also takes 30 minutes a day. I've also used Assimil to begin from scratch on learning Mandarin Chinese.

If you have any interesting in seeing my Mandarin progress after ~3-4 months, and then ~5-6 months, check out my two language update videos. Looking back, I've much improved haha. I could post a Spanish video if there was any interest.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/user/BobbyEshleman/videos[/youtube]
 
paul wheaton
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I made a new podcast series about learning german. It started with the pimsleur stuff. But I was really struggling. So I tried to find something that might be a pimsleur podcast companion: nothing. I tired to find something that might be an actual noob to german asking the questions I have. Nothing. I found scripted stuff where one german speaks to another german. That might be helpful to others, but not to me.

So I sorta made my own. Here is the first one:

http://www.richsoil.com/learn-german/?p=13

I've listened to these first three several times. It is helping me.


 
paul wheaton
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Looking at the german stuff written here: sorry guys, I have not yet learned enough yet. Have I mentioned that I seem to be really awful at learning a new language?

 
paul wheaton
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Paul, how long do you have until going to work with Sepp?


Still working on getting a passport. Until I have the passport, I cannot set any dates.

Needing 3000 words to have a conversation


I suspect that I will never get that far. I feel like I need to get to a point where we can have the most basic conversation - which will be a hundred times better than what we have now: gestures.

I've listened to the first pimsleur lesson about 25 times and the second lesson about a dozen times. Some of it is sticking, but this is going to be a long, slow road.

I've done a little with http://duolingo.com/ I'm still on the very first lesson out of about 80.

I find that with the CDs I can sometimes try for an hour before I am sick of it. And with duolingo: I really have a mountain of other things to do, so I doubt I have ever spent more than ten minutes there each time. But both have been a big help.

I find listening to my new podcasts is a lot easier for me to digest. But I'm not sure how much help it is.




 
Patrick Thornson
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I learned French, then forgot it. (About 20 yrs ago.)

Use it or lose it, Paul. Practise, practise, practise.

I'd like to learn on rosetta stone but it's too expensive for me right now. (Want to learn Italian.)
 
paul wheaton
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I searched lots of the internet and it seems like most people find rosetta stone to be of little value.
 
Patrick Thornson
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Good to know. Thanks.
I've used my sister's rosetta stone French program. It was too easy for me but I was using the beginner French program that my neice uses.
It seems it would go fast- or maybe I was able to go fast because it was at such a low, easy level of a second language I read okay (but speak very slowly to native speakers.) My ability at listening comprehension of native speakers at normal speaking speed is pathetic!!!

How to practise the listening of native speakers at their normal speaking speed? Well, maybe their is a German internet news channel. Maybe. I don't know.

I've met a few individuals who learned English from BBC programs. They must be geniuses! I couldn't do it.
 
Bobby Eshleman
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paul wheaton wrote:
I find that with the CDs I can sometimes try for an hour before I am sick of it. And with duolingo: I really have a mountain of other things to do, so I doubt I have ever spent more than ten minutes there each time. But both have been a big help.


I've never heard of Duolingo it looks cool. Are you able to select your own materials or does automatically find material for you?

I think the best thing is to spend time with the language in a way that you enjoy. Since everyone likes to do different things, arguments happen in language learning circles haha. YOU MUST DO MY WAY.

Underneath the surface I also believe Stephen Krashen's theory that language is only learned by understanding messages. His presentation is mega-enlightening plus he uses German to show how language is naturally acquired by adults.




I've tried Rosetta Stone. I did not like it because I prefer having a lot of exposure to a language straight from the beginning, where as Rosetta Stone starts off with only bits and pieces of the language. I've seen someone learn to speak Spanish pretty good with it though, despite that he began to hate how boring it was. I like Assimil, Teach Yourself and Colloquial (if I edit out the English in the recordings), old Linguaphone courses, because I can use the recordings to immerse myself in messages I understand, first using the text and then just my ear.

I highly recommend the youtube channels by these polyglots. They have all learned over 8 languages since being an adult, usually no teacher. They all say they have no natural gift or anything. Some of them are studying 20,30, even 40 languages. The few that are studying that many have really dedicated and intense time management systems, and are definitely extreme. They are from all over the world... Canada, America, Austria, China, England, etc... But their advice is invaluable since they have spent so much time figuring out the easiest and most effective ways for them to personally learn language.

Here is a link to a collection of names and links to their channels of the most noted youtube polyglots. Hearing their thoughts, a ton of misconceptions around language learning are dispelled. Most importantly you can see the mindset of those who are the most successful in language learning. I personally have gleaned methodology from mainly Steve Kaufmann (lingosteve), Moses McCormick (laoshu50500), and Luca Lampariello (poliglotta80) in my personal study of Mandarin and Spanish, now German and Taiwanese too. The most important thing I learned by seeing their example is that there is nothing special about anyone who is successful at learning languages. I highly recommend their youtube channels and blogs for inspiration and methods, if not just to see 10 languages come out of one person's mouth in a single video haha.

http://thepolyglotexperience.blogspot.com/p/youtube-polyglot-community.html
 
Michael Radelut
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Of course, to understand someone like sepp holzer you'd have to take a "regiolect course".
Learning some High German and then expecting to be able to understand him is like expecting to be able to understand Billy Connolly once you've finished your first year of English lessons in school.
(German (still) has an enormous degree of regional variability in every country it's spoken in.)
 
Bobby Eshleman
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Don't worry about dialects. With a foundation in standard German speaking to Austrians will not be a problem. Regional dialects will only take a matter of getting used to and learning some new words as it has been with my experiences in Mandarin talking with Taiwanese people and Spanish talking to people from Argentina, although I can see that the differences could be greater in German that what I've had experience with. Being near (or in?) Salzburg, sepp holzer's dialect is mutually comprehensible with High German as I understand the situation of German in Austria. The only dialect in Austria's 9 regions that speakers of standard German struggle or can't understand is in Voralberg on the west near Switzerland.

Here is a video of Austrian polyglot Robert Bigler speaking with Kazakh polyglot Amir Ordabayev on Austrian dialects, in High German.
Robert Bigler on Austrian Dialects
 
Patrick Thornson
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lifehacker.com had an article about some polyglot who had no problem learning many new languages.

Step One- learn the correct pronunciation of all their sounds.
Step Two- label everything in your house,work, etc with the new words. Post-Its everywhere!
Step Three- I can't remember. But it was probably 'talk to native speakers.'
 
Bobby Eshleman
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http://lifehacker.com/5903288/i-learned-to-speak-four-languages-in-a-few-years-heres-how?utm_source=Lifehacker+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b554b84733-UA-142218-1&utm_medium=email

was that it?

Very cool. I think C1 within 5 months is incredible. Giving it full-time though, I could see that happening, that's only like 53 words a day to reach 8,000 words which is a number that has been cited as what a person needs to read academic level writing, which is what I believe C1 would partly consist of.
 
Patrick Thornson
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Yes, that was it.
Thanks.

I grew up with Nena. Loved her music.
Here's a more moden song of hers.

 
Emma Fredsdotter
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Bobby Eshleman wrote:I used Pimsleur to introduce myself to Spanish. I used the month long course. It was a good introduction but simply falls short on the amount of words it contains. Needing 3000 words to have a conversation, more or less, Pimsleur's few hundred is unfortunately not enough.

To have an advanced conversation in which you speak about all manner of things and how you feel about them without doing serious revisions to how you express yourself, they say that you need about 3000 words, yes. But let's consider also what the language is going to be used for. A three year old knows about 300 words. A six year old knows about 2000 words. Do you really need to learn to speak well beyond a six year old's level before you go to a country? Let's not forget that once you are there you pick up all manner of words - and they are definitely not the ones you learn from a language class (in the nine months I've been in France, my vocabulary has grown tremendously; and they are almost all "weird" words like how I now have three different new words for men's underwear and lots of words having to do with building constructions and flowers).

I went to the Middle East with 100 words of Arabic or less and they served me incredibly well. I couldn't express myself in advanced conversation, but I could exchange pleasantries with my co-workers, ask them what things were called in Arabic so I could expand my vocabulary (now all having to do with materials and masonry tools) in order to give instructions. Do I wish I was fluent enough in Arabic to talk about things dear to my heart? Of course, but it wasn't necessary for what I was doing.
 
Bobby Eshleman
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Emma, I think your point is valid and brings forth that there are different schools of thought in this regard. Benny the Irish Polyglot's methodology is to go to the country without any prior knowledge and start learning as soon as he lands. He'll learn words/phrases and go outside into the world and use them immediately. His results are good. Steve Kaufmann will spend a long time reading and listening without speaking at all for months and months, this way when he starts speaking he has all the words he needs to really express himself. His results are also good.

3,000 words is enough for casual conversation. I hate to say it but it is not enough to understand sepp holzer talking about permaculture. If you go to the 3,000 most common words list of English and just randomly choose words that you would want to be able to understand when talking about Permaculture, a lot is missing. Words like shrub, nitrogen, temperate, fertility or fertile, ecology, perennial, any word containing "poly", sustainable, bacteria, organism, etc... are all not on that list.

I don't know if it is helpful, but my approach would be to use an intro book like Assimil or Teach Yourself covering 1,500-3,000 words in context, just to get a feel for the language and it's structure, then focus on learning permaculture-y words using radioshows w/ transcripts, books w/ audio, newspapers, even sepp holzer's own books, in order to fill in those words. This is my approach with Mandarin Chinese being 8 months in and just this last month starting to work my way through a biography w/ audiobook of Mao Zedong's life. Plus, it's sooooooo much more interesting and motivating than other stuff, and so much faster than learning words from conversing with people. To my mind that would be the quickest route to my goal of being able to understand someone talking about Permaculture, and even communicating some. Steve Kaufmann talks a lot about this I highly recommend checking out some of his videos on reading and listening. He is a seasoned language learner (60yrs old, and currently learning his 13th language) and his thoughts totally changed my approach. The program "Learning With Texts" is a great piece of freeware that I use instead of LingQ, which is the site that Steve created and uses and is also great, but is a commercial site.


http://www.scribd.com/doc/6001254/3000-Most-Common-Words-in-English
 
Emma Fredsdotter
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Bobby Eshleman wrote:3,000 words is enough for casual conversation. I hate to say it but it is not enough to understand Sepp Holzer talking about permaculture. If you go to the 3,000 most common words list of English and just randomly choose words that you would want to be able to understand when talking about Permaculture, a lot is missing. Words like shrub, nitrogen, temperate, fertility or fertile, ecology, perennial, any word containing "poly", sustainable, bacteria, organism, etc... are all not on that list.

You're assuming, Bobby, that the 3,000 words a person would choose to learn would be the 3,000 most common English words rather than the 3,000 words most necessary for them. If someone took a class and only learned the language in that class, this might be true. They would also need to take several years of evening classes at the level most language classes are given.

Someone who is learning a language with a purpose will not learn "the 3,000 most common English words", as you yourself demonstrate.

But there are also not only different approaches, there are also different standards. When we say that you need more than a native first grader's language ability (circa 2000 words) to talk to someone in a meaningful way, we're setting a pretty high standard. It reminds me a bit of an ancient Greek joke about a scholar (the ancient Greeks loved to make fun of scholars) who vowed that he would not enter the water again until he had first learned how to swim well.
 
Bobby Eshleman
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Emma Fredsdotter wrote:
You're assuming, Bobby, that the 3,000 words a person would choose to learn would be the 3,000 most common English words rather than the 3,000 words most necessary for them. If someone took a class and only learned the language in that class, this might be true. They would also need to take several years of evening classes at the level most language classes are given.

Someone who is learning a language with a purpose will not learn "the 3,000 most common English words", as you yourself demonstrate.

But there are also not only different approaches, there are also different standards. When we say that you need more than a native first grader's language ability (circa 2000 words) to talk to someone in a meaningful way, we're setting a pretty high standard. It reminds me a bit of an ancient Greek joke about a scholar (the ancient Greeks loved to make fun of scholars) who vowed that he would not enter the water again until he had first learned how to swim well.


Nice, I like that Greek joke. I see your point now and I agree 2,000 is a high number and a high standard. I do want to emphasize that I believe if a person chooses to read/listen to native material, jump in and swim in the deeper parts of the pool (sorry for this allusion to the joke!), that they will have passed 2,000 words in no time, and in a fun way. The sooner the better, too, even if you feel blind and don't understand everything. Use a dictionary and try to notice as many words as you can switching between reading with the online dictionary and listening to the audio. The language will naturally fill itself out if you just pay attention and try to catch things. It's like a game. I really don't recommend classes though because it is a very unnatural way to learn a language, i think it's very very arduous and time-consuming to try and force yourself to learn the stuff.
 
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