Learning German After One Week

Guten Tag meine Freunde!  Week 1 is over and we’re looking forward to week 2.  It hasn’t been easy and to be honest I have questioned whether or not German was the right language for us, but we are persevering.

It was a busy week.  We are through 5 lessons of the Pimsleur Method and we have been fairly pleased with it’s results so far.  The lack of any written material has been a little tough, but we have found it helpful to look up some of the words/phrases that we are being taught in the audio lesson so that we can begin to recognize German phonetics.  I have been researching phrases that I feel would be helpful and have been trying to do some book work in regards to basic grammar.  This has been helpful, but at this stage, everything is so new that it can seem a little overwhelming at times.  I also picked up a couple of A1 level German podcasts that have been very heplful.

So far, we can say several basic phrases like greetings, introductions, and other basic “survival” type things.  I am not as far progressed as I would like to be, but I understand that this is a process and I am making a few alterations to our learning methods moving forward.

I have put together a list of the top 1000 German nouns, top 30 German verbs (with conjugations), and top 25 lists for adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions.  Using these lists, I will put together a daily word list of 5 nouns (with gender and plural), one verb (with all conjugations) and up to five other words (consisting of adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions).  This will make up my supplementary learning material for the next 2-3 months.  At the end of 3 months, My goal is to be at a level where I can be fairly conversationally equipped and be ready to watch/listen to German language TV shows, podcasts, movies, etc with 70%-75% comprehension.

If you would like to have the lists I have put together, please feel free to email me at baronbillprice@gmail.com and I will be happy to email them to you.  They are a work in progress, but sometimes you just have to start somewhere.

I will update again later this week and let you know how the daily word lists are going and if they seem to be helping.

Auf wiedersehen!

Intro and Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to My German Quest.  In case you didn’t read the description, this blog will follow my wife and my journey to German fluency in one year.  This will be our first real foray into language learning (outside of K-12 requirements) and if we are successful, there will be more languages to come.

Some background on my wife and I.  My name is Bill and I was born in Florida and raised from 1st grade to 7th grade in Louisiana and from then on in Colorado.  Thanks to Louisiana public schools I took French from 1st grade on and by High School I was fluent.  Of course, that was almost 20 years ago and I am no longer a fluent speaker.  I can still read and understand conversations (80% or so) but I can struggle to speak it sometimes.

My wife’s name is Kirsten and she has lived in Colorado almost all of her life.  She took Spanish in High School and never really got above a very basic understanding.  For her, it’s been over 15 years and most of her Spanish is gone.

So, why German?  Good question.  I wish I could give a really compelling story, but there really isn’t one.  We decided we wanted to try to learn a language and so we both made lists of ones we thought would be useful and/or interesting.  Based on advice from some friends and some research online, German won out over Russian, Japanese, and Mandarin.  We have a couple of friends who speak German at a basic to intermediate level so we figured that we would at least have some people to practice on in the early stages and who might have an interest in learning more with us.

So, how are we learning?  Well, I did some research and found that the Pimsluer Method of all audio was pretty popular and seemed to produce decent results.  The cons were really lack of much grammar and complete absence of reading.  We decided on a combination of Pimsluer and supplementary material.  We picked up the Pimsluer German I program at the local book store and a “Learn German the Fun and Easy Way” workbook.  For fun we also bought a German phrasebook of “real” German (profanities, slang, etc).  Our goal is to follow the Pimsluer course method everyday and use the workbook to pump up our vocabulary.

I read online somewhere that 100 words form almost 50% of everyday conversation in a given language, 1000 words almost 80% and 2000 words form 95% of conversational speech.  Using this logic, if we were to supplement our Pimsluer learning with 5 new vocabulary words per day, that would bring us up over 1000 words within 3 months.  In my mind, that would seem to be a great starting point to really using the language everyday.  When I say “everyday”, I mean REALLY using it like watching German television shows, listening to German podcasts/radio, speaking with native speakers in meaningful conversations.  To me, this is the point where it will seem like we are finally getting somewhere.  The goal of fluency (to me) would include understanding and communicating 98% or so of spoken language.  That is where I want to be in one year.