I think I may (in a few months) switch over to writing this blog as dual-language, with my posts being in both English and German. For now, I’m not 100% comfortable with my grammar and sentence structure to do it yet.
My books arrived and I came up with a system that I am going to test while trying to tackle these books:
Supplies needed: The German text, a pen and notebook, my Bilingual learner’s dictionary, the text in English (if possible).
1. Read a sentence from the German text. If I understand, I proceed to the next sentence. If not, I move to step 2.
2. I look up major words in my Dictionary that I don’t understand (primarily nouns and verbs as adjectives and adverbs can often be deduced by context).
3. I write down these words with their translations in my notebook. This writing will help reinforce the word and it’s meaning.
4. After I have determined what I think the sentence says, I can move on to the next sentence. When I have completed a paragraph, I can verify my translation of the paragraph with the English translation to confirm if I missed any major pieces of information.
5. Afterwards, I can determine from my list of words if there are any that are important enough to make into flashcards.
I have already started with Der Kleine Prinz and have found it surprisingly suited to my reading level. I have had to look up my share of words, but it is actually going slightly better than I had imagined.
I will continue to update as I continue my journey.
Hallo! So I was reviewing my flashcards yesterday and skimming the frequency lists and I have my vocabulary up to a little over 1000 words in German at this point. I think that (combined with my mid-level grammar grasp) cleanly puts me at a low-intermediate level. I am guessing a very low B1 level.
This, of course, led me to my next question for myself: “What can I do moving forward to avoid hitting a wall at the intermediate level?” I have been fairly active on several language learning communities and forums over the last few Months and a common theme seems to be hitting this barrier between intermediate and advanced level. The internet is rampant with stories of people plowing through the beginning stages and hitting that 1000 word level that usually seems to signify some sort of intermediate understanding and they can’t get past it. Some of the prevailing thoughts seem to be that this happens because there are so many language courses and guides for beginning a language but very little exists to take the learner beyond the B1-B2 stage into the C levels.
My plan? READ. Yesterday I ordered 3 books in German from Amazon.com. What are these powerful works of German literary genius that I ordered? Well, I’m glad you asked. Truthfully, 1000 words and limited grammar will not have me reading newspapers or advanced literary masterpieces. So, I went with the level that I feel like I am at (actually I aimed a little high, but that’s ok). I ordered The Little Prince (one of my favorite books in French), Where the Wild Things Are, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (all in German of course). My plan is to move through them with a good dictionary and flashcard the main words that I do not understand. And when I get through them, I plan to read them again with no dictionary. I also have all of them in English, so I can try to follow along a little bit if the sentence structure gets too heavy for me.
Once I finish these books twice? I think I will be ready to tackle newspapers, maybe some popular magazines and things like that. I really think that traditional courses will no longer be as beneficial as they have been up to this point. I’m ready to go native!
Let me know what you think in the comments below.