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Berlin drawings by Paul Salamone July 1, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german.
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Well I now have two months until I depart for Berlin. I am so looking forward to the trip. Therefore I was very pleased today to find these excellent drawings by Paul Salamone. Apparently Paul is an American graphic artist living in Berlin and these drawings are his observation of the city. Based on what I have seen of Berlin, I would have to agree with many of his observations. Check the drawings out here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/psalamone/sets/72157605859449254/

Online German language learning resources June 25, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german.
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Bookmarks


My collection of relevant bookmarks is available here http://del.icio.us/madam3181/German or you can subscribe to an RSS feed of them here http://is.gd/13lT. This document is a summary of those bookmarks with some commentary.


Dictionaries – Translations

Online German courses
  • http://german.about.com/ There is a lot of lessons, articles, activities, discussions and more here. Best to leave it to you to explore for yourself. I think the site layout and structure is not so good, but it’s worth struggling with that to find the valuable content. This site appears to have now moved here http://forums.delphiforums.com/aboutgerman/, but I am not sure what is going on.
  • BBC Languages – Learn German Fairly straight forward basic online German Language course. Has some useful reference information eg days of the week, numbers.
  • German Level I A very basic introduction to German.
  • Deutsch – Warum nicht? Online course includes MP3 and PDF’s downloads for each lesson. Presented by DW-WORLD.DE.
Podcasts (no, you don’t need an iPod)
  • german-podcast.de This is quite crazy. The presenter, Stephan Wiesner, is a German man living in Switzerland. Stephan sounds like he is a really nice guy and he puts a lot of effort into producing these podcasts. However they are all over the place, ie beginners one week more advanced the next. Also the subject matter covered is the world around him and his interests. This is great as it is very personal but you will learn words about subjects, eg mountain climbing, in which you have no interest. Recommended on the whole because of Stephan’s warmth, passion and sense of fun. Stephan appears to have given up on this project and it is no longer updated.
  • Slowly spoken daily news reports in German from DW-WORLD.DE http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1833641,00.html. RSS version seems to work best http://rss.dw-world.de/xml/podcast_langsam_gesprochene_nachrichten.
  • SBS Radio Australia Try the Children’s program because the language is simple.
Online language exchange with German speaking people
Pronunciation
  • A Guide to German Pronunciation This is a very handy reference, although quite brief. For example do you know how to pronounce a “g” when it appears at the end of a word or “ü”? This will help you. It also provides audio examples. This site is part of a larger Exeter University Beginners German which unfortunately has some broken links and incomplete sections.
Online broadcasts in German
Australian radio broadcasts in German
RSS

If you don’t know what RSS is see this link http://www.whatisrss.com/. You need a RSS feed reader. I recommend FeedReader or Google Reader. FeedReader is for Windows and is free.

Twitter


My latest craze is Twitter . I am still learning how to learn Twitter myself, but I think that it has the potential to put me in contact with other people with similar interests. Therefore I am hoping that I can use it to expand my German skills. Go to http://twitter.com and register. If you are like most people you won’t get it first off; you will probably think it is stupid. To help you get started try The Big Juicy Twitter Guide by Caroline Middlebrook and this Video: Twitter in Plain English | Common Craft – Explanations In Plain English from Common Craft.

One good tool for finding people on Twitter with similar interests is Tweet Scan. Using several Tweet Scan RSS feeds combined with RSS mix, I came up with a way to find people on Twitter who might be learning, or prepared to help with learning, see here http://www.rssmix.com/u/33031/ or subscribe to this feed http://www.rssmix.com/u/33031/rss.xml.

“Friends” on Twitter are referred to as “followers” or “following” so once you have joined go here http://twitter.com/madam3181 and follow me by clicking on the follow button under my photo. Make sure you read Twitter help http://help.twitter.com/index.php it will get you started.

Newspapers and magazines

For people in Melbourne Australia

Miscellaneous
And finally to type those extra German letters of the alphabet without getting a German keyboard and/or resetting your system settings to German, here are the keystrokes:
ä Alt + 132 Ä Alt + 142
ö Alt + 148 Ö Alt + 153
ü Alt + 129 Ü Alt + 154

ß Alt + 225 € Alt + 0128
This means to get the letter you want, press and hold down the Alt key and type the code number, release the Alt key. Your letter will appear on the screen.

Friendfeed – Learn German June 3, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german.
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I have been checking out Friendfeed trying to understand how it works and how it might be useful for people learning German.

To learn more about Friendfeed see this listing of bookmarks by Louis Gray http://del.icio.us/louismg/friendfeed.

To join the German learning Friendfeed room I have created go here http://friendfeed.com/rooms/deutschlernen.

Breakthrough? June 1, 2008

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I feel that I am about to have a breakthrough with my spoken German.

Readers of this blog will know that this is something that I have struggled with, and still continue to struggle with more than one year into my learning.

This week has been a fairly intensive week of learning. Every day there has been some spoken German activity. There has also been some attempts at writing.

Today I find my head full of German words. I am translating my thoughts, where possible, into German. I think I am becoming obsessed.

Rather than obsessed, a more positive way to look at it is that some kind of breakthrough is imminent. I hope so.

Twitter : Stats for this blog May 27, 2008

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Blog Graph

This blog never normally gets much traffic… well the content is limited in scope.

Look what playing on Twitter has done, just in one week.

Twitter as a tool to learn German May 26, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german.
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Today it was pointed out to me on Twitter that learning German using Twitter is ‘…that learning German in Twitter is very ambitious – like learning to drive a car by starting with motor racing.”

Another person also suggested that there is a lot of “bad German” on Twitter. True, just like there is a lot of bad English on Twitter. I think I can live with the bad. In time I should be able to differentiate between the bad and the good.

I take these points. However, what I am trying to do is collect a group of followers who are either native German speakers or advanced learners. By twittering these people I hope that they will come to realise that I am a German learner. I further hope that some Twitterers will be the type of person who is willing to help. So, for example, I make a tweet in German and it is wrong. Somebody responds with the errors corrected. I can learn that way.

Also it should be noted that Twitter is only a small part of my overall learning strategy. I also do many other learning activities and spend a lot of time doing them.

If you see me on Twitter say hi. If you see me posting incorrectly in German on Twitter; correct me. (I will usually put “KW” at the end of my posts to indicate that “corrections are welcome.

Oh, and if you are a German who is learning English I am happy to help you with that too.

The directness of Germans May 23, 2008

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Non-Germans find Germans very direct. I like their directness. I found this nice article about it “Why you’ve gotta love the Germans” by Eileen Yu. See what you think.

Twitter for German learners? May 23, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german, twitter.
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I have just starting playing with Twitter. I am wondering what potential it has for people learning German to communicate with each other. If you are a Twitter user, please follow me and I will follow you http://twitter.com/madam3181.

If you don’t know what Twitter is a Google search will bring back a lot of information.