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  5. Started German yesterday


Started German yesterday

I did a "final" review of my Italian trees (Regular, & Reverse) a couple of days ago, and started on German yesterday. This is only a refresher course, since I studied German in college - although that was over 50 years ago. As a result, I am moving pretty fast, and it is amazing what is coming back to me after all those years, even though I never really used the language. I still have the sound turned off, and it is just as well. I checked the sound on a couple of sentences, and it was horrible. I at least know how German words are pronounced.

I do not expect to go on to any other languages; I was just interested in learning Italian (and I certainly have a long way to go there), and I thought, as long as I have the opportunity, I may as well refresh the German.

I keep making the same kinds of (stupid) mistakes as I have done with the Italian - like mixing up gender, and misreading the articles. And I find the occasional mistake in duolingo, too.

September 12, 2015



I did the same thing in French (returning fifty plus years after University training), and you are right- it is amazing what the brain retains. I am still not comfortable with speaking and writing, but I am reading with ease. Enjoy your return journey!


Speaking as a German the DuoLingo audio is perfectly fine. Perhaps it's your sound system?


I have checked out a couple more statements, and the pronunciation does seem OK, but they are still difficult to understand.


It's a wonderful thing to see people who don't say "I'm too old to learn X." Congrats on finishing you tree and being reunited with German. Good luck!


Thanks! It helps keep my mind active.


All people in your age have to be like you, Susanna! Compliments!


As a getting oldie myself - who dared say that! - I hate with a passion those words "But I'm too old.". Learning is about being taught HOW to learn & the wonders that can bring for a lifetime.


Buona fortuna, io sono italiano e sto facendo tedesco.


That's so great that you decided to tackle German again - wonderful! I just started too, although I'm disturbed that the pronunciation isn't quite spot on.

One site I've found that has very good pronunciation compared to DL (at least for French)?

Google Translate. Absolutely fantastic. Type something in German to be translated to English and hit the "speak" button and see what you think!


Just how do you get to Google translate? I have been using Bing, since all Babel Fish users were automatically switched to it. Babel Fish was pathetic, compared to Bing. Of course, no online translator can be perfect.


Thanks, but I don't see the option for audio. Mmm, I have a script blocker on, perhaps I need to do something with that. Okay, it's there with "Allow this page."


What little I checked out sounded pretty good - certainly superior to duolingo.

[deactivated user]

    Or, you could just use the Google Translate app, called Translate.


    Welcome and have fun reactivating your knowledge of German with the DL course.


    Duo's German pronunciation is bad??? Well that sucks, because I've been basing my pronunciation off of them.


    If you think the German pronunciation is bad, try listening to the American girl on the reverse ( German to English ) tree. She's awful! I feel sorry for the English learners being exposed to this voice. Since I speak with a decent accent in German, I don't mind the German voice as much; but I wouldn't base my pronunciation on her accent.


    luckuly im american so... ;)


    So I tried it, and I actually think she sounds fine. She does sound kind of like a robot, but wouldn't say she's awful. If a german spoke like her, except with a bit more emotion, I would say their English is good.


    Well, I only listened to a couple of sentences; maybe others are better. I do have trouble hearing the audio, even with my speakers turned way up. But as I said elsewhere, the audio - what little I heard there - on googletranslate sounds pretty good.

    I had turned of the sound when I was doing the Italian, because too much of the time I couldn't make it out. I think it did help me a little with pronunciation, but I wouldn't want to depend on it.


    Its like the GPS computer voice that sometimes mispronounces the names of your destination.................. D-R-I-V-E, P-O-I-N-T, 4, M-I-L-E-S, E-A-S-T.....LOL


    She is dreadful, isn't she. "I read books" in the present tense she pronounced as "I red books", I did provide feedback on that. But the very worst is "dogs"...how does she drawl it out as darrrgggsss, ugh, poor Germans.


    ya my aunt just got back from a tour in Germany and France and i said something to her in German and France and she said i wasn't pronouncing it right


    I think you should rather ask a native speaker, though. I think the German voice (at least the female one) is speaking pretty well; there are only a handful of sentences with odd pronounciation.

    [deactivated user]

      And the Apple German voice on VoiceOver is even worse!


      Sie sind beeindruckend Frau Susanna


      congras on your progress


      Don't worry about the genders, it will come with practice (also check out some videos on Youtube, they will give you tips on remembering some of the genders but the rules don't apply to everything). One thing that kept me going, is knowing even Germans mix them up sometimes too. Deutsch ist schwer, nicht unmoglich.


      Youtube is useless for me - I have slow dial-up internet access.

      I'm not really as bad on gender as I expected to be; a lot of the old stuff I learned is coming back to me, but I can make gender mistakes, even when I know better!

      [deactivated user]

        Do they also mix up their pronouns? The Dative/Accusative ones at least?


        Excuse me what does exactly mean do a "reverse tree" ?


        It's not available in all languages, but this is how it works: I took the course in Italian for speakers of English, then I took the course in English for speakers of Italian. Gives you a little different view, and more translation into the language you are trying to learn.


        I ended up meeting a German fellow a few days ago, and I must say he inspired me to learn the language. I've never really been around many German people - nor do I have prior experience with the language, but it is quite fun. Best of luck on your refresher course, and glad to hear how much progress you've made with your Italian! :-)


        Hi Susanna, I finished my German tree yesterday, after over a year of doing a little of it every day.

        My progress down the tree was deliberately slow (for a long time it was non-existent) while I worked mainly on either French, Italian or Spanish, but it picked up greatly once I started to use the excellent Memrise flashcards prepared by Bakpao. http://www.memrise.com/course/335725/comprehensive-german-duolingo-vocabulary/

        I found that if I learned the vocab for each lesson with Memrise before doing the Duo unit, I could then concentrate on working out the language patterns. The spaced repetition you get with the Memrise system helped me keep the words in my ageing brain.

        Good luck with the new tree.


        I probably go much too fast; I finished the Italian tree in two months, with only a little previous exposure to the language. German is different for me though, since I already studied it in college, and a very high percentage of the vocabulary is familiar to me - even if I don't remember the meanings right off the bat. A lot of the grammar is familiar, too.


        Congratulations on so much learning and relearning! You are inspiring me to keep moving along in German.


        I have also used duolingo to revise forty year old German. I remember a lot of vocabulary but rather less grammar. My children learnt German in school so I was able to help with their homework.

        I have not quite finished my French tree also forty year old revision but intend to do either German or Spanish properly next. I also keep making the same mistakes mainly to do with spelling in all languages including English.


        One of the mistakes I keep making in German is forgetting to capitalize the nouns. I know very well that all nouns are capitalized in German, but the Italian course wasn't picky about correct capitalization, either for Italian or English. And the German course doesn't seem to care about English capitalization, either. Otherwise, I would have already been in the habit of capitalizing when required by the rules of the languages.

        [deactivated user]

          I am amazed by how much I am commenting just on this one discussion, but me too! I tend to not capitalize the nouns either!


          It seems silly to require the capitalizations of the nouns, when they don't even demand the capitalizations of sentences. It seems to me that is base in most, if not all, European languages.


          Not capitalizing the sentence doesn't change its meaning; Not capitalizing a noun may very well do. There are sentences that change the meaning depending on what you capitalize:

          Der Gefangene floh - the prisoner fled
          der gefangene Floh - the captured flea


          I can see why it could be confusing, but surely context would show you which it was. I'm trying to think of situations in English where something similar might apply, but, of course, when I try to think of it, my mind goes blank. Hm, there is a case I know of - not with a noun and modifier, but where a noun looks exactly like a verb. The verb is "lead" meaning to guide - the noun is "lead" - meaning a very heavy metal. They are pronounced differently but look exactly alike, and I can't imagine a context where you would mistake one for the other.

          [deactivated user]

            Yes! Why not let context decide?


            To Annie18010 - I agree; I certainly cannot see the two above examples ever being used even in the same paragraph, let alone the same context.

            Of course, it is reasonable to try to do things correctly, but I think perhaps the emphasis is a little lopsided.


            Surely you can find out by context what's meant, but if you read it wrong the first time, you have to go back and re-read the sentence once the context tells you what it's really about. There have been studies showing that you read much faster in German with correct capitalization, since your eye jumps to the important nouns. Besides, it comes across as very sloppy to ignore it, so if you want to write in German one day, it's better to train yourself now to write correctly.


            (Replying to your last post). It's very true that you should learn to write correctly in a language you are learning - but shouldn't that also including capitalizing sentences? And punctuation? Quite often, not using the correct punctuation can be confusing at the best, and changing a meaning entirely at the worst.

            [deactivated user]

              Wait what?!! You're kidding me!


              I have noticed that, just as in the Italian course, there is very little translation into the target language. I think I get perhaps just one or two exercises in each lesson. Sometimes, I think, none.


              You have done a great job so far!!!! 100 something XP.........WOW ; ) I'm taking Spanish, but I don't have much time to do it. Anyway, Keep it up!!!! Oh yeah, and could you please follow me? i would appreciate it! no one has so far : (


              Whoa! That is amazing!

              [deactivated user]

                Thing is, we DID learn how to punctuate correctly and capitalize and all, but German decided to change its rules!!!!!!!!!!!


                Good luck to you! I just started German, as I have an interest in learning. I had starting using Duolingo to review Spanish (from all the way back in middle and high school), and thought trying something new would be fun!


                Congrats!!! Very impressive!

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