I have just finished my first book in German! Thank you, Duolingo!
My native language is Czech and I am obviously able to communicate comprehensively in English, but I've been learning German since I-do-not-know-when with shorter or longer breaks. For instance, I've relearned basics in short span of time before my vacation in Austria and Switzerland few years ago and then forgot most of it, you know how it goes...
I am approaching the end of German tree. Slowly, but steadily. As a supplementary resource I grabbed a book in German and now...it has been read! :-)
Hi AmberjackCZ, as an American who once lived in Berlin, I found your post interesting. Although I haven't spoken German fopr years, Duolingo has been a great refresher course for me. I read German very often to keep the language fresh in my mind. A book that might interesr you is "Knulp" by Hermann Hesse. It's a short story about a German vagabond. Alles Gute!
Thank you for your tip! I am of course interested in German literature. But for now I am sticking to the terrain I know pretty well. I am going to read Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings, The Song of Ice and Fire and so on. Until I get that language into my blood :-)
So glad to read your story. Like Raisinnoir, I'm an American who lived in Berlin (and elsewhere in Germany), for many years. When I visited Prague for a week a few years ago, I'd planned to get around using German. I'd assumed from talking to old friends and reading Milan Kundera that I'd get along just fine with German in the Czech Republic. Sadly, for me at least, this was not the case. I somehow muddled through with English, where this was possible. Maybe next time I'll have more luck? Or maybe learn some Czech in the meantime!
Yeah, German is not a language to use in here. English is crushing everything (but not everyone is close to be at least somehow fluent). It hadn't been it always this way. German once was really widespread in Czech Republic, but its using diminished. Although it is very valuable (Czech Republic is the only non-German speaking country having border with both Austria and Germany) and widely requested by employers.
I think it depends on how much of a beginner you are. Any German book that isn't aimed at 1st grade and below will be difficult for someone in the A levels to read. Although Harry Potter does have some advantages. It's aimed at a younger audience, but the language isn't dumbed down, so it's much better practice than using strictly material for language learners. It's even better if you've already read the book in English, because then you'll have context for what's going on, so it should be easier to learn new words from it. Definitely try it if you have the chance. Worst case, you'll have the book, and can come back to it later after some more months of learning.
Also, you just inspired me to purchase this :)
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen :-)
I needed a common sense, my previous knowledge (I've read the book both in Czech and English and seen the movie) and yes, I needed dictionary for some words. But to be honest, I haven't been translating everything. Sometimes I just left the sentence and moved on.
Just a few XPs a day. 10 is okay, really. And I grabbed that book and just go through it. I didn't understand everything, but I fought on. And now it is behind me and I have read a few first pages of Das Lied von Eis und Feuer (which I've also read in Czech and English) and it is easier this time!
That's my motivation! And yes, now I got 70 XPs on Duo. Tomorrow it may be only 10, who knows, but I keep going.
Keep your eyes on the prize, as they say. Think about why you want to learn German. Then picture yourself successfully communicating in your target language, whether it's speaking to people, reading a Harry Potter (or any other) book, listening to radio or watching TV in that language. This approach has worked very well for me. And, as AmberjackCZ suggests, try hard to do a bit every day.
I initially set my goal at 50 XPs per day, but now I routinely do hundreds a day. Of course, my next flight to Spain leaves in under three weeks. That's my prize.