Moving to Berlin...eek!
Hi Duolingists, hope you're all having a smashing day.
I am moving to Berlin in January to start a PhD (that part is written a supervised in English, so no worries in that respect) but of course I want to be speaking German in pretty much all other contexts, plus I have to be able to read academic German in order to use the library facilities. Ouch. Does anyone have any tips on the best ways to become as fluent as possible in 6 months? Any good German TV sites I could see my fave shows on? Good German music to listen to? A TARDIS style translator of all languages that I could purchase and have installed directly into my brain?
Hi, How much German do you already know? :) Can you move there early and take intensive classes there? Can you take intensive classes where you are? :) Watch programs on DasErste.com, and check out DeutscheWelle. Sofort! :) Oh, and if you google German grammar.pdf you will be amazed.
Does your doctoral program require you to pass a language exam? If so, I really advise doing this now because if your program is anything like mine was you will be reading at least 1,500 pages a week, plus book reviews, and writing multiple 30 page papers simultaneously. Do the language stuff now, because you won't be able to do it later. :)
I don't have to pass a language exam, thankfully. Apart from using the library, my PhD will be conducted in English from supervision to writing. It's actually Latin and Old English I need for that directly...but I don't think that have Duolingo those!!!
Interesting! As a grammar geek, I've always wanted to learn the various inflections/declensions of OE. Sadly there's almost no resources for learning it in my environment :(
There are internet sources out there! And a few good books you could get off Amazon! Follow your Old English dreams!
In addition to Duolingo, some of my favourite resources have been:
Michel Thomas audio courses -- a bit pricey to buy, but worth it in my opinion, and many public libraries have them available for loan.
German podcasts from http://podclub.ch/
Anki (specifically, Ankidroid on my phone) with downloaded shared vocabulary decks for drilling flashcards.
For conversation I'm lucky enough to have some tame Germans available, so I haven't had to go looking for language exchange websites, but there are plenty to choose from (Italki seems to get mentioned a lot). If you have a Goethe-Institut in your city, it will probably be a useful source of conversational partners and (if you have the time and money) taught courses.
More recently I've come across http://lingojam.co/ , which provides some very natural and realistic dialogue, at least by language course standards! (Topics include things like "getting caught without a ticket on the U-Bahn" and "buying a treatment for your hangover".) The level is relatively advanced, so I wouldn't start with this one, but for everyday German it's a good bet.
This is just a tiny selection from the incredible wealth of German-learning material available online and elsewhere. The problem tends to be not so much finding resources, as choosing where to begin. The resources on http://dw-world.de/ alone are enough to keep you going for a long time :).
Thanks, that's all really helpful!! Will definitely need to know how to get hangover cures...
Good German music? Wagner's Ring Cycle, 15 hours of glorious music, with dense, high-level German.
My German is basic at best, but I can recommend you a couple things to get immersed. One, there's a YouTube channel called Get Germanized, where it teaches you declensions(grammar) to the culture. Also, another YouTube channel called Easy Languages provide multiple videos on learning German through immersion. They are basically interviews of random people in Germany.
Music wise I only know Auf Uns by Adreas Bourani, but it's one of my favorite songs :) Overall, good luck on your endeavor. If only I could get an opportunity to live in Paris...
Yes I love Get Germanized!! Will definitely watch more, and the Easy Languages. Thanks!
Find more of Andreas songs. His earlier stuff is beautiful. 'Nur in meinem Kopf' is addictive.
Hi ecmbennett, I think I have some tips for you, I want to go to university in Berlin too surprisingly xD! (Though that's a long way off)
Okay, the main thing I can recommend to help you become fluent is Italki. On Italki you can find yourself a professional or informal German tutor who also speaks English if you'd like. I recommend you go for a professional teacher if you're aiming for fluency and learning. They have an hourly rate but if you need you can find teachers with fairly low prices. You organize a lesson time and then have a lesson over Skype, you can talk to each other to improve your conversational German, or you can ask them to teach you about something you'd like to learn. You can think of a topic to talk about before the lesson and if it's a good teacher they should be able to keep the conversation going with new topics :).
Sorry for the overwhelming wall of text but I hope this helped :D! (There is some articles about Italki on the blog "fluentin3months.com" if you need more info!)
Have fun in Berlin and good luck with your PhD!
I hope, you'll have a great time in Berlin! For some immersion in advance 5 Berlin related songs:
Seeed - Dickes B: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYK-NfOo7b4
Kraftklub - Ich will nicht nach Berlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqWBl9DB3Yg
Gloria - Eigenes Berlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I-OJBHcZn8
Peter Fox: Schwarz zu blau: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK93R8mg1no
And a classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp-eQqo__Ks
I had a classmate once who started only consuming media in his target language (Japanese). He read Japanese books, set his computer language and browser to Japanese, listened to Japanese, and basically just surrounded himself in all things Japanese so that he spent more time with Japanese than English.
If your German is not at a level where you can consume a ton of media yet, I recommend checking out ReadLang. You click on words in your browser and it will give you the definition in English. I really love this tool, personally and think it would be very useful to you.
Yep I changed my Ipad and phone to German but I ended up getting too angry when I couldn't send texts easily in English...darn. But it was a good exercise! Thanks for the ReadLang tip too :)
If it's an iPhone, you can switch between German and English by tapping the little world icon between the number button and the mic button. I do this for Eng/Swe.
Good suggestions here but I will say, if you want to truly become fluent, your best bet would be to go to Germany early and take a 3 month intensive course, or even better two 3 month intensive courses. Duolingo, German TV, grammar books, and language exchange are all very helpful and great but I've found that the most studious and motivated people can get to level B1-B2 on their own (and this is with a whole lot of motivation and interaction with native speakers), but for the journey from B2-C2 (C2 being native speaker level fluency, often the standard needed to study in German) you really need an actual teacher to help you and push you forward. The intensive classes here are great- usually 3 months long, five days a week, 4-5 hours a day. Relatively inexpensive as well, especially if you go through the Volkshochschule of whatever city you move to. Best of luck, you have a great opportunity :)
Thank you :) Yes an intensive course would have been ideal but I have to finish my MA first - so right now I'm juggling dissertation, work, and trying to learn Latin, Old English and German and will be until pretty much the end of the year :( Thank you for the advice though, there may be a way I could do it alongside my studies at the beginning!
Not sure what level you are but if you have a good base already and in order to move towards "academic German", you could start familiarising yourself with a more formal yet contemporary register of the language by reading German broadsheets like www.zeit.de and www.faz.de. You could initially focus on news content, which you are already familiar with and then move on to opinion articles and the cultural sections (Feuilleton).
Don't worry about it too much. Most people will understand what you mean with the words you know. When reading a paragraph, look at the words you know, not the ones you don't know. it will make sense then.
What I like to do with language learning is to watch you tubers in my target language. So why don't you look some German videos ? You can search for exemple : let's Play Dead Island 2 Deutsch. That's just an exemple, I don't know what you like
German netflix is the way to go! You can immerse yourself in movies and tv shows while having english subtitles to help!
For my other languages, French and Russian, I watch Youtubers from France and Russia. They're great for hearing conversational speech, and some of the videos are even subtitled. I don't know of any German Youtubers, but I'm sure they're out there, and silly internet videos can be a more fun way to get in listening practice, at least for me =))
Others have mentioned most of these, but I particularly like:
Start with Michel Thomas. This will get you off and running. Then head over to italki.com and do a search for native German speakers to do a free language exchange with via Skype. Once you have accumulated a few Skype friends, you don't need the italki website anymore. Alternatively you can pay for a tutor.
Podcasts: SBS German, High Noon (Fritz), Deutsche Welle Top Thema and Langsam Gesprochene Nachtrichten (with text), Der Schone Morgen (Radioeins), Slow German Podcast Then try some good German films with subtitles. I recommend any classic German films by Werner Herzog or Rainer Fassbinder. Plus 'The Lives of Others'. Try the film again without subtitles.
Duolingo is the best to start you off here, just head into the Immersion section as soon as possible. Once you are translating Immersion articles without resorting too much to other sources, you can try German websites and books with a dictionary at hand. Obviously German literature is spoilt for choice - Kafka, Mann, Hesse, Brecht etc.
Lang-8 - the best free resource you have to correct your writing.
Memrise. For best results, take a Memrise German Duolingo vocab course alongside your Duolingo course.
P.S: I have a little plan of my own to live in Berlin sometime soon. Might see you around!
Like coolazice's idea of dividing your studies into conversation, listening, reading, writing and vocabulary. However, since you're short on time, I'd focus practically on 1. vocabulary areas you might need first, 2. find an instructor or language partner that will force you to use the vocabulary. 3. Listen to the local TV and radio to see how it sounds. 4. Buy a good wortschatz that divides vocabulary by subject area. Then use an on-demand study technique, to boost your vocabluary for specific situations.
tnel1 already mention Das Erste. ARD, ZDF and Arte are also good options, but since you are going to Berlin you could try RBB. It is the Berlin Regional TV station. The website has links to several decent TV shows and 7 radio stations (I've only listened to one). The "Der Berlin-Brandenburg Check" might be a good start since it talks about the local area. Or maybe search "Berlin" on http://podcast.de for something area that interests you.
I also did a search of newspapermap.com for Berlin, Germany. It will help with learning German and let you know about local events and news. Here are the newspapers that were listed:
Finally, you might as well spend a bit of time getting to know the city, while you're learning the language. The Official Berlin Visitors Site has information on a ton of activities in German and if you change the de to en, you get an instant english translation.