Ich Habe Eine Frage

Have any of you ever used any Rosetta Stone tapes? I want to work on my German. Anyone have any they want to sell?

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102 replies
  1. 1
    Garm says:

    Have you tried DuoLingo? It’s a free app. I’ve had some success with picking up a bit of Spanish and refreshing my German.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    PaulW says:

    get my brother on the phone. Eric self-taught German and got pretty good at it. I took a college course and flunked out… :(

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    No German language CDs to sell, but my hubby used RS to beef up his Spanish language skills, with limited success. He learned enough to converse haltingly (making terrible errors!) with Spanish-speaking coworkers, but he says learned a helluva lot more just talking to them and listening than he learned with RS.

    Another friend swears that you’ll pick up quite a bit watching TV shows in whatever language you’re trying to learn.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    My cousin’s in Germany working and one of the systems he’s using is Pimuleur. Impression I get is there’s a difference between tourist oriented courses and those working at more deep proficiency. plus all the inherent variation due to personal learning styles. My Aunt’s also found some via the public library.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Ich habe keine Antworten.

  7. 7
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Also worth a look — UT Austin’s free textbook-video package, Deutch im Blick.
    Deutche Welle, the German national broadcaster, has several different courses/programs….
    And many public libraries have subscriptions to the Rosetta-Stone-esque Mango
    Also, deutschakademie.de

    All free. Das heißt, kostenlos.

  8. 8
    ADS says:

    Not a full course, but I’ve found this an interesting read and a nice idea: http://www.amazon.com/Cracking.....038;sr=1-3

  9. 9
    Anoniminous says:

    Might want to check your local library. They have language learning CDs available either directly or over the internet as well as other learning aids.

  10. 10
    Keith G says:

    I hear that the NSA has a very good German language program.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:Why in the hell would you ever go to that rathole Helen EVER?

  12. 12
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    I’m fond of the Pod101 family. Duolingo is also good.

    Get a decent basic tourist-level grounding in the grammar, then watch videos on YouTube. Stream the news services. And find someone to talk to. (The Pod101 group is good for that. Well, the Japanese and Spanish subsets are; I assume the German would work the same.)

  13. 13
    🚸 Martin says:

    Since you work where you work…

    Find an exchange student from Germany. I’d be shocked if you didn’t have some. Help him/her with english – German students usually have quite good english skills but struggle with idiomatic speech, local conventions etc. Probably other services you can exchange – teach them how to barbecue, etc. Language exchanges are fairly popular here. I’ll be doing that for mandarin soon.

  14. 14
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Three link limit caught this one; Deutschakademie.de. Auch kostenlos…

  15. 15
    jayjaybear says:

    I’ll second DuoLingo, and it’s free. I understand some of the less popular language courses on there are iffy (Croatian, etc.) but the big four (French, German, Spanish, Italian) are pretty good.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    It’s always better in the original German.

    My cousin tried to use Rosetta Stone to improve her German before a family trip there a few years ago. They’ve been going on and off for years but this time they were staying longer. FWIW, she felt they didn’t help her much.

  17. 17
    MGB says:

    I’m actually taking German courses again, as my college German became quite rusty. For me personally, having a teacher in front of me, correcting my mistakes works better than language tapes. I know the Goethe Institut teaches German all over the US. Not sure if they are in your location, but it’s a start.


  18. 18
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Disaggregating for the three link limit:

    Also worth a look — UT Austin’s free textbook-video package, Deutch im Blick.
    Deutche Welle, the German national broadcaster, has several different courses/programs…. all levels, esp. good for intermediate and above.

  19. 19
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Disaggregating for the three-link limit:

    And many public libraries have subscriptions to the Rosetta-Stone-esque Mango

  20. 20
    tesslibrarian says:

    Since Davis X. already mentioned Mango, you could also try just listening to some German radio.

    I’ve found it useful when I’m doing French translation (archival access instructions, etc., for my research trip in November) to have French news and features playing in the background. It keeps any English out of my head (such as a song lyric or just your own wandering throughts) and when I understand a phrase or sentence, it feels like victory.

    Live streams of EU radio stations can be found here.

  21. 21
    tc says:

    Duolingo is awesome, but I find it’s more useful for learning vocabulary than for improving conversational proficiency. For tapes/CDs, I far prefer the Michel Thomas method to Rosetta Stone. I used it to brush up on my French and Italian, but I bet the German’s great, too.

  22. 22

    I must second the suggestion of Pimsleur. I haven’t tried German, but my native-speaking wife — and Spanish teacher — was very pleasantly surprised at the Spanish I learned through Pimsleur.

  23. 23
    Yatsuno says:

    Steeplejack used Pimsleur for Portuguese when his brother married a Brazilian. He says it worked pretty well but my understanding is it works better if you have zero background in the language. Probably why I’ve been hesitant on their Japanese program although I’d love to speak that a lot better than I do.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    And one final series, on YouTube. Deutsch für Euch, with its adorable hostess… Not totally professional, but totally toll.

  25. 25
    Bunter says:

    The Foreign Service language courses are available for free FSI Language Courses I don’t know how outdated they are, but worth a try.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    @Davis X. Machina: There’s the one my aunt is using. Why I was stuck on Peaches only I knew it was wrong. . . .

    ETA, also, a number of radio stations have simplified and/or slowed down news broadcasts for non-natives /learners. Have a friend that relies a lot on those.

  27. 27
    Mayken says:

    I used the online version so nothing to sell here either but I used RS to beef up my 6 years of German classes when our company was bought out by a subsidiary of Bosch several years back. Also got the Chinese series when we decided to adopt from PRC. I felt the German was very good, helped me get back up to speed pretty well. I would suggest that if you are already somewhat conversant, start later in the series. Chinese is so-so. There is not a lot of focus on helping you learn the tones which is rather important to the language. The German version seemed less forgiving during the speaking sessions than the Chinese.
    Happy refreshing!

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    And then there’s the Zompist phrasebook, for those special situations:


  29. 29
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @tesslibrarian: Along those lines Deutsche Welle has a super helpful slow version of their top-of-the-hour news rip-and-read, with transcripts. I put it on the iPod, on loop.

  30. 30
    Stella B. says:

    Language study is my hobby. I have not been impressed with RS as it does not work well with my learning style and is super expensive. There is also a huge array of cheaper stuff and free stuff on line. Google FSI language and you can down load beginning through advanced courses for free. It’s a drill and conversation oriented approach, which might or might not work for you, but the price is right thanks to the American taxpayer. I like the Living Languages series myself. I used the Italian book to get started with that language and found it useful. Also, for grammar the Practice Makes Perfect series is well done and reasonably priced. There are some great amateur videos on You Tube that are especially good for pronunciation. The conversationexchange and italki websites are good for finding a language partner to swap with by Skype or e-mail. The italki site can help you find a paid teacher that you can work with by Skype. Blogs, internet radio, and internet TV are great resources too.

    I studied German in HS and college and worked on a US Army post in Germany for a while. Finding someone who wouldn’t answer me in English when I tried to speak German was tough.

  31. 31
    pacem appellant says:

    I use Pimsleur language lessons, and while I am somewhat good at picking up languages, at least long enough to make passable impression, Pimsleur taught me enough Greek that when I stepped away to use the restroom, the waitress got flustered because the one Greek-speaking member of our party wasn’t there to translate!

    I have taken Spanish and French lessons as well, not through Pimsleur, and nobody has ever asked how I got so good at those languages.

    Take that datum for what it is worth.

  32. 32
    retr2327 says:

    @Bunter: I like the FSI courses quite a bit, and also Pimsleur. There’s a lot more to the FSI courses than there is in Pimsler, but they can be somewhat dated. For instance, the Spanish FSI has these phrases discussing the need for a new secretary: “Is it necessary that she be pretty? Yes, it’s necessary that she be pretty. Is it necessary that she be intelligent? No, it’s not necessary that she be intelligent.”

    Bit of a blast from the past in that sequence, no?

  33. 33
    Emma says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Mango is really good for pronunciation and beginning conversation.

    John, if you get a membership to Audible.com, you can download the Pimsleur lessons fairly inexpensively. For like $22 a month you can download two works, meaning two packages of lessons. I am using them to brush up on my Portuguese. There are also tons of other language education tapes available. Only warning is make sure you’re not downloading individual lessons. Find the 5-lesson ot 10-lesson packages.

  34. 34
    Evelyn says:

    I second/third Duolingo. Their user-experience is top-notch and I’ve actuall enjoyed brushing up on my German. You can use it for free via their website, or they also have a really well-designed app that is easy to use on your smartphone.

  35. 35
    snoey says:

    Seabass School of German – group lessons free with admission


  36. 36
    🚸 Martin says:

    @Stella B.: Wow, the FSI Chinese module is from 1979. No wonder our agents are having so much trouble stopping the Chinese technological threats.

  37. 37
    1weirdTrick says:

    I recommend checking out Rocket German. I downloaded the Rocket Spanish program and thought it had more creativity than the Pimsleur cds I had been using. RS had more exercises where you took the place of one of the speakers in the conversation and replied to what the other speaker said, which felt more real. And the program was created in the last decade, so the topic material felt modern… instead of the vaguely 1970s feeling I had with some of the Pimsleur exercises.

    I bought the first course… and then ignored the pleading emails to buy more until they eventually made a half-price offer… at which point I bought the 2nd and 3rd courses.

    They’ve expanded and they’re offering other languages, too. Including German. Link to a 6 day free trial. http://www.rocketlanguages.com/german/premium/

    Here’s a review from PC Mag http://www.pcmag.com/article2/.....636,00.asp

  38. 38
    Heliopause says:

    I want to work on my German.

    Your sex life is of no interest to us.

  39. 39
    AkaDad says:

    Wischen während nackt ist eine schlechte Idee.

  40. 40
    Regnad Kcin says:

    Wenn wir aber einen BJStammtisch hätten…

    The wife tried Pimsleur w some success, but I find spoken learning insufficient and need a full grammar to back it up.

    Ditto, though, on watching German TV…

  41. 41
    Davis X. Machina says:

    OT. Moving on the wires

    Former Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, who in 2001 tipped control of the Senate when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent, died Monday. He was 80

  42. 42
    Shakezula says:

    I once asked someone who worked for the Center for the Advanced Study of Languages about Rosetta Stone and he said all computer-based learning methods are not the ideal way to [re]learn a language, but Rosetta Stone interactive is the least bad of the lot. Their copyright protections are so stringent I don’t know if you can buy a used set of CDs, they call them now.

    Non-interactive programs are essentially balls unless you are blessed with the ability to accurately gauge your pronunciation.

    I second the people who say find another human being who’ll sit down and talk to you.

  43. 43
    Flounder says:

    I used a course from a company called Fluenz for picking up some Spanish. After some research I judged it to be superior to RS.

  44. 44
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Regnad Kcin:

    I find spoken learning insufficient and need a full grammar to back it up.

    Same here, which is why I liked JapanesePod101 and SpanishPod101 so much. (Also, native speakers from multiple regions.) There’s a set of free podcasts. The paid version has more podcasts, written exercises, and tutoring available.

    My big complaint with DuoLingo Spanish is that I had to look up the basic grammar elsewhere. It’s great as a review tool.

  45. 45
    Bobby B. says:

    After you reach a Certain Age your ability to learn foreign languages deteriorates rapidly, and most past the Certain Age crap out after the three-gendered nouns stuff. To be honest, I crapped out in high school Latin class.

  46. 46
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bobby B.:

    To be honest, I crapped out in high school Latin class.

    An ideal language for adult learners. Speed isn’t a factor.

  47. 47
    Stella B. says:

    A real German speaking human is definitely the Cadillac approach. The italki website is perfect for an elderly shut-in like our bloghost.

  48. 48
    Nicole says:

    I use both duolingo and babbel for learning language (Spanish, in my case). Duolingo, as someone mentioned upthread, is free, and babbel is pretty cheap- like $8 a month. I like them both a lot. I know they both offer German. Babbel is the more challenging of the two in how they teach, but it also makes more sense- it explains grammatical stuff well and also has sections where you say the phrases and it scores you. Highly recommend both.

  49. 49
    Suzanne says:

    Mr. Suzanne is a language nerd (and a professional SLP), and he recommends Duolingo.

  50. 50
    GregB says:

    Douchebag uber Coles.

    Someone needs to do a Balloon Juice mash-up with the Hitler tirade scene from Downfall.

  51. 51
    JCJ says:


    Wischen während nackt ist eine schlechte Idee

    Das ist bestimmt ein guter Rat.

  52. 52
    raven says:

    @Bobby B.: Ah, Krashen and the old Fossilization !

  53. 53
    Just One More Canuck says:

    My wife’s grandmother speaks only German, so when I met her for the first time, I said “Wie gehts, meine schatz”

    The only other German I know is backpfeifegesicht

  54. 54
    Dayle says:

    My Dad ordered and has the Rosetta Stone German set – never been opened. If your interested please send me a message. Thanks,

  55. 55
    EriktheRed says:

    Warum fragst du, John? Willst du Deutschland wieder besuchen?

  56. 56
    Origuy says:

    I did the Pimsleur recordings for Russian, as well as part of the Teach Yourself book. Pimsleur is excellent for getting the sounds right. There’s a lot of repetition, which is necessary, but can be annoying when they repeat stuff you’ve gotten and slight stuff you’ve not. Since it’s almost all audio (there’s a reading lesson for Russian to learn Cyrillic), you don’t learn to read it well, so you need other stuff for that. It doesn’t go into the grammar much but you learn a lot indirectly.
    I bought the Rosetta Stone program after I came back from Moscow. I like it but it’s harder to keep going since you have to set aside time on the computer that takes away from blogging, gaming, etc. The writing lessons are a pain until you learn the Cyrillic keyboard. Probably not a problem for German.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    For French, I used Pimsleur (tapes), Rosetta Stone (computer program), and Tell Me More (computer program). Pimsleur is great for walks or bike rides (if there are no cars and you don’t mind looking dumb). In terms of computer programs, Tell Me More was far better for me than Rosetta Stone, which insists on “immersion” in terms of never explaining anything in English. This seems great, but resulted in huge gaps in my knowledge that could’ve been cleared up with ten seconds of explanation. (A good example would be in Swedish where “hus” means “house” and “huset” means “the house”; hours and hours of Rosetta Stone picture courses left me totally in the dark.)

    Rosetta Stone apparently just bought Tell Me More, so maybe things are changing. It was/is free for me through the university.

    Last thing: I think it’s important to accept that it’ll take tons of time and effort, often feeling like you’re getting nowhere. Maybe I’m just bad at languages, but that’s my story.

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:

    I would just like to note that I, with some help from Dr. Google, correctly diagnosed Mr. Suzanne. Medical degree?! FEH.

  59. 59
    JCJ says:

    Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh

    Was ist los mit dir, mein Schatz? Uh-huh
    Geht es immer nur Berg ab? Uh-huh
    Nicht nur das was du verstehst. Uh-huh.
    This is what you’ve got to know
    Loved you though it didn’t show

    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh
    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh
    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh

    Da da da
    Da da da
    Da da da

    Soso du denkst es ist zu spät. Uh-huh
    Und du meinst daß nichts mehr geht. Uh-huh
    Und die Sonne wandert schnell. Uh-huh
    After all is said and done
    It was right for you to run

    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh
    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh
    Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht. Uh-huh

    Da da da
    Da da da
    Da da da

  60. 60
    ericblair says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Along those lines Deutsche Welle has a super helpful slow version of their top-of-the-hour news rip-and-read, with transcripts. I put it on the iPod, on loop.

    I listen to these too: the slo-mo reading is really helpful, since it gives you a bit of time to think about the words. It depends on how good your existing German is (this is geared more for high-intermediate low-advanced), and on what you want to learn. If all you listen to is the news, you’ll get real good at saying things like “the defense minister this week demanded a report on the refugee crisis” and not so good at “may I have more towels please.” However, dw.de does have a lot of other stuff that fills the gaps.

  61. 61
    Bunter says:

    @retr2327: Oh, yeah, the Hungarian one has all these Iron Curtain references that date it terribly. But free and pretty thorough I think.

  62. 62
    Craig says:

    If you like Rosetta, then by all means use it. I’m going to say that it’s not my cup of tea–for a number of reasons, but most importantly because the typical Rosetta Stone sentence seems to be “There is a blue ball on the table, and two red balls under it.” Now, yes, you have to be able to say that sentence if you ever want to call yourself “fluent,”* but it’s a long way down the road in terms of what you want to learn today, and what you are going to use in a simple conversation with German speakers. I’ve ordered a lot of beers in cafes, but I’ve never really discussed the number, color, and relative location of three balls.

    Anyway, plus one for Pimsleur. I’ve studied German and French to a semi-conversational proficiency, and Pimsleur has been the cornerstone of my education each time. You get good pronunciation, an intuitive feel for how to put sentences together (German word order has never been the least problem for me, and I credit Pimsleur), and at almost every step of the way, I feel that the lessons are giving me the single most important thing I can learn today.

    In fact, and this is no lie, I just this morning started Pimsleur Japanese in anticipation of a trip there in 2016. I’d hate to learn a language without it.

    (* Come to think of it, I’m not sure whether a ball would “stehen” or “liegen” on a table. I’m guessing “stehen.”)

  63. 63
    Denali says:

    Pimsleur will give you a free online first lesson to give you a sample of how it works. We used it to learn some beginners Hungarian(a very difficult language) and were pretty happy with its approach. It is much cheaper than Rosetta Stone, I think.

  64. 64
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Okay, this is going to sound like a weird request, but since there are people here who know German, there’s a German song I’ve been looking for for a while. I sang it for some choir thing years ago, and I can’t remember what it was called, or most of the lyrics, because German.

    But! I remember the bridge and the chorus (the chorus was very easy to remember) but not how everything’s spelled so bear with me.

    Unter zagte, blase wieder unter gute zagter blise

    Chorus: (Just a bunch of la’s, really) So la-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a ray la-a-a-a-a-a-a-a (and so on)

    Seemed to be about going into the woods. Does anybody have even the slightest clue what I’m talking about?

  65. 65
    kc says:

    Looking forward to you cussing us out and calling assholes in German.

  66. 66
    Culture of Truth says:

    I know a little German.

  67. 67
    wasabi gasp says:

    A little bossa nova to set the mood.

  68. 68
    stickler says:

    @A Humble Lurker: No idea about the song, but correcting your German and searching the Google machine led me to a Goethe poem, “Die Bekehrte,” or “The Repentant Shepherdess.”

    Link: http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.....extId=6297

    For our bloghost, short of going to an immersion program like the Goethe Institut hosts (in Germany), the best way to brush up in German is probably talking to a live German. Less useful but still doable is watching the German news or translated shows (The Simpsons in German is hysterical).

    Finally, just because you should, get the director’s cut of Das Boot, turn off the subtitles, and enjoy two hours of undersea drama. “Der läuft auf uns zu!” “Tauchen! Tauchen!” “Torpedo los!” Lots of fun and drama, with a happy end to boot (!).

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven: Used to take out of town visitors there. Don’t think I’ll do that anymore (unless I really dislike them).

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That’s one helluva price spread.

  71. 71
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Мне нужно немецком, русском и японском языках для моего порно.

  72. 72
    gogol's wife says:


    You mean “My hovercraft is full of eels?”

  73. 73
    gogol's wife says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    Your grammar is horrific.

  74. 74
    ericblair says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Your grammar is horrific.

    My govorim po Googolskiy.

  75. 75
    Tommy T says:

    “Ist Ihr Tochter achtzehn, bitte?”

  76. 76
    Svensker says:


    Duolingo is great. It’s free and you can do reading/writing/listening/speaking and move ahead at your own pace. I really like it.

  77. 77
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    From my experience (French & German in school, a short course in Italian & a smattering of Czech, Serbo-Croatian, modern Greek, Hungarian, & Russian) I would recommend the following procedure:

    1. Refresh your basic grammatical knowledge. Don’t get balled up in the details & exceptions. Best resource I’ve found for that is a cheap old Dover Books series, Essential XXXX Grammar, which focus on the 98% most commonly encountered usages. The German version is all of 90 pages long in the substance. (I may have an extra copy floating around.)

    2. Get hold of vocabulary lists & start constructing sentences using them. There are any number of small books with such lists, but what I also have found helpful is another series of cheap & small Dover Books, Say It In XXXX. Much of it is outdated & clunky but occasionally they get into this nice rhythm of presenting a phrase & then listing vocabulary for ringing changes on it. Example from the restaurant section of Say It in Modern Greek (happens to be handy at the moment) without the Greek:

    470. Bring me the menu (the wine list).
    471-484. A plate; a knife; a fork; a large spoon; a teaspoon; the bread; the butter; the cream; the sugar; the salt; the pepper; the sauce; the oil; the vinegar.

    A German-English pictorial dictionary may also be helpful for vocabulary if you’re more visually oriented.

    Good luck–I’m currently bouncing back & forth between Teach Yourself Croatian and Teach Yourself Serbian with a weather eye out for the minor differences each side has introduced to pretend that they’re different languages. (FTR Sicilian & Sardinian dialects are significantly more distinct from l’italiano fiorentino than srpski is from hrvatski.)

  78. 78
    SectarianSofa says:

    Look for stuff on the internet (bbc had courses, there are many free lectures, open-course-ware) etc.. And then find someone to talk to. Unless you want to just read, then you also have dual-language books, the internet again, and various world papers and magazines online.
    But if you want to speak the language, unless you are very good at picking up languages, you’re going to have to find someone to talk with. It’s very motivating when you are working hard not to sound like an idiot.

  79. 79
    Randy P says:

    @Keith G: That would be the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. And actually DLI has a bunch of free resources online that anyone can use, though you might find the ones focusing on military vocabulary a little specialized. Still there’s plenty of general purpose stuff.

  80. 80
    Xenos says:

    Fins some German music you like and use it to get pumped up for the project.


    Peter Fox

  81. 81
    Xenos says:

    Some other examples (I listen to tons of German radio but understand very little of it).



  82. 82
    Randy P says:

    @stickler: I think you’ve got it. The two lines “Und ich sagte: Blase wieder! Und der gute Junge blies” sound like what Humble Lurker was remembering.

    On movies, my German is very limited, but my wife and I on an impulse watched a German movie once in Switzerland (a silly musical called “Maerz Melodie”) and I felt like I got 75-80% of what was going on. I think the visual element helps when the vocabulary is missing.

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a copy of that movie that I know for sure has English subtitles to see how close I was. Listings on German websites never tell you the subtitle options.

  83. 83
    J R in WV says:

    I took Latin in HS too. The teacher had a cleft palate disability, which meant she was glad to teach a language that wasn’t really pronounced aloud. I was a straight C student the first year.

    But in the second year I started to have a better vocabulary, and things started to come to me a little easier, also we were starting to try to read real Roman authors. So one period I got a B. Then I aced a couple of tests.

    This class was way early in the morning, in order to be free at the end of the classroom day for Band. So I started out sitting right in front of the teacher to help me stay awake for the whole class, which I found unbrelievably boring.

    Then the teacher took me aside, and in a very nasty voice, accused me of cheating, saying “I don’t know how you’re doing it, but I know you are, and when I figure it out you will be dismissed with a failing grade!”

    I sat right in front of her!! The natural and ideal place to sit if you are intent on cheating. She also assumed that I cared what grade I got in Latin, which was so wrong I couldn’t even explain it rto her.

    I actually started to work hard at it for the very first time, and made A’s the rest of the second year, just to spite the horrid bitch. She never repeated her accusations, which was good because I intended to go straight to the principal if she did. Unbelievably stupid accusations against a student sitting 3 feet away from her.

    Never did any thing with it, as dead as Rome the empire now. I found in Spain and France that if you could say please and thank you that got you most of the way home. And my Android tablet was able to translate the coupld of times it was important and no one had a clue about English. Although I would have liked to be able to talk to folks in general, though.

    Amusingly, my cousin sat in the back of that same class, cheated up a storm while Teacher was watching me, made B’s right along, was never suspected as she was SO interested in Latin… right!

  84. 84

    I’ve heard Pimuleur is very good … can’t speak for Rosetta Stone. I think it depends on the student of course but in general, language learning via tape isn’t a good idea. Find a class somewhere, one that uses communicative language learning techniques. You need the spontaneity of live learning and feedback from other students, plus it’s just more fun than doing it on your own.

    I say this as an ESL teacher. I know how my adult students learn.

  85. 85
    otmar says:

    Es gibt hier ein paar Kommentatoren mit deutsche Muttersprache. Wenn du jemanden zum reden oder schreiben brauchst, dann frag einfach.

    Rosetta Stones & co kann ich nicht beurteilen, ich bin mit Deutsch aufgewachsen.

    @AkaDad: that’s not how a native speaker would put it.

  86. 86
    Bystander says:

    If the French that kid speaks in the commercial for Rosetta Stone is an example of one of their more proficient acolytes, you’ll be speaking German like Sid Caesar in a matter of weeks.

  87. 87
    SFAW says:

    I’ve tried Pimsleur for at least a couple of languages (Korean, don’t recall what else, maybe Russian or Mandarin), and found it painful, shut it off part way through the first unit. Maybe it’s just me, but I used to pick up languages – at least the basics – reasonably quickly. I was almost-fluent in Spanish, reasonably strong in German, a modest amount of Mandarin, somewhat less Cantonese, some Russian, some French, some Italian, but no Arabic, Hungarian (except for a couple of phrases regarding “bouncy-bouncy” and hovercrafts), or Tagalog.

    I’ve tried Korean lessons; I would have thought it would be easier to pick up than Mandarin, but I just can’t get the hang(ul) of it.

    Maybe I should try Mango or one of the other suggestions here, or maybe it’s just because I’m old.

  88. 88
    Meg says:

    I taught myself German with Assimil’s German with Ease.
    It was a lot of fun.

  89. 89
    smintheus says:

    One of the best and most painless ways to learn a foreign language is just to watch or listen to the international news in that language. As long as you already know the top news stories, then you quickly can pick up or improve your language skills. I learned basic German, Dutch, and Italian this way as a kid.

    Another painless way is to read a book you already know well (such as the Bible, or even better something actually interesting) translated into that language.

    Dating someone from that country is even easier and a lot more fun.

  90. 90
    Amir Khalid says:

    I taught myself German with Taking Off in German by Oxford Unversity Press. It’s one of a series of self-instruction packs with four or five CDs and a book, and it’s useful for communication but needs to be supplemented with your own extra work on grammar.

    Someone here recommended the Slow German podcast which I find informative plus very good for listening comprehension. I also recommend checking out YouTube for Monty Pythons Fliegender Zirkus — hilarious, especially das Bayerische Restaurantstück.

  91. 91
    ljdramone says:

    @Tommy T: “Ist Ihr Tochter achtzehn, bitte?”

    Hmm. Not very polite. How about:

    “Sehr geehrter Herr insert name here, vielleicht können Sie mir bitte sagen, wenn Ihre Tochter achtzehn ist?”

  92. 92
    Dog On Porch says:

    @smintheus: For history buffs, another method might be to listen to infamous recordings of the nazi era (Himmler at Posen, for example) while reading the corresponding English transcripts.

    I’ll never comprehend the German language, and being a WW2 history guy regret that fact very much. It would be fascinating to understand Hitler as he speaks in the newsreels of that nightmare era.

  93. 93
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @smintheus: Plus that way when someone asks “How’s your German?” you can say “Oh she’s fine thanks”. And watch confusion rise, ebb, rise again, and so on, at least momentarily. Or you know, he, as the case may be.

  94. 94
    Luojieli says:

    The problem with using someone else’s Rosetta Stone tapes is that they have an access code that is unique and if you try to use the tapes, they won’t sync with the Rosetta Stone online course without the access code. My recommendation is, like Garm above mentioned, go to Duolingo. Just practice one language skill on the beginning skill tree for 10 minutes, and you’ll be on your way.

  95. 95
    satby says:

    I also agree on Pimsleur. And I used the Foriegn Service Japanese ones a while ago.

  96. 96
    Pat says:

    kc, you’re such an Arschlog.

    John, no experience with Rosetta. I do not endorse Pimsleur terribly—it’s fine, as far as it goes, but it’s really slow. Plus the conversation is always the same, no matter the language—“Excuse me, miss. Do you understand English?” “I don’t understand English. Do you understand [Thai/Japanese/etc.]?” “I understand [Thai/Japanese/etc.] a little.” “I think you understand it very well. Are you an American?” etc.”

    For German, however, you’re in luck if you’re looking for free options. About the only nice thing I can say about iTunes is the excellent collection of free language podcasts in the iTunes Store, and German is unusually well represented. Deutsche Welle has several, including a news podcast (useful really only for advanced students; find the one with “Nachrichten” ), and I really liked their “Deutsch… warum nicht?” series of lessons. Then there’s tons of others with various focuses.

    Also let me recommend dict.leo.org as an online dictionary. Invaluable.

  97. 97
    smintheus says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Yes, very witty, thanks for the laugh. Wouldn’t quite work with all languages/girlfriends (“How’s your Danish”), but they didn’t work out in the end anyway.

  98. 98
    Sebastian says:

    Ich spreche Deutsch als Muttersprache und bin gerne bereit per Email zu korrespondieren.

    Ich bin die vorherigen Kommentare nur überflogen, habe allerdings keinen Vorschlag bezüglich einer ausgezeichneten Referenz oder Wörterbuchs gesehen. Das ist meiner Meinung nach etwas das ausserordentlich hilfreich ist und kann ruhigen Gewissens zu dict.leo.org raten.

    LEO ist ein Projekt der TU München und gilt allgemein als das beste Deutsch-Englisch Wörterbuch und schlägt Langenscheidt um längen.

    Glückwünsche zur Entscheidung Deutsch (wieder) lernen zu wollen! Respekt!

    Freundliche Grüsse,

  99. 99
    karounie says:

    John, I have an unused, sealed copy of Rosetta Stone German Level 1,2,3 CD-ROM software that I will happily send to you – because I am a very grateful mostly-lurker who would love to thank you for years of great blogginess. The set I have is one version older than the edition currently for sale (for several hundred dollars.) You would have your own unique serial number – possibly you could get a cheaper upgrade or you could just use this set as is. Email me if you want ’em.

  100. 100
    SFAW says:



    ArschloCH, bitte.

  101. 101
    catperson says:

    I like Rosetta Stone; it’s like taking a class in school which works for me. I can’t just listen to tapes. That said, I have a couple of friends who have had to do rapid language learning for immersion and they both swear by Pimsleur. It partly depends on how whether it’s more important for you to be able to read it or speak it. They’re both pretty expensive.

  102. 102
    Pat says:

    @SFAW: Oh, verdammt. Off to the language tapes for me!

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