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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:09 PM
Emerson00
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Matt J.
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Language learning

Anyone here have good or bad experiences with Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, or Rocket Language? I'm looking to pick up a good traveler's grasp of German. I'd like to read it as well, but am mostly interested in learning the language and being able to get around comfortably using German - we're *hoping* to take a trip to the Alps of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria this August.

All packages have their supporters and detractors. I have a long commute and so Pimsleur is attractive as pure-audio, though I am a visual person, so maybe Rosetta Stone...
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Jim Cheney
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Matt - Honestly, those programs are mediocre at best. I honestly believe you are better off devising your own program. Shop around and find a grammar book that you like and can comprehend (the texts written for linguists etc can be pretty abstract). The biggest barrier to your comprehension at the outset will be vocabulary, so get a good electronic flashcard system (I use lingvosoft) and cram vocab. If you'll dedicate 20 minutes a day, you can practically learn 20 or more words each day. Do this for several weeks and you'll have a good basis for learning more grammar. The more vocab you know, the faster you will learn the grammar. And as far as communication goes, you can get by really well just by knowing a bunch of words for common things even if you can't put together a coherent sentence.

Here's a linguist joke-
What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? "Trilingual"
What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? "Bilingual"
What do you call someone who speaks one language? "American"

Good luck!
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Immersion is the best, study vocabulary before you go, watch german TV for the pronunciation and then dive in.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Emerson00
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Matt J.
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Thanks, guys.

I can manage in Spanish/Mexican well enough with a phrasebook, but I am "American" off your list. I have motivation to learn German and perhaps Mandarin in the next coupla years. Any recommendations on a grammar book or a source?
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