Sunday, May 15, 2011

Learning German and Arabic

These are posts I made on a forum regarding learning German and Arabic. Considering the site I originally posted these on were a pay site, I figure they may do more people use here.

I'm currently a (not yet fluent) German language major.

Before I first went to Germany my sophomore year of college I had no experience in German. The three months of summer before I left I practiced on Rosetta Stone for an hour every day. It taught me some basics, but as has been mentioned before in this thread, I learned only very simple grammar. I did however get a leg up on pronunciation. To counterbalance this I bought some textbooks, here is what I suggest:

- Kom Mitt! :

- Themen Aktuell :

- Drill yourself in all the grammar and remember all the charts, it will help you later. When you're done with the level one books, move on to level two. Do the exercises, check your answers and DRILL DRILL DRILL. For example, you're in the Navy? Incorporate declensions or counting in German into your workout/push up/whatever routine.

- While you're at it you should buy either an Oxford German dictionary or one of the ones that's yellow and has a big L on it. Buy one full sized one and the biggest pocket sized one you can find.

- This book is a comprehensive German grammar review. We use it in every German language class. I have a love / hate relationship with it. Can be really helpful but it's dry as fuck:

- You can also find pocket German grammar books from time to time, especially in used book shops, if they have a language section. I've made a habit of starting a small collection of them because they're small and inexpensive.

Finally the best way to learn a language is immersion. Watch German films, read German books, even if you have to start with children books. Look up everything you don't know.
On that note, try to find a German speaking partner. Once you start studying a language you'll be surprised how often you hear people speaking it. Also, because of the Cold War there are a lot of people with dual American / German citizenship who you would never know that they fluently speak the language until they tell you. Try to find these people.

In short become an information sponge, and everything will fall into place after years of study! If you need any other pointers on learning German as an adult I would be glad to help. Hope this was helpful! Good luck!


I took elementary Arabic I and II in college. This is the textbook we used:

It was an ok book. While a lot of people say Rosetta Stone is not worth the money, it may help you with learning the alphabet and pronunciation of new letters.


  1. Arabic is really hard, but it sounds beautiful

  2. I'm considering learning arabic. seems much more fun than chinese/japanese and since oil will soon run out we will have to communicate in arab sooner or later...

  3. I tried to learning Arabic a few years ago too bad I didn't stick with it..

  4. good luck with your language lessons...i think i'll never have the chance to learn arabic ;p

    I have followed your blog..Could you follow mine too please?

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  5. I'm still looking for time to get down to sudying Russian ... got an iphone app to learn the alphabet