General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Have a recommendation for a refresher course in a language I studied long ago?

Asked by Jeruba (55942points) September 3rd, 2023
7 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I took four years of German in high school and college. This was decades ago. I would like to bring back some amount of my modest skill in reading and writing, even if not so much in listening and speaking. I was a straight-A student, but that was in a classroom and not the real world.

Is there a program you know of that I could enroll in online to refresh my German? A conversational course is not what I want. I remember my grammar pretty well, and I can still read some old storybooks printed in Frakturschrift, but I can’t get much out of a newspaper or magazine. And I wouldn’t trust myself to write more than the simplest message in correct and idiomatic German.

Thanks for any suggestions, especially those based on some personal knowledge or experience.

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Zaku's avatar

The ones I know (mainly DuoLingo, and 2nd hand about Rosetta Stone) are not very good matches for what you’re asking for (but DuoLingo is free for the basic service).

JLeslie's avatar

That is a tough question. My dad always said he could read French and German better than verbal communication and that confounded me when I was younger, but he, like you, is an avid reader, and I dislike reading. Reading has no feedback, while conversation you have opportunity to clarify.

For newspapers specifically, I would initially read articles that cover news stories I know something about so it will be easier to decipher unknown words and phrases through context.

I would try Duolingo. It will start very basic, which might be good or frustrating. Free to try it.

I would google online or in-person university courses. They are often free to senior citizens in local colleges and universities.

janbb's avatar

Duolingo is basic conversational language instruction. I don’t think that is what you’re looking for.

I had a program called News in Slow French for a while where they would send you news articles that you could read and they would also read them aloud and discuss them. Perhaps there is something like that for German.

SnipSnip's avatar

If college is nearby, it might be fun to take a semester or two. I don’t know if community colleges offer languages but you can hardly drive 10 miles without seeing one these days. You might can take it online if that suits you.

flutherother's avatar

I have no personal knowledge of this site but it looks as though it might be helpful. You can also find native German speakers online who are keen to improve their English and who will help your learn German in return.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for all responses. @flutherother, that one does look promising.

In-person language classes typically seem to meet daily. I can’t do that. I’m also way past Guten Tag. Wie geht’s? I never thought of pen-pal practice, but that might be perfect for me. I’ll see if I can find something.

@janbb, something like that might work for me too. I’ll look around.

JLeslie's avatar

My language classes in college were never daily. I never had any class in college that met every day.

Pen pal sounds more fun though. You could discuss current events, which would help with your main goal of reading periodicals. I used to meet for a Spanish conversation meet-up in a library where the leader would pick a current topic or piece of literature to discuss. People who were already very fluent enjoyed it as much as people who were learning, because the topics were interesting. Maybe you could start something like that in writing in some sort of chat format or find something that already exists.

Did you send the Q to ragingloli? Or, longgone? I can ask my counterpart in DE if he knows of any good Q&A type sites with interesting discussions. They’re all journalists or editors so if they like a site it should be decent. Unless, you want it to be very US centric.

I’m in a Yiddish group on facebook. So much fun. There must be German American groups and someone there might be able to point you in the right direction.

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