German Pronunciation and Alphabet — $40/hour✽
The best way to learn how to pronounce German is to imitate speakers as accurately as you can. Some of the German sounds are just like those of English and will not cause you any problem. At first, others may sound strange to you and will be more difficult to pronounce. After practice, you will be able to say these unfamiliar sounds, as well as the familiar ones.
Although imitation is the one necessary way of learning to pronounce a language, there are two helpful hints that should help you while practicing. First, you should learn how to control your vocal skills, so as to produce these distinctly different sounds. Second, you should learn to distinguish German sounds from English sounds, so that you won’t be tempted to substitute for them.
As you learn to pronounce German, you will also start to read and write the language. However, written German was designed for people who already knew the language. No common writing system was ever designed to meet the needs of people who are learning a language. Writing is a method of reminding us on paper of things that we already know how to say. Writing does not provide us with a set of directions which tells us how a language should be pronounced.
Antiqua and Fraktur
In Germany, the style of writing which was common to all of Western Europe when Johann Gutenberg invented movable type, was preserved for a long time. The style used in handwriting was the so-called Gothic or German script and in printing was the so-called Fraktur. However, the style of writing, which had come into use for the other West European languages, was also introduced in Germany. It was called Antiqua in printing and Latin script in writing. Gradually, Antiqua and Latin script became more and more dominant. After World War II, the use of Fraktur and German script was given up altogether. Today, German script is no longer taught in schools, and Fraktur is no longer used in ordinary printing. Since older books are often still found in libraries and were printed in Fraktur, it is often still conveniently listed for reference purposes.
German Vocabulary Topics — $40/hour✽
It's extremely important to learn the vocabulary of the German language. The easiest way is to learn categories of similar words:
- Parts of the Day
- Days of the Week
- Months of the Year
- Seasons of the Year
- Colors ()
- Body Parts ()
- Greetings ()
- Clocktime and its Usage
- Holidays, Festivals, and Fairs
- House (rooms, items, and furniture)
- Family Members
- Meals, Food, Food Types, and Beverages
- Weather ()
- School Life (buildings, supplies, and subjects)
- Leisure Time Activities
Typical German City Life
- Sreets and Roads
- Stores and Shops
- Customer Service
- Public Services
- Amusement Places
- Center City
- Government Buildings
- Places to Eat and Drink
- Places to Stay Overnight
- Sightseeing Places
- Industries and Factories
German Grammar Topics — $40/hour✽
Parts Of Speech
- There are three types of articles in German. They are definite (the), indefinite (a), and negative (no).
- Nouns have gender, such as masculine, feminine, and neuter.
Nouns have number, such as singular and plural.
Nouns have case, such as nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive.
There are also exceptions, such as irregular nouns.
- There are nominative case, accusative case, dative case, and genitive case pronouns. There are also interogative or question pronouns. German also has what is calls wo- and da-question words. Complex sentences have relative pronouns.
- There are mainly two types of verbs, regular (weak) and irregular (strong) verbs. The German language also has modal verbs and reflexive verbs. All verbs, with the exception of the modal verbs, can have separable and inseparable prefixes, which affect the meaning of the verb and where it is in a sentence.
- Adjectives in German have endings, depending on what article precedes them, including the dieser-words (jeder, dieser, solcher, mancher, welcher, and alle). Just like English, there are possesive adjectives, and adjectives have rules for forming the comparative and superlative forms.
- English doesn't have the situation with articles and nouns changing, depending on what preposition is used. There are accusative case, dative case, dative or accusative case, and genitive case prepositions. Prepositions may also be contracted.
- Just like English, German has rules for forming the comparative and superlative forms of adverbs. A problem often arises for students on the use of „nicht" vs. „kein, keine, kein."
- It's very important to learn the numbers, but problems come up when numbers are used as adjectives, especially with writing the date in German, in which the month and day are reversed.
It's very important to learn how to form and use the verb tenses when speaking or writing. The following verb tenses exist in German: present, simple past, conversational past, past perfect, future, and future perfect tenses. These tenses are used with various moods of speech, such as indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.
Students must learn the difference in usage between active and passive voice, as well as the rules for forming both.
It's very important to learn about sentence structure in German. There are declarative, interogative, and compound sentences.
- Word Order
- Sentences may have four types of word order, such as normal, inverted, verb-first, and transposed word order. The verb is placed in the second position in a German sentence, but problems come up when there is more than one verb in a sentence or certain conjunctions are used in different sentences.
- Word order is affected by either coordinating or subordinate conjunctions.
- A German sentense must be punctuated correctly with a period, commas, a question mark, or an exclamation point.
- German has three rules of capitalization: all nouns wherever they are in a sentence, the first word of a sentence, and all polite forms of "you," wherever they are in a sentence.
German Cultural Awareness — $40/hour✽
The following cultural topics may be chosen to review or to discuss:
- Fairs and Exhibitions
- Food Shopping
- Shopping Customs and Where To Shop
- Eating and Drinking Customs
- How To Order Food From A Menu
- Social Customs and Etiquette
- Folk Customs
- Political Customs and Trends
- European Union (EU)
- Money and Where To Find It
- How To Travel Around A City
- How To Get Around and Read the "forest of signs"
- How To Get A Grip On The Metric System