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Ever wanted to learn to speak German quickly and easily? Well, German Made Simple may be the product for you, well at least according to the title of this book anyway. This stand alone 320 page textbook will take complete beginners to an intermediate level of German via a whopping 48 chapters. Each section introduces you to a new grammatical concept and set of vocab which you should confidently understand by the end of the chapter. The teaching technique is methodical; each chapter is structured in the same, well laid out manner making the book easily navigable. This structure consists of: a dialog at the beginning and end of each chapter to contextualize the vocab; varied teaching material including stories, tips and grammatical explanations; review and self tests at the end of each chapter to consolidate what you have learned.
Despite a bit of dodgy formatting and the pace sometimes feeling a little rushed, we found German Made Simple to be, on the whole, a reliable, grammar focused German textbook. Each lesson goes over what you learned in the last chapter in a different context and then builds on this. In this way, your learning process feels like a set of small steps rather than a leap into the unknown! As this product focuses on grammar, there are not many memorization exercises, which we must admit was a bit of a relief, but at the same time, you certainly do pick up grammar along the way.
Being nothing more than a textbook this product will not be as comprehensive as multimedia based products which, by their nature, boast far more features in order to give you a varied learning experience as well as a well rounded German course. In this way, German Made Simple will need some serious dedication and concentration skills if it is to be your only source of study as chapter after chapter of the same teaching style can get rather tedious. Also, there will be certain aspects of your German which will be left wanting, most notably, your speaking and listening. If you are not to use any other sources your German accent development will be severely limited, the same goes for your listening skills. As just a textbook, this product will not, on its own, provide you with a comprehensive teach yourself German course.
The only other real drawback we found with German Made Simple was its annoying glossary; occasionally, words would pop up that we had neither encountered before nor were present in the glossary. Even when the word was in the glossary, it was still annoying to have to hold your place and refer to the back of the book. In this case we would recommend using German Made Simple with a dictionary to hand. This quibble aside, German Made Simple is a well organized, ‘workman like’ teach yourself German product which will complement other sources perfectly. Students can use it as a roadmap upon which to base their studies or teachers as a companion and course guide. Either way, at this cheap price you are unlikely to be disappointed!
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