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Hands down, Learn German the Fast and Fun Way is the cheapest product in this category. While a list price of $12.63 is great, on a good day at Amazon Marketplace you can pick this book up for less than 50 cents. That’s less than a cup of coffee! If this product can make learning fast and fun, we’d recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether you want to learn German or not! The book takes you through the absolute basics of German such as days of the week, months, seasons, weather, time, numbers, basic grammar and most of the language you need for everyday situations (there is even a guide to road signs). Grammatical explanations are simple and a set of flash cards provide you with a tried and tested vocab learning method whether you are at home or on the go. Upon learning the essentials, users can test themselves using a set of quizzes with corresponding answers in the back. This is great for consolidating what you have learnt. Throughout all the activities, light hearted language, style and cartoon illustrations as well as the use of games and puzzles keep the learning process varied and, most importantly, fun. We especially liked the mini bilingual dictionary which fits nicely into the pocket; perfect for quickly referring to while out sightseeing in Berlin or Hamburg.
This book is certainly fast and about as fun as a textbook can be (don’t expect a laugh a minute). How does it do this you ask? Well, German the Fun and Fast Way focuses on just the basics and nothing more. You simply learn the key phrases that you will need to get around on a vacation or business trip for which an understanding of anything other than basic sentence structure and grammar is unnecessary. For example, the past tense is not even covered! Despite learning a severely limited German, what you do learn is, surprisingly, sufficient to get you around and communicate with German speakers. As you will be using it straight away, you will be able to build on what you have learned, picking out grammatical variations as you go along. In fact, we are confident in claiming that you could open this book for the first time upon taking your seat in the plane and begin using the German you have learned as soon as you step onto the asphalt in Germany.
On the downside, we are not going begin listing all the features that this textbook lacks in comparison to comprehensive multimedia German language courses in this category as this product is simply too different to compare. Clearly a textbook will not provide you with a comprehensive language course, and neither does German the Fast and Fun Way promise to do so. Compared to other textbooks the content is very limited, yet this can be forgiven when we consider the low price for which you can purchase this product. As with other textbook-only products, the missing ingredient is an audio companion, the benefits of which simply cannot be replicated by phonetic spelling. This is especially important for those of us who have never learned a language before; it doesn’t matter how much vocab and grammar you have learned if no one understands you when you try to use it. For experienced language learners, Learn German the Fast and Fun way will be a great stand alone product to quickly and cheaply deliver the basics. For beginners, you may want to combine it with another source with which you can practice your speaking and listening skills.
Although cheap and cheerful, we would never describe this product as bad. It is a light hearted introduction to ‘survival’ German which could also be your first stepping stone towards further study of this language. Accessible, portable and at a low price you can’t go far wrong unless you have studied a bit of German before and therefore, will already be familiar with all the content.
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