Sprechen Zie Deutsch?
September 22, 2008 1:43 PM   Subscribe

How do I best learn German without attending a school?

My wife and I have decided to move to Germany for a year in 2011. I have zero skill in the German language and I would like to acquire some. My problem is that I spend and inordinate amount of time traveling for my job, so I am unable to attend a class on a regular basis. I have done a little research and found two programs that look like they might work in teaching me German. These are the Rosetta Stone program and the Tell Me More Performance program.

I am looking for opinions from people that have used either of these programs or recommendations for another program to use.
posted by vansly to Education (15 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Rosetta Stone.
posted by Class Goat at 1:58 PM on September 22, 2008

A friend of mine went through the Rosetta Stone Japanese language course and said it was excellent. I've never heard anyone who really seriously criticized it.
posted by Class Goat at 1:59 PM on September 22, 2008

currently taking the Italian Rosetta courses. I also have some free podcasts and the Pimsleur method, but none of them are as good as Rosetta. It's too bad it's so ungodly expensive, but you get what you pay for, I suppose...
posted by indiebass at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2008

I've used Tell Me More as part of a college German course. It was okay for building vocabulary, and the voice-recognition thing was neat, but it wasn't much help when it came to learning the grammar. I had to read up on some of the grammatical concepts online and find some web-based drills to supplement what the software offered. This is my current favorite web-based German verb conjugation thingy.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:30 PM on September 22, 2008

Rosetta Stone is not perfect, and nothing can replace intervention from a good teacher, but it's probably the best you can get for learning at home. It's really fun to use and there is no chance of you straying out of boredom or whatever.
posted by fire&wings at 2:38 PM on September 22, 2008

I've heard wonderful things about Live Mocha, a free resource that combines Rosetta Stone-like lessons with social networking. Essentially, you can practice your German with fluent/native speakers and help other users learn English.
posted by dicaxpuella at 2:43 PM on September 22, 2008 [7 favorites]

Wow, dicaxpuella - Live Mocha is a wonderful site! It's at least as good as Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur (the two I've tried), but the ability to interact with native speakers is amazing. Bookmarked, joined and enjoying... thank you!

Is this really free?!
posted by letitrain at 3:56 PM on September 22, 2008

This Live Mocha seems very cool!

I just signed up for German also and already finished the first lesson except for the very last part since I don't have an easy way to hook a mic up to my pc.

Hit me up if you want studdy buddy at all :)
posted by starscream at 5:55 PM on September 22, 2008

Self-guided language learning programs are great, but you shouldn't feel like you should be able to speak, write and read German like a native before you get out there and use your new skills in the real world.

Once you have the basics down, google your city name and "Stammtisch". Stammtischen are informal groups who get together to converse auf Deutsch. Many of your fellow Stammtischers will speak very slowly with a heavy American accent and limited vocabulary, and you'll probably be pleasantly surprised at how well you're able to follow along.

If you live in a city that is served by the Goethe-Institut, I highly recommend checking them out. Even if you can't fit a class into your schedule, they're a good resource; most locations have a lending library, and offer film screenings and cultural activities. You'll meet other adults who have the same goals and the same level of proficiency.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:16 PM on September 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed the Michel Thomas audio lessons but I'll have to look into this Rosetta Stone.
posted by crapmatic at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2008

I can't personally vouch for Rosetta Stone, but if it interests you, check your local library to see whether they have (a) the CDs you can borrow, and/or (b) the course online. The San Francisco Public Library offers Rosetta Stone online to cardholders.
posted by kristi at 8:53 PM on September 22, 2008

expensive, but cheaper than school...seconding Rosetta Stone.
posted by docmccoy at 9:57 PM on September 22, 2008

Holy cripes, that LiveMocha site looks amazing - signed up!
posted by Happy Dave at 5:09 AM on September 23, 2008

posted by barrakuda at 1:47 PM on September 23, 2008

LiveMocha is incredible - anyone else need a German partner? Or an English partner?
posted by Augenblick at 2:47 PM on September 23, 2008

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