In almost every language course there’s a part about grammar and looking at tables of conjugations and declensions. I still remember the faces of my students in Berlin whenever I whipped out the Irregular Verbs Worksheets

Now, I have to admit that there’s no way of just skipping that part altogether (it’s still worthwhile to learn to think in grammatical terms, it’s like dealing with software code) but also if you start too early with it it can ruin all the fun.

And there’s lots of fun to be had while learning any language!

Sadly, more often than not, the fun part falls by the wayside. For example, my wife’s first German course consisted almost exclusively of looking at tables: verb forms, declensions, plural, etc. She had always liked German as a language and was naturally curious and inquisitive. But after that first assault of German grammar, she was rather disappointed and it seemed the course had done more harm than progress.

Half Artefact, Half Nature

The exciting aspect of languages is that they’re half man-made artifacts, half natural occuring phenomena.

Many course books over-emphasize the first part: A neatly organized system of rules and logical explanations that fit like gears (if it weren’t for those darn exceptions!)

This is why in the last 10 years I’ve always been looking for new and exciting ways to to emphasize the natural part of learning German.

My colleagues Nina Hanáková, Jason West and Jason R Levine aka Fluency MC (and many more) are each working on this for English learners.

As a sidenote, I had many different English teachers but only really began to learn when I started watching more and more movies and English and trying to make wisecracks with American friends.

The breakthrough came with authentic materials.

“Peter und das Huhn” – An illustrated short story for German learners

This is why I decided to do a little publication: A picture book for adults. Or, if you like: an illustrated short story for German learners.

I’m also experimenting with Amazon’s KDP select program for the first time which means that you can download the book for free for the next three days. 

UPDATE: Sorry, Amazon only allows publishers to make a product free for 5 days. There are still two days left, I will activate them over the course of the next weeks. Stay tuned

Got interested?

You can get the book here!

Note: While this is both an experiment in terms of didactics and publishing, it’s also an experiment in …well, drawing. I’ve never considered myself much of an illustrator, so the drawings in this mini-course are somewhat reckless, but I hope the point gets across, anyway.

P.S.: If this is as much fun for readers as it was for me, make sure to tell me either here on the blog or leave a short review on Amazon. Thanks!