German

Demonstrate This! – Demonstrative Pronouns in German – A Brief Overview

This is another instalment in my grammar series where I try to answer some of the questions posed by readers of my newsletter and (hopefully) shed some light on certain bewildering grammar topics, always with a practical focus on how people actually speak. Here’s today’s question, by Myron: “Would you explain all that which is “Demonstrative”…

Language Learning

Learning Languages With Netflix Has Just Become So Much Easier

Many language learners are watching movies to improve their listening comprehension and pick up new words. Some like to just immerse themselves in the foreign language with foreign subtitles, others watch it with foreign audio and subtitles in their native languages, but no matter how you’ve been doing it, learning German (or any language for…

Online Teaching

When Learning Online Is The New Normal

When I quit my teaching job more than ten years ago to strike out on my own as an online language teacher, I was met with stares of consternation. Old acquaintances warned me of the perils of pennilessness and urged me to re-enlist in the federal education system. Online learning? Why, that’s just a fad, young…

Hacks & Tutorials

How To Start An Online Book Club

If there ever was a perfect time to start an online book club, this is it. Everyone is looking for inspiration, distraction, anything to feel like life as we know it continues. We finally have the time to tackle books we “always wanted to read”, so no more excuses! Why not read a book together…

archived

Battling Corona With Culture: Berlin Philharmonics & Viennese Opera Giving Away Free Access to Livestreams

Ever wanted to visit the Berlin Philharmonic but never found the time or money? Well, now they’re coming to you, free of charge. Due to cancellations of physical events because of the coronavirus, they are now giving away free access to their Digital Concert Hall where you can watch live streams and recordings of concerts….

German

Boost Your German Vocab With This Quirky Web Game

While sorting through some old files recently (definitely not procrastination but research!) I stumbled over some old notes and re-discovered this quirky little language learning game which is just too good not to share. It’s called Ba Ba Dum, and it’s actually five little games that run directly in your browser, no downloads required. At…

German

3 Simple Rules of German Negation: How To Position “Nicht” in A Sentence

German syntax can be quite daunting. There are many moving parts. It can be helpful to split things up into smaller more manageable bits. Earlier today for example a question came up on the newsletter about the correct placement of the so-called Negationspartikel nicht in a sentence. So here are 3 very simple rules (and some exceptions)…

German

New: German Dialogues For Beginners & Intermediates (PDF, MOBI, EPUB)

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of dialogue. Whether it’s the Socratic dialogues or the Analects of Confucius, both Eastern and Western traditions have been using dialogue as a teaching tool for more than two millennia! Why is that? Plato for example could have just doled out his…

German

Should German Learners Use Google Translate?

When Wikipedia first became popular I remember my teachers and professors scoffing at it: “A free encyclopedia? On the Internet? Why, that can’t be good! You had better learn to use the library instead, young whippersnapper!” And yet everyone still used it. All the time. Was (or is) it perfect? Of course not. When it…

archived

“Schlaflose Sarah”, or: How to Make an App When You Don’t Know How

Ever since I first started writing interactive fantasy fiction for German learners back in 2013 I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something similar in app form. But I had two problems. First of all, the fantasy genre wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and also, I didn’t have the slightest clue how to program…

German

Not Rammstein: German Music Artists Beyond The Teutonic Shtick

When we think of Brazilian music we think of samba, bossa nova, a cool breeze on the beach and the Girl from Ipanema. But what do you think of when you think German music? Do you think of laid-back melodies and velvety vocals? Or more industrial staccato and alveolar trills? Whatever your particular associations may…