A while ago these images were making the rounds about how German sounds cruel and gritty compared to other languages.

And while the prejudice of Teutonic doom and gloom will probably not come off any time soon (thanks, Wagner) there is another prejudice which is just as widespread, namely that German grammar is impossibly difficult.

Grammar My Problem Child

Teaching languages for more than ten years I always had a peculiar relationship to grammar. I still remember when my Latin teacher showed us a double page of declensions and told us: “Memorize until tomorrow!” Yeah, right …

In other words, I slogged through my own schooling with the minimum of grammar. Until the end of high school I couldn’t tell apart an accusative and a dative if it stared me straight into the face.

All this was to change dramatically when I began working part time as a language teacher (yes, regardless of being completely oblivious when it came to grammar my grades in German, English, French and Spanish had always been above average).

As part time slowly became full time I noticed that without grammar, certain things were impossible to explain to my students.

Thus I started studying grammar in an unconventional way: by teaching it. I started building up a whole body of explanations based on questions and misunderstandings of the students. Instead of starting from a textbook, I started from what students actually needed. Through the years (by listening to linguistic lectures and going through the obligatory grammar training as a teacher student in university) I refined this approach, but it always remained grounded in the simplicity of necessity.

After intensively teaching German as a foreign language to adults in the last two years I kept developing and refining this approach. And now I finally started to write it all down, so that people outside of the classroom can benefit, too.

The format of the publication is just as unconventional as the approach it contains. It’s short, painless and now permanently free, available in MOBI ebook format through books.learnoutlive.com

This first installment deals with something very fundamental: basic verb conjugation.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

Instead of overwhelming you with hundreds of pages crammed with theories, rules and regulations, this guide leads you through the world of German grammar in small measured steps while throwing in some fun along the way.

Each guide is very short and focuses only one topic. The explanations are simplified so that even learners without previous grammar studies can effortlessly grasp core concepts. Navigation is enhanced through a clear structure, icons and illustrations to make reviewing and memorizing even easier.

Last but not least, at the end of each guide you’ll find a wide range of exercises in which you can test your knowledge, learn new words and experience the theory in action.

And just to make sure, here’s the link again.