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4.8 out of 5 stars
Learn German: Fluenz German 1+2+3 for Mac, PC, and iPhone
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
First let me say that I'm a software developer and my girlfriend is from Germany. That being said I can say, from a developer's point of view, the software is top quality. And from a language point of view the phrases are practical and spot on or so my girlfriend says so ;)

The lessons are well organized. Each one builds on the previous. I feel that I don't learn too much in each chapter, avoiding that overwhelming feeling of too much at once, and that I don't learn too little. After a few chapters I can easily mix and match the words I've learned to create new and useful sentences. I do it all the time with my girlfriend to which she often replies "sehr gut!".

What I like most about Fluenz's approach is it's like a classroom. Meaning, there is a real person who breaks down each chapter's conversation and explains why you use each word in the way it's used. Most software just gives you words and expects you to memorize and learn through "immersion". I won't get into that debate because it's been debated all over the Internet ad nauseum. But if you're like me and learn faster by having someone break down each word of every sentence and explain it in great detail then you can't go wrong with Fluenz.

Oh and my favorite part of Fluenz is actually two things: top notch support and the free flashcard application. After I've done a chapter I feel pretty good (languages seem to come easy to me...either that or Fluenz is just that good lol) but once I've done the flashcards I feel like it's cemented in my brain and I can move onto another chapter much sooner than if there wasn't a flashcard system.

Ok, and so why do I think it's pracical? Because the software teaches you things you can start using right away to get around in the country. From the hotel to the cab to customs to restaurants and clubs. You can easily go to another country and get around right away with what you take away from this tool.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
This is the BEST computer learning software program I have ever used for the German language. I have tried 3 others out on the market today. The reason I can say this is because the German language has difficult grammar depending on the sentence being in the accusative, nominative, or dative case, and Fluenz has taken the time to BRILLIANTLY break down the language into simple block-building steps to conquer this "language hazard" in German. This allows the user to have a strong foundation in advancing through the lessons, and Fluenz have strategically used important vocabulary for the beginner user to learn as they go through the steps. This is also reinforced throughout the language learning experience.

I am already half way through Disc Level 2 and well on my way to Disc Level 3, and I love the logic flow of this program for German. Also, you should know that German was my first language BUT I have lived in the U.S. since age 4 so I am always looking to sharpen my German speaking skills. I was tempted to skip Disc level 1 due to my prior knowledge of German but I am glad I did not because I wanted to see for myself how they lay out the building blocks to the difficult and sometimes confusing German grammar.

To this end, Fluenz strikes me as a young but very capable learning language company that really cares about their product (and they should be very proud). I have used their Italian and French program as well, and I cannot say enough good things about it. So when German recently came out I had to see for myself. They also use social media quite well on their facebook page which gives you insight into their company complete with videos/blogs, and they provide podcasts and flashcards (for FREE after you buy a language program) through their Fluenz commons section on their website. I am very impressed with this language learning company and their competitors could learn a thing or two from them!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2011
After visiting Austria and Switzerland this summer, I was inspired to learn German. I had found Fluenz before for Spanish (for my wife), and it just so happened that they had just released this German set. So, I jumped on it. I can only say that I'm incredibly impressed by Fluenz, both as a company and as a product set. The method of teaching just plain works, at least for me. I'm thru only the first 6 lessons of disk 1, but I'm already at a point where I've internalized the material and could certainly get around better if I were to travel to a German speaking country tomorrow. "To each his own," but for me, this method of instruction is far better than Rosetta Stone's. I highly recommend the product.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
The Fluenz German program is a great system to learn German - second only to taking classes in person, and who really has the time or money to do that? Each lesson starts with a short "skit" with German speakers ordering food, going through customs, shopping, etc. The learner can choose to see subtitles in German and/or English or without subtitles. After each skit, there is a native German teacher who explains the text - she helps with pronunciation, word order, grammar and everything else that makes German seem complicated. This portion of the lesson takes about 10 to 15 minutes on average. Then, there are lots of exercises - translations, listening, word matching. Each lesson should take about 2 hours, but would only take about 1 hour is you have some German language background. There are 30 lessons total in each Level, including a few review sessions.

I just tried the audio CD tonight and I was blown away. I've tried review CD's before and hated them - they didn't help and often reinforced errors that I was making. The Fluenz CD was different - it was a conversation. The English speaker was speaking directly to me, and the German speaker was working with her. English phrases were said first, and then the listener was supposed to repeat or translate - then the correct answer was spoken. It was wonderful to really learn something and have my mistakes corrected on the spot.

Several years ago, I took 4 semesters of German lessons (once per week at a community center) so I do have a little background. I also tried using Rosetta Stone but gave up on that after level 2 - the Rosetta Stone method was very frustrating because German grammar is extremely complicated and precise. Rosetta Stone assumes that the learner will figure things out but I just grew angry and mad that I couldn't understand.

I am so happy that I decided to try Fluenz. Many of the topics in the first CD were review, but I was amazed at home many things I did learn, especially related to word order and how to know which noun endings to use (the bane of every German student!)

There were very few things that I did not like about the program and have recommended it to many people already.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
Verified Purchase
First (unfortunate) thing's first: it's obvious that the majority of the amazon reviews for Fluenz products are not posted by actual customers - the number of besides-the-point references in multiple reviews to Sonia Gil (the Fluenz owner/one of the teachers) being attractive or fetching or cute is a dead giveaway of this, and when reviews are consistently written by people who have posted 2 total amazon reviews... well, it's a bit insulting and certainly a bit deceptive. If Fluenz wants to stand by its product and get good reviews, sending out review copies and asking for amazon reviews (or really anything other that cooking the books with fake reviews) would be a far more honest and ethical way of getting them.

That unfortunate bit out of the way, let's move on. Is the product/system any good? In a word, yes. The approach taken by fluenz (start with basic sentences and vocabulary, learn the basics of a language's grammar, then add more vocab, then add finer points of grammar) is effective, and for both myself and my wife (who used the Italian version after I was happy with the German program) far more effective than the so-called 'natural learning' approach used in Rosetta Stone (which the wife tried before Fluenz) and Instant Immersion.

Each level here (1 through 3) has 30 lessons that can be completed in 30 minutes to an hour. They start with an introduction in English that talks about what the lesson will cover, and then move onto a dialogue in German. The dialogue will introduce new vocabulary (which is heavily [and usefully!] related to basic tourist-and-food-type questions in the earlier lessons) and grammar rules. These are then explained in detail by an instructor, and then you're presented with a number of quizzes that require you to pick the correct word/phrase given context. Subsequent lessons introduce new concepts and vocabulary and continue to review what was learned in past lessons as well.

It's a methodical, logical approach, and it is largely effective. Fluenz German is not going to make you fluent in German, but it will allow you carry on basic conversations in German and get along better than you otherwise would. This is a good program. I would like to give it 5 stars, because it is well designed and the program is well put together, but it is a bit expensive (though roughly equivalent to Rosetta Stone, and less expensive than private lessons would be), and the fake reviews rub me the wrong way. If you can look past those two things, it's an effective program for learning a new language.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
My son started German 1 at Christmas break - and finished it in 3 weeks. Now on Level 2, last weekend (after only 3 whole weeks of Daily Fluenz German) he used Amateur Radio and talked to stations in Germany who knew no English. They held a successful Basic Conversation of people places and local things. He had a Blast. my own progress is slower as I am not a kid anymore. but it is progressing nonetheless. Italian is his next Goal when he finishes German 3 which will not be long at this rate. and hearing him around the house - what a laugh.

ENTER the RED BOX! and not even a Big box but a small plain one the size of a cd collection. I was sorta taken aback by the lack of flair. But what I saw in the material was fresh and different. It covered the material in a way my teacher never could.

Fluenz Presents the appropriate useful material in timely clumps, presents and explains the grammar, gives plenty of variety in exercises so as to reinforce the material without boredom! Add the supplemental Audio CD and Pod-casts to reinforce each level even further..... and you have success.

I do recommend Fluenz to anyone (or parent) wanting to learn a Foreign Language. Who has found problems with other colored boxes.... Try the RED BOX!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Verified Purchase
I've been learning German on and off for several years now. I've been into a few lessons at college, and some three months at the Goethe Institut. Later on, I tried to pick upon the language myself, using computer programs, such as Rosetta Stone. I tried using it for some time since it was the only option I had. But after repeating "Ball" 400 times over the same week, or just learning words without any practical application, I started to get confused. Later on you just learn phrases, but I was never ever able to figure out some of the key grammar elements of the language.

So, I tried on Fluenz German. Violá! It is simply the best computer learning program I've come across the years. In just 10 sessions, finally, after quite some years, I've been able to understand key grammar elements from the language, as well practical applications for the things I learn. These people didn't just create a general interface and translated it into every language course they've got. For every language, they've taken the hard work of figuring out the key elements of each language (these may vary substantially), and for example in german, they explain in detail the pronunciation of the words, why phrases are built up the way they are and they also give you historical or german specific context insights so you'll get more familiarized with the culture as well.

I mean, if you're wondering where to put your money into a language course, my bet will definetly be on Fluenz. You will not regret it!
Anyways you can do a demo session on fluenz.com website and see how you like it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2012
Verified Purchase
I am extremely satisfied with Fluenz. This software is engineered to teach you German and highly exceeded my expectations. You not only learn how to speak the language, but how to write the language. Which is absolutely, and I mean absolutely essential to learning any language. This lone feature is what separates Fluenz from any other lingual program out there. From its user friendly interface to its workout sessions, this program is very depthful but simple(in a good way). They even went as far as providing a virtual/physical instructor to teach you each lesson. Remarkable I say! I highly recommend this program to anyone wishing to learn German or any other language.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2011
I studied German for 5 levels at Berlitz School in Zurich-Switzerland. I have been traveling a lot the last months and I was loosing my levels. Fluenz is an amazing tool to recap my German and improve my vocabulary and grammar skills. Fluenz has been more helpful than any other Berlitz exercise and practice tools. I carry Fluenz with me all the time in my iPhone, it's an excellent way to keep up the pace and don't forget the language when you are not practicing it. In addition, Fluenz presentation and display is exquisite. I highly recommend this product for every language and its educational method is so much effective than rosettas stone's. Great job Fluenz!!! This way everyone will love to learn new languages. Vielen dank!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2012
Verified Purchase
This is for the Levels 1 - 3 only. I've since purchased levels 4 & 5, but haven't gotten that far and will review them when I do. That in itself should show that it's a pretty amazing software system! This package isn't cheap but I'm constantly so excited by it and by my progress that I went ahead and purchased the additional levels.

First, I'm taking German but have had a lot of Spainish. I've traveled heavily in South America, live in Central Florida and work closely with large groups of predominately native Spanish speakers in South Florida. Spanish is essential. To that end, I've taken three semesters of Spanish, and used practically every software package, (Rosetta Stone, Before You Know It, PDQ Spanish..) and all the teach-yourself books I could get my hands on. Not a cheap endeavor. And after all that, my Spanish is only better than average for a country gal. So, I've used them, gotten bored by them, been confused by them, and tossed them in the trash. All of them. Until I found Fluenz.

Other reviewers have stated the format and it just clicks for me. There's a nice, brief intro from one of the Fluenz founders, who is studying the language too and gives nuggets of tips, insights, and cultural tidbits. Then some brief dialog with subtitles and then on to the classroom with Nora, a native German speaker with an excellent command of English. She breaks down every bit of dialog, in detail, and with explanations of usage and pronunciation that's truly geared for the adult, English speaker. Then there's a gabillion exercises of different types and formats to cement the lesson. Nora is clearly not an actress and she's reading a lesson, explaining what has been scripted for that lesson. Who cares if she pauses?! I'm pausing her myself so I can write notes.

Then the review sessions that are peppered throughout each level are fantastic. (I've just finished level two - 60 lessons in all) I don't know if there's an algorithm or something but the items from previous lessons that are thrown in are spot on for timing. How do they know? There's gotta be a science behind them. Whatever, it's working!

There are typos and errors within the lessons and this is NOT a deal breaker. This is a young, vibrant, obviously passionate and caring company. I just haven't had the customer service issues that another reviewer reported and I'm truly surprised and bothered that they've had a less than amazing experience than what I've enjoyed. An awesome bonus with this company is their "Commons" area on the website. It's free for users and has a group forum and forums for the individual languages. Users post comments, questions, hints, etc and I've NEVER seen a question, or a user report a typo, computer issue, etc that wasn't answered within MINUTES by a Fluenz team member (within reason, probably not so fast at 4am) - with an ANSWER or a link to the update to fix the typo or error. This is live support folks, and by people that care. I've even seen the tech experts ask the individual to email the support team directly so they could help trouble shoot user errors! You think that comes with Rosetta? Not on your life.

Lastly and most importantly, my few months of German studies with Fluenz has far surpassed the six years of various Spanish study. I'm using it, I want to use it, I'm encouraged and as tickled as a kid with a new toy to continue the lessons. My German speaking friends and I are having real-life conversations and they're impressed! I don't sound like Tonto or Tarzan and I've not once told anyone "my pencil is large and yellow" or "the red ball bounces". How cool is that?

I apologize for the length of this review but the Fluenz system is just that good.
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