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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning German, Third Edition Paperback – April 6, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, the book has errors. Yes, it has some awkward presentation (it has exercises asking you to try to speak phrases before it introduces proper pronunciation!). Yes, it's more about giving you phrases like "Where's the Taxi" and "How's my hair" over anything truly fundamental... but that's not really what this book is about.
Get this book if:
-You're vacationing in Berlin 3 months from now and you want to be able to ask when your train is leaving without looking like a typically clueless tourist.
-A great-aunt you didn't even know you were related to recently passed away and the only stipulation on her inheritance is that you must know enough German to find your way to her estate.
-Your boss just told you that Hans from the Berlin office wants to talk to you- now.
Don't get this book if:
-You just found out your future mother-in-law is a German immigrant and you need to speak picture-perfect German to impress her.
-You plan on moving to or living in Germany for an extended period.
-...or if you have the time to "do things right".
If you need to learn German, and you need to learn it NOW, this is probably the best book I've ever seen for that purpose. If you're looking at a longer time frame or a situation where precision matters more than simply how fast you can assimilate the language, then you should at least pick up some supplements to help weed out where the errors are.
...and hey, it's a reasonably cheap book with a pretty reliable "cheat card" of phrases just behind the front cover. It's hard to argue with that.
All the teach yourself books have a few mistakes here and there but this one has way too many so I would highly suggest that you find a better book than this one if you're looking to learn German, especialy for a begginer.
Here are some that stick out:
Page 14- In trying to introduce the es-tset (aka the funny S that looks like a Capital cursive "B"), they mention it, tell you what it's called, and then OMIT it from the example sentence, using the "dass" spelling instead! The es-tset is not used anywhere in the rest of the chapter, either!
page 39 "Chef" is listed as a perfect cognate, ie, a word that means the same in English and German. Then on page 47, "Chef" shows up on the list of "false friends", where you find out it means "boss" in German and not someone cooking in a restaurant kitchen.
Page 92. This one's merely a culture/geography error, but it is egregious. They set up a dialog scenario where you and 10 people are going on a package tour to Germany (not "German speaking countries"), and one of your travel mates wants to spend 3 days shopping in Zurich. Zurich is mentioned again in the exercise, but the sentence is not something like "this woman must be crazy if she thinks Zurich is in Germany".
I was not taking notes, but there are other errors I saw while skimming this book. I decided to quit using it after getting to the Zurich error, so I did not read past that.
This book has three authors (one a native speaker) and is in a 3rd edition. mistakes like this ought to be gone by the time you revise a book twice. I'm afraid to see what edition one looked like if edition three thinks Switzerland is part of Germany. Use with caution!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is well written and very logically laid out to obtain the best results for learning a foreign language.Published 3 months ago by Debi Megarr
very easy to understand and follow, maybe a cd may be included for the accent. Otherwise I would recommend to anyonePublished on July 4, 2012 by Amazon Customer
I purchased this book to help me in my German class in college. It was not that useful in helping me understand German grammar and sentence structure at a college level. Read morePublished on November 23, 2010 by The Realist
It came exactly in the condition it was promised. It did not take long either which is always a plus.Published on November 5, 2009 by Ashley D. Schneider
This is basically just an oversized traveller's phrase book. Not much info on grammar, syntax, very little vocabulary. It does have a very good pronunciation guide. Read morePublished on December 7, 2008 by A. Barry