Hammer's German Grammar and Usage 5th Edition
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"Prof. Durrell's approach to teaching German as a Foreign Language takes into account how German is actually used in a variety of contexts and registers. His use of 'real' examples to illustrate the language is innovative and much to be applauded."
Dr Nils Langer, Reader in German Linguistics, University of Bristol, UK
About the Author
Martin Durrell is Emeritus Professor of German at Manchester University.
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Secondly, the index is extremely comprehensive and user-friendly. What good is a comprehensive grammar if the user cannot easily locate an answer to a specific question or a specific subject? Specific aspects of subjects as well as specific German words are thoroughly and accurately indexed. So often indexes are either superficial or indiscriminately include every passing mention of a subject. The index of Hammer's fifth edition is thorough but points you to where the indexed subject is explained, and not where it is merely mentioned in passing.
Thirdly, syntax and word order are comprehensively covered in addition to morphology. A common problem with grammars is that they are strong on morphology (changes in the form of a word to make different tenses, plurals, and cases etc.), but the subtle mysteries of word order and how to make actual sentences are left unexplained, or there is only a treatment of the main points. In Hammer, not only are all the usual main points covered (e.g. words and prefixes that are shunted to the end of a clause or sentence), but the typical order of elements in a sentence are explained along with meaningful reasons for variation from that typical word order. Hallelujah! Now one can begin to understand how to draft and speak German sentences with various subtle changes in topic, or understand which elements of a German sentence are being highlighted.
Fourthly, syntax and word order has its own section so it's easy to locate using the index, not scattered throughout as an afterthought to morphology.
Fifthly, morphology is comprehensively treated.
Sixthly, the layout is clear and the various topics are amply illustrated with excellent examples.
This book is an excellent reference for the advanced learner of German, and I imagine is comprehensive enough for undergraduate or even graduate German as a general reference written in the English language. It would also be useful for high-school German, although it is comprehensive enough that it could prove disheartening to a beginner or even intermediate learner unless treated solely as a reference.
I recommend this for somewhat advanced learners of German -- for those who got friendly with at least A2 level grammar.
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I can tell this book isn't really aimed at people like me, as it's more for people who are already somewhat proficient, but I still find it extremely useful. You should definitely have a decent grasp of basic grammar terminology before reading this, but it's a great reference which demystifies the oh-so-challenging German language :-)
to get confused as it is also broken down into simple examples!