I am determined to learn German without taking formal lessons. Between conversational and informal lessons with our Swiss friend Berty (which we should be starting up soon) and fun reading material, I should be on my way to getting by in Hoch Deutsch.

The problem is I am lazy. I lack motivation. Conventional language textbooks bore me. If I have to look at another children's word book, I just might give up on this whole German thing.

There are, however, three types of texts that ever so slightly motivate me to keep on keeping on.

1. Fashion, popular culture, and gossip magazines: So many of the words are in English that I already feel successful when I glance at the cover and understand the headlines. One of the keys to learning a language is feeling successful, so this is why I am so drawn to these types of texts.

I am a huge fan of the 20 Minuten "Friday" edition. Not only does it have that glossy mag feel FREE of charge, it also offers snippets of celebrity news that I can actually read and understand!

2. Beginner Level Stories with Mature Themes: I have read through a short story called "Gebrochene Herzen" and was able to understand the gist of it, despite not knowing 5-10 words per page. (I'm sure the illustrations had a lot to do with that!) It read like an episode of a soap opera, so not only was it entertaining to read but totally relatable. Now I am going back and reading each chapter more carefully, studying the sentence structures and looking up unknown words. The book comes with an audio CD for building my listening skills and comprehension exercises to go along with each chapter.

3. Youth Speak: During a recent trip to the book store, I couldn't pass up this little book featuring the language of young people. It's chock full of slang terms and phrases in German, English, Spanish, French, and Italian! The main entry is the German word or phrase, plus its figurative meaning in German, and then you can consult the equivalent terms in the other four languages. I'm not sure how current these phrases are, but they sure are fun to read. Although this book isn't very useful, it does make me giggle and thus in a better mood to study German.

Feeling successful, reading relatable texts, and having a positive attitude = foreign language acquisition. I hope.

Literal meaning: rotten meat party
Figurative meaning: party for people over 30 yrs. old



  1. Hi Amanda,
    I subscribe to Deutsch Perfekt, a monthly magazine with articles in German at three levels (easy, medium, and difficult) on topics from fashion and art to politics and history. The cover this month is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

    The articles come with glossaries. The magazine also includes grammar and exercises on a different topic each month. There's also an accompanying CD that you can order.

    They have an online option too that can give a good idea of what the magazine offers.

    It is all by subscription and not cheap, although much much cheaper than classes. 12 issues w/o CD is 63 EUR.

  2. Thanks for all the great info. So I am not alone in my quest to learn German outside of formal classes?

  3. I went with classes but I got this when I wasn't taking classes and liked it.

  4. Now I ought to bury my face in my palms and sob... Gammelfleishparty. Sigh. That's where I'll be.

    I wish I could do a ra-ra comment on how 'you go girl, you can do it' (sure you can, of course), I am slipping away, and have lost touch with German. Because, like you, I am lazy, and I lack motivation. Worse, I don't even pick up to look at any German material. How sad is that?

  5. Hearing German I don't know which would be more difficult to learn your language or mine! But knowing a second language does seem to help a bit with 'adapting' but at times I do mix them for example the word for grandma is Baka you know what that means in spanish (vaca) so I have a hard time seeing grandma as baka so I call her baki. then the word boca(pronounced botsa means bottle)..yeah its fun!!!


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