Saturday, 13 February 2010

Exercises from Finland

I've just work with some exercises on Michis Übungs-Site and realised I was not as good as I should be with some of the exercises on verbs. It shows I haven't put in enough practice but the really useful thing is it shows some areas where I need to do some revision. If your results in an exercise are a little disappointing don't lose heart but use your mistakes as an incentive for revision or further learning. There's no point in beating yourself up, the whole point about correction is learning to be correct.

The site I was using as a reasonable range of grammatical exercises. Many take the form of supplying the missing word or words in a sentence (Lückentext) but there are also some where you have to put words in the correct order (Zuordung) and others take the form of a simple quiz (Kurzantwort-Quiz). Under the heading Sprache you'll find some exercises on writing letters and on invitations and how to reply. Wortschatz has some thematically organised exercises to test general vocabulary and a useful set on Redewendungen - colloquial expressions.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Switch off your brain

Switch off your brain in the evening - Abends das Gehirn abschalten. That's the recommendation I found on - a site I recommended four weeks ago. Actually using my brain in the evening - to read, to learn German, to blog - is part of my relaxation. But I do like to sit with a glass of wine at about this time (9:30pm). The article is about different ways in which you can relax and this is a good source of some simple vocabulary. Here's a brief quote as a taster -

Geistige Entspannung ist wichtig für Körper und Seele. Wer sich nach Feierabend oder zuhause nicht von beruflichen Sorgen lösen kann, ist anfälliger für Krankheiten aller Art. Doch es gibt einfache Mittel, den Stress abzuleiten: Entspannungsübungen!
Do you manage to let work worries go at the end of the day? And here is a question in German for you: Wie entspannen Sie sich?

Puzzled by words

Take a list of ten or so words with two syllables and split them into two syllables with hyphens indicating the missing portion. For instance, Brücke  would become Brü- and -cke. Mix them up and set them out in a list. The task is to reassemble the words at a later date ... and put the definite article in front i.e. der, die, das. This idea for a Silbenrätsel was something I found in DaF-Blog. Click here to see the puzzle. To see the answers click on zum ganzen Beitrag or the title.

DaF-Blog also has some ideas for working in pairs to share and practice new words. Take a look at Individuellen Wortschatz repetieren There are plenty of other ideas and materials available on DaF-Blog so if you are already at intermediate level and serious about learning German then it's time for you to take a look

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Digital Learning

I've been busy in the office today setting up a simple wiki so a small group of people can work collaboratively to set up a knowledge base on social justice issues and share ideas from a Christian perspective. A wiki is just a simple web-page with an edit button so anyone who is a member can edit or add pages and leave comments. Wikis seem to be used quite a bit for groups learning languages as well so I'd love to hear from anyone with experience of using one in learning German.

There seems to be a special day for just about everything nowadays but I've just found one that I've never heard of before. Apparently 24 March is Digital Learning Day. Full details from Tag des digitalen Lernens

Die Welt von heute ist nicht die Welt von gestern und das Lernen heute ist nicht das Lernen von gestern. Arbeiten mit dem Computer findet sich in fast allen Berufen, Arbeiten mit dem Computer findet sich in nur wenigen Fächern an den Schulen. Kann das so bleiben? Wir meinen nein, denn wir haben die Aufgabe die Schülerinnen und Schüler auf die Welt von heute vorzubereiten. Wir müssen Unterricht und Schule neu denken, denn die Zeit bleibt nicht stehen.

So here is a question for you to answer when you've looked at the website: Was finden Sie wichtig und warum?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

It's good to chat

A strange day! I started with some household chores, moved on to painting and this evening I have to go to work. This afternoon is the highlight of the week - a German conversation group. We spend about an hour chatting in German about this and that, things we've done in the past week. Then, after a brief break, we move on to a listening exercise, perhaps remind ourselves about some little Grammar point and finish off by reading and translating from a book or short story.

I remember feeling a little uncertain when I first joined this group as some of them had been meeting together for many years and some were quite a bit older than me. We even had someone in his nineties who still wanted to practise German conversation. But the group has been very supportive, we all make mistakes from time to time but that doesn't matter. We talk. We break the sound barrier. If you want to speak German with native speakers it will be much easier if you have learnt to be comfortable with the sound of your own voice among supportive friends.

If you cannot find someone to chat with in German then at least try engaging in some sort of online dialogue. Leave comments on a blog. Learn to express opinions. Chat online with other people trying to learn German. One place you might try this safely is

Don't forget you can leave comments on any of my posts in German as well as English. And I'll reply.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Fun and games and more

If you're looking to have fun while you learn German then you might like to visit This is a wide ranging collection of internet sites grouped under various topics including Spass which lists many sites with jokes and cartoons and Spiele which recommends sites for computer and online games. Want to train your mind or test your logic skills with puzzles? Then Denksport is the page for you.

I've put an image of the site navigation alonside so you can see what the topics are but to really appreciate all that's on offer you need to visit the site.

Have fun and let me know what you enjoyed most.

Blood doping

Only a few days before the Winter Olympics start in Vancouver and we hear allegations that someone on the German team has been gaining some performance boost illegally. If you want to follow this on the German news start with Deutsche Olympionikon unter Verdacht on N24. There's also a simple timetable on this page for the various events which are taking place in Whistler as well as Vancouver. However, if you want to follow all the stories it might be better to start with Olympia 2010 in Vancouver

Stern is carrying the doping story as well so if you want to compare stories take a look at Deutsche Wintersportler unter Doping-Verdacht

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Jeckylls Heft has links to exercises from many sources. What I plan to do is review these occasionally. I'm also conscious that I need to work through exercises myself. When you learn German your motto has to be üben, üben, üben! - practise, practise, practise!

What I like about is the way it uses video and other images to help with learning. So today I looked at some exercises for Fortgeschrittene based on reports about the recent extremely cold weather in Europe. They were not particularly difficult but would help with revision on the associated vocabulary.

When you first go to the site you are asked to register - anmelden. This is easy. Just choose a user name, enter a password and confirm it. You don't have to give any other detail if you wish not to. However, I do recommend giving an email address in case you forget your password.