- Hugo German in Three Months has been written for us by Sigrid Martin, whose experience in teaching her native tongue ranges from beginners to post-graduate level. She has drawn on this expertise to produce a simple yet complete course for students aiming to acquire a good working knowledge of the language in a short time, and who will probably be studying alone at home.
- The book begins with an explanation of German pronunciation, as far as this is possible without going too deeply into all the nuances and varying sounds involved. If you are working without a teacher, you should find that our system of 'imitated pronunciation' simplifies matters considerably. Using the book together with our CDs (allowing you to hear the German text at the same time that you read it) is an ideal combination, giving another dimension to the course.
- The rest of the course is divided into 13 parts, each of which should take roughly a week to complete. It has always been a principle of the Hugo method to teach only what is really essential for a firm grasp of practical, up-to-date German; the sections contain those rules of grammar that will be of most use in this respect. Constructions are clearly explained, and the order in which everything is presented takes into consideration the need for rapid progress. Week 1 concentrates on pronunciation. Weeks 2-13 include exercises and conversations; later in the course you will move on to the use of idiom and colloquialisms, necessary for a thorough grasp of conversational German. The reading passages following Week 13 provide an introduction to written German, to prepare you for reading German books and magazines. Answers to the exercises, and a full vocabulary list, appear at the back of the book.
- Ideally you should spend about an hour a day on your Work (slightly less, maybe, if you do not have the CDs), although there is no hard-and-fast rule on this. Do as much as you feel capable of doing; if you have no special aptitude for language-learning, there is no point in forcing yourself beyond your daily capacity to assimilate new material. It is much better to learn a little at a time, and to learn that thoroughly.
- When studying each week's lesson, first read each numbered section carefully and reread it to ensure that you have fully understood the grammar, then work through any following exercise(s) as they occur by writing down the answers. Check these by referring to the key at the back of the book; if you have made too many mistakes, go back over the instruction before attempting the same questions again. The conversational exercises and conversations should be read aloud and their constructions carefully noted. If you have the CDs, you should listen to these at the same time as you read. Listen also to the spoken German of each exercise, both before you complete the written work and again as you check the answers. After you have listened to the conversations and read them aloud, see how closely you can imitate the voices on the recording. It is best to keep your own running list of new words; this way, you will remember them better.
- When you think you have completed a section satisfactorily (alternatively, just before your daily study period is over), go back over what you have recently done, to ensure that it is firmly committed to memory. When the course is completed, you should have a very good understanding of the language - more than sufficient for general holiday or business purposes, and enough to lead quickly into an examination syllabus if this is your eventual aim.
- If time allows, you can experiment with what you have learned - and consolidate your learning - by tackling the passages in the Reading Practice section, most of which are typical examples of popular journalism. Each passage focuses on the new material covered by two chapters and should only be attempted after these have been completed. Do not make a written English translation but, at most, take a few notes and from these attempt to re-tell the contents (to yourself, to a teacher, or to someone learning with you) to check that you have grasped and can convey the sense of the passage. Any vocabulary not found in the German-English Mini-dictionary, which covers only the lessons themselves, is given below the passage concerned.
- We hope you will enjoy Hugo German in Three Months, and we wish you success with your studies. If you would like to continue studying German, our Advanced German Course will develop and extend your fluency in both spoken and written German and contains reading passages from authentic sources, lively exercises, vocabulary-lists and essential grammar notes.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)