- AIMS OF THIS COURSE
- An innovative approach. The Hugo Advanced German course follows a wholly innovative approach to extending a basic knowledge of German (an acquaintance with the fundamentals of German structure and a vocabulary of perhaps 1500 words) so that it becomes a capacity for really sophisticated handling of the language (along with a vocabulary of around 4000 words).
- The conventional methodology of intermediate and advanced courses is simply to increase the complexity of the material provided for the learner and to let what is learnt emerge from the material. This method yields a lot more vocabulary, but not a lot more understanding of how the language works. Our approach has been to concentrate on the features which are problematic for English-speaking learners: word-endings (determined by gender, number, case, tense and person) and the 'little words'.
- The 'little words' include prepositions and the one-, two- or three-word classes like dessen/deren (lesson 2, section 7) and je (lesson 5, section 19). On their own, these classes of words have very little meaning. But it is these 'little words' that bind other words into phrases, and phrases into sentences. If you do not know how they work, your performance in a foreign language is no more than guesswork, because all you can do is identify words that are easy to look up in a dictionary.
- German language and culture. In our opinion, language learning should be a serious but not a solemn business. We have tried to offer the widest possible variety of language experience - dialogues, autobiographical extracts, newspaper articles, anecdotes, jokes, advertisements - and to choose material which is as lively and stimulating as possible. It is not the function of a language course to impart detailed factual information about the German-speaking countries. Such information not only makes for tedium but quickly becomes out of date. We have instead tried to give an impression of some enduring aspects of life in most of the German-speaking countries, and to convey the idea that over the long term a language comes to reflect the society that has generated it.
- Your starting point. In order to benefit fully from our Advanced German course, you need a grasp of basic German. We start by asking you to check your present knowledge by means of a self-assessment test. If you find that you score less well than expected, you may need to revise the basics. For this purpose, refer back to Hugo German in Three Months, or another basic course. German in Three Months is ideal as a companion to the Advanced German course because it follows the same principles, presenting the structures of German in a jargon-free way. You will find it a handy and comprehensive basic reference manual while you are working through this course.
- HOW TO USE THE ADVANCED GERMAN COURSE
- A course for individual or class use. Advanced German is suitable both for the enterprising individual learner (especially with the help of the accompanying CDs) and for group learning in schools and in further and higher education. Indeed, much of the content of the course is based on materials we have ourselves developed in teaching university students of German.
- The lessons. You should be prepared to spend about ten hours on each lesson. Try to follow the sequence of each lesson as it stands, but when tackling the texts and conversations you may want to refer back to the numbered explanatory sections. Familiarise yourself as thoroughly as possible with the texts and conversations, so that you know them almost by heart.
- We have provided a large amount of varied, entertaining, and mostly light-hearted practice material, which has been adapted to teach precisely what we want it to. You should do the exercises every way possible - in your head, in writing, and, if they are on the CDs, spoken out loud as instructed on the recording. The key at the back of the book allows you to check your answers. For some of the practice material, such as translation and comprehension exercises, there is no single right answer, but the key gives a model answer to guide you.
- The CDs. The three CDs available to accompany the course book include recordings of the conversations and texts, oral exercises and vocabulary lists. We strongly recommend that you use the CDs to improve your comprehension of spoken German and your accent.
- Dictionaries. Unlike most basic courses, which contain a mini-dictionary that is sufficient for the needs of the beginner using that particular course, the Advanced German course expects you to get into the habit of using a dictionary. You should ensure that you have access to a really comprehensive bilingual dictionary.
- GRAMMATICAL TERMS
- Advanced German is founded on the principle that you should not have to learn a lot of obscure grammatical terms in order to learn the language. Instead, common-sense terms are used to describe what is happening. However, learners used to employing more traditional terminology may find it helpful to refer to the following table of the terms and abbreviations used in this book.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)