learning german with lingq: advanced level

How does learning German with LingQ look like?

My German’s already pretty good. I’ve been working on it for years. I can usually understand what natives are saying to me and each other, only needing to ask them to explain the odd phrase. I speak with an English accent and may get the word order wrong, but as I’m not a diplomat, teacher or spy I can live with that.

So I’m not going to take German lessons. My pride wouldn’t stand it. Instead I listen to German podcasts, read stories in German, follow German blogs. Now and then I take a few web articles or a few chapters of a book and create my own LingQ articles from them. I skim through them using an on-line dictionary. LingQ tells me which words are new (in this case it is words which are new to me on LingQ, the chances are I have met them elsewhere). Some words and phrases I decide to learn, because they really are new, or I have only a rough idea of their meaning, or it’s a good phrase that I want to remember (Ein Ring, sie zu knechten! Ahem.) All the other words I mark as known, so my LingQ Known words score goes up pretty rapidly, with little effort from me. 

Now and then I look through my list of created LingQs. I don’t put much effort into learning new words. On the contrary, I usually keep the word “on the back burner” until I have met it two ot three times, in different situations. By then it will usually have worked its way into my memory all by itself, and I just have to mark it as known. 

When I feel like it, I spend 1000 points on a chat with a German tutor. We talk about anything we feel like, books we’re read, films we like. Sometimes we talk in German about another language we are both studying, say French. And I get a conversation report at the end, which I may (or may not, I’m pretty lazy) study to learn some new words and phrases. 

You really can’t call it work. It’s just bookkeeping, keeping track of words I have learned, and the words that are, without me trying, working their way into my brain. It also means hanging out with some very nice German-speaking people. 

And the results? A year ago I could only understand spoken German pieces if they were read clearly and carefully. Now I can listen to the radio, watch TV, listen to podcasts on history and science, even get the jokes on comedy podcasts. And I now speak, still with an English accent and the odd bit of dodgy word order, on a much wider range of subjects. It’s like having taken a year’s university course without actually having the bother of attending any lessons or doing any homework. 

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