More German learning resources

I have recently purchased other German learning resources. These include a small German English dictionary as well as another learn German book. Along with that I also begun to use applications on my mobile telephone which may help me improve my German.

A yellow dictionary

It might seem a little odd that I have not purchased a German dictionary until now. I agree in some ways however I was learning phrases and vocabulary in the learn German books that I had bought until now. Those books sufficed to teach me how to introduce myself and ask basic questions. However after some time it becomes obvious that one needs a richer and more elaborate vocabulary that is why dictionaries are invented.

Langenscheidt German Pocket Dictionary

The dictionary that I bought is a bright yellow coloured Langenscheidt pocket dictionary. These are the yellow dictionaries that you see Germans carrying everywhere. Now I am proud owner of one of those dictionaries. It is a German-English, English-German dictionary which is exactly what I need.

It is great to be able to reach for my German dictionary and find the word that I’m looking for that I can’t find in the learn German books. For example, I was not able to find the German word for a hangover in the learn German books so my new dictionary was able to help me. Now I know that the German word for a hangover is Katzenjammer. This morning I was looking for the word hellish. I had done another spinning class which was exhausting and therefore I wanted to tell my German girlfriend that the spinning class I did was hellish. The German word is höllisch.

I feel that I’m going to be using this new dictionary quite a lot. I will definitely be getting my money’s worth from it.

Easy German

Whilst in International Books in Dublin buying my dictionary, I also spotted a learn German book from Usborne called Easy German. It is a new publication and it seems to be aimed at secondary school students. It has lots of comic strip images and has an easy to follow story about two teenagers looking for treasure in a village in Germany.

Easy German from Usborne

One nice thing about this book is that it is actually very easy to learn and to understand German. It explains German grammar in an easy to understand and clear way. In each chapter of the story there are new words explained in a box and there are also learning tips and fast facts explained throughout the book. It is actually the most enjoyable learn German book that I have bought so far. I have only read a few chapters but I already I feel that it is quickly improving my German. There is a vocabulary list at the end of the book that offers an English translation of the German words used in the stories.

Surprisingly it does not come with a CD as most learn German books do. Along with that, the German pronunciation of words is not explained in the chapters the stories. This could be a big problem for learners who do not know how to say certain words. There is a pronunciation guide on pages 98 and 99. This does not bother me so much as I am used to the pronunciation of German words this point (even though I regularly mispronounce words).

Throughout the book there is a reminder to use the Usborne Quicklinks website where one can find links to useful websites to help you learn German as well as free downloadable German picture puzzles.

All in all I find is a very good resource to learn German as the conversations and phrases are based on everyday life. Grammar and other information is explained easily throughout the book. I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is learning German. It is pretty cheap as well which is always nice.

Eating out in five languages

Whilst also in International Books, I picked up a very interesting culinary dictionary called Eating out in five languages which has over 10,000 menu items in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. This little dictionary allows people to understand items on a menu. It also has useful phrases when ordering food, reserving a table, asking for service, complaining or explaining food allergies.

Easting out in five languages

The way I benefit from this book is when I need to find words such as Paranuss (brazil nut), Servierlöffel (a table spoon), or ungekockt (uncooked) which are not found in learn German books. You can even come across gems such as Schweinedünndarm (chitterlings). I don’t even know what chitterlings are in English!

I mostly use it to find words when I am searching for German words for food hashtags on my Instagram account.


I recently started using Memrise to learn German. As I have already mentioned, I have been using Duolingo to learn German. I found Memrise on the Google Play store and thought to install it on my mobile telephone. It takes me back to the very beginning so it makes it very easy for me. The method is easy to do. New words are introduced and repeated so that you learn and remember. There is a turbo round to quickly find the German equivalent of English words.

I am not going to spend much time on this as I have many other resources to learn German but this may be nice to reinforce what I have learned using Memrise.

Stór Focal Gearmáinise / Irisch-Gälischer Sprachführer

I found this little book in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Gaillimh last year. It is an Irish-German, German-Irish phrasebook. As Irish is my favourite language, I snapped it up. As I had been in Germany a number of times and had previously studied it in secondary school, I thought learning German again through Irish would be best. Irish is my favourite language and I think in it, so usually when I see a phrase in German, I imagine how it would be in Irish.

The book was compiled by three sisters who are learning German in secondary school.

This book has 29 sections covering the basics of German (and Irish). It covers Basic Phrases, Numbers, Time, About Myself, In School, Food, In the Ice-cream Shop etc. I noticed some mistakes in the Irish phrases e.g. “An Bialann” – this is a feminine word so it should be An Bhialann.

A huge flaw of this book is that it has no pronunciation guide. This was a crazy thing to omit!! This is not such a problem for me learning German as I know how German is pronounced. However, German speakers would have huge difficulty in knowing how to pronounce Irish as the phonetics of the German and Irish alphabets are very different.

For anyone who speaks Irish (like me) who wants to speak German or for a German speaker who wants to learn Irish phrases, this is a nice little book to start with (if the Germans can figure out how Irish words are pronounced). It won’t get you beyond the basic conversations of introducing yourself but it is a good start.

If this book was to be republished it would be great, if not obligatory, to have a pronunciation guide for Irish and German, images to make the phrases alive, and easier to remember and a CD to hear the phrases.