Audio lessons to learn German

As previously mentioned here I am currently learning German as I have a German girlfriend and I want to be able to speak German with her family and friends. This is the best incentive to learn any language.

I have bought and used various resources since I began. These include books, dictionaries, software and spaced repetition system flashcards on Anki. While all of these are good, they really don’t help me to speak the language which is the point of learning German.

I saw an audio lesson resource called Glossika mentioned somewhere about two months ago. I decided not to use it until I have finished the other German learning courses that I bought. There is a problem when one starts learning a language that one buys a pile of resources but then don’t use them and they become a waste of money.

Glossika is different

That said, buying Glossika is different as it is all audio lessons (plus a phrase book to read the phrases said in the audio lessons). It is different to other books and software I have used thus far as it focuses on speaking the language rather than reading and listening. This is a crucial difference.

3000 sentences

Glossika’s philosophy is that learners should learn basic phrases that they will need when speaking. When the learner has become familiar with these, they should be able to deduce what sounds correct in the new language. There is no emphasis put on learning grammar. That is learned as the user goes along and improves their fluency.

When one purchases a Glossika package it includes Fluency 1-3 packages, which each include a total of 3000 bilingual sentences with pronunciation guide in paperback or ebook format + MP3 audio. All one has to do is play the audio files, listen to the questions and answers and repeat the phrases. The phrases which are usually questions and answeres are in English and then said twice in German.

Listen and repeat

Listen and repeat. That is all that is required. The Glossika method is to listen to as much of the audio lessons are quickly as possible so that the user gets familiar with the language and begins to understand the simple phrases and the words which are repeated every so often so that you don’t forget them.

Glossika even provides instructions on how to use its lessons. They say to just listen for the first five days in twenty minutes bursts to get used to it. They also have a study guide in the download which sets out in detail how long it will take to complete all 3,000 sentences depending on how much someone studies each day. I thought that was very useful as I have never seen this before by any other language course.

Easy to use

It is very easy and convenient to use Glossika’s lessons. I listen to them in the office and in the gym while I am on the exercise bike. That way I can fulfill two of my objectives simultaneously.  I find though that it is no use to just play the audio lessons. I have to listen properly and repeat the phrases in order to learn. Learning is not passive. It is better to have have the PDF book with phrases open to read them when listening to and repeating the phrases. The learning is much better that way but it is not always possible to read it when you are working or in the gym.

Cover of Glossika German courseSome quibbles…

Whilst in the main I like it, there are some disappointments and annoying things. The thing that annoys me the most is that often the English phrase and German phrase do not fully match. For example the phrase “No, I am not watching TV” is said in English. Its German translation is just “Nein”. These are not the same. There is far less in the German answer than the English one. There are other examples where the answer in German is just “Ja” when the English phrase is much more. I think that it would be better to have a full phrase in German. I know that some Germans can be blunt and to the point but I don’t feel that this is what is required here.

Another odd thing is the deep voice at the end of every lesson that says in a Russian style voice “Brought to you by Glossika!!” This is bizarre as the man who created Glossika is an American rather than someone from eastern Europe. It is mildly amusing but odd nevertheless.