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German Genius – Learning without any Effort!

Not possible? But yes, it is! And this is how you do it:

Der Nürnberger Trichter (the Funnel from Nürnberg)
There exists a method of learning in Nürnberg, Bavaria, which apparently is THE panacea for all learning challenges, dating back to the 6th century. The student doesn’t have to make any effort on his part, it’s all poured into him and we even have a word for that “eintrichtern” (equivalent: ‘to drum it in’). If you intend to learn German that way, read on. But do bear in mind that meanwhile a more state of the art modern teaching methodology has evolved which, talking from my experience, also proves to be very successful.

The device ‘Der Nürnberger Trichter’, is depicted as a funnel which pours knowledge into anyone’s head so learners can obtain knowledge with hardly any effort at all on their part. No need to swat, the Funnel makes learning German easy. True or not true, that is the question! Why is it not used worldwide? Let me tell you.
Well, the idea originates from a German poet from Nürnberg, who wanted to pour the art of German Poetry and Rhyme into any-ones head within 6 hours. As simple as that, including vocab, grammar and speaking skills. So the poet, Herr Harsdörfer of the ‘Society for the Cultivation and Improvement of the German Language’, wrote 8 booklets, with the jocular title “Der Nürnberger Trichter”, intending to imbue the ordinary person with the beauty of the German language.

Of course he didn’t intend to make a poet out of everyone in merely 6 hours but rather making his mother tongue accessible to the ordinary person, not just to the learned, who had the privilege to be taught Greek and Latin. He wanted his language to be nurtured, spoken and understood at a high level and hence forth German became an established subject in all grammar schools (I personally think bureaucracy today has taken it too far, but that’s a different story). My home city of Nürnberg has followed a long tradition of inventiveness: it is famous for the original pocket watch (Peter Henlein), the oldest globe without America (Martin Behaim), “Hydraspis” is the invention of waterski, swim belt and flippers and most importantly the first law on the size, quality and cost of the ‘Nürnberger Bratwurst’. But here is the reason why I think Herr Harsdörfer is tops: With his booklets on poetry and grammar he intended to help women to become equal partners of conversation! That was back in 1642.

In my classes I have decided not to use the ‘Der Nürnberger Trichter’ as a device, partly due to technical issues but also because I am an advocate of modern language teaching, without a funnel.

10 Reasons to learn German

1. It was Einstein’s first language.
2. Jobs for German speakers have exploded in recent years.
3. English and German share 60% of their vocabulary, so you can already speak and understand German before you even start learning it: house, loyal, hunger, gold, bed have the same meaning in both languages.
4. German is spoken in over six continents : 100 million native speakers, and it’s the officical language in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Belgium.
5. First letter of every noun begins with a capital. Why is that good? Because it makes reading faster and easier: “Organgen, Bananen, Aprikosen sind mein Lieblingsobst”.
6. German declensions are adopted from Latin languages and there are merely four cases, whereas Latin has six!
7. It has a lot of funny false friends with English: bad = evil / das Bad = bathroom; boot = shoe/das Boot = the boat; gift = the present / das Gift = poison.
8. Attention to very end is essential: German word order is fairly rigid and in most sentences the verb is placed at end. Waiting politely until someone has finished their sentence is a virtue!
9. German can be so subtle: the beauty of German is to express an idea in its deepest complexity with only 1 word: sich vergengenwärtigen = to refresh a past idea and apply its value in the present; mitdenken = to actively think in a teamwork for a common cause; Fingerspitzengefühl = the ability to deal with sensitive issues in accordance with the circumstances.
10. German countries are a beautiful holiday destinations and the gratification of saying in German “Ein Bier bitte” is second to none.

German is worth learning since it’s very flexible, practical, and expressive. Don’t get discouraged by its complexity, you don’t need to learn it perfectly but with enough practice, your language knowledge will extend to further horizons.

New German 5-week introductory courses for complete beginners, starting September 2017.

Please contact Gabriele on 07930 923435 or e-mail info@startgerman.co.uk

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