Teach Yourself Complete German

You know how people say opposites attract and that if you were to date someone like yourself it would get really boring? Whenever I look at Daniel and myself I think we’re quite similar.

We both studied Japanese because we were fascinated by its culture (he was into karate and I’m just crazy over everything Japanese). We love travelling and prefer warm weather to winter. We’re very competitive (even if the competition is between the two of us) and are always striving to be the best in whatever we do. However, Daniel probably has more awards and titles to his name than I do so he can have the “bigger nerd” title if he likes. I hate to say this, but we’re both also very geeky in our own ways. Wherever we go, we’re sure to visit a bookshop to get self-help books, novels and language learning books. Despite owning a Kindle, we love the smell of new books and enjoy flipping through them.

On our recent trip to Singapore, we spent hours at Kinokuniya. This time we were on a hunt for German language books. There are plenty to buy in Germany but book shopping is our hobby. It’s a must-do on our holiday list, a ritual so to speak, an activity we can’t miss out on. To facilitate my book shopping spree, the Fab 4 generously gave me $80 worth of vouchers to shop at Kinokuniya as an early birthday present. How sweet, right?

Here’s one of the German learning books that I bought – Teach Yourself Complete German.

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Since I’m still a beginner (taking my own sweet time to learn the language, no sense of urgency whatsoever), I decided to get the course that covers from Beginner to Intermediate. There are 23 units in this book and it comes with a CD.

I really like this book from the moment I had a look at it at the bookstore. Each unit begins with a simple bullet point list of what you’ll learn and also provides a short write up on German culture. I can’t emphasise further how important it is to learn about the culture when learning a language. At times, little interesting facts are thrown into the extracts so you’re sure to learn a little more about Germany as you go along.

Apart from grammar points, you’ll also learn plenty of vocabulary from this book yet it’s not overwhelming. The exercises in each chapter are short and sweet and they aim to help improve your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. It’s a good book to learn German by yourself since the answers are provided at the end. I find sticking to one book to learn a language very boring hence I use this to compliment Berliner Platz Neu which I used at the VHS.


I decided to get this book because it gave me a good idea of where I would stand once I’ve completed it based on the Common European Framework for languages. As you can see, it should prepare me for the B2 exams. Of course, I’m not relying solely on this book to pass the exams. This is only one of the few resources I use to study German. I think it works very well alongside Pimsleur (which is very effective when it comes to listening and speaking) and Berliner Platz Neu.

As each chapter isn’t too long, I either finish one chapter in one day or split it into two days. The fact that the chapters are so doable gives me to motivation to study it more.

The question is, “How do you know you’re improving?”.

Well, my landlady said to me the other day, “Your German is getting better!”.

That’s how I know.


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