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Reading German

Harel13

Am Yisrael Chai
Staff member
Premium Member
There are few books in German that I'm interested in reading and it doesn't look like they'll be translated into English or Hebrew any time soon. I thought I might attempt to learn German to able to read them myself one day.

At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?

And, does anyone have any tips on how to go about starting to learn?
 

Estro Felino

Believer in free will
Premium Member
Written German (geschriebenes Deutsch) is surely easier than the spoken one (gesprochenes Deutsch).
I started studing the language when I was 13...passion and motivation are essential because it is a complex and difficult language...and if I hadn't studied Latin I wouldn't have understood most of its grammar.

But if you decide to study it, I will you give you some tips.:)
 

Estro Felino

Believer in free will
Premium Member
I'd be happy to hear.
My advice is to start studying grammar and conversation simultaneously.
Starting with the verbs which are not that difficult compared to the nouns (which have three genders).
Remember, to start with that all nouns are capitalized , in German: das Wort (word), das Buch (book), der Apfel (apple).

As for the verbs, just remember that the English simple past is most of the times translated with the Perfekt (like in French and in Italian).

If you have questions, ask away.
 

Glaurung

Denizen of Niflheim
At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?
Yes, it's possible. After all, mute people still learn to understand language.

The Assimil courses are a very good way to get started in a language. They're pricey, but well worth it if you're serious about getting started in a language. I also recommend getting a frequency dictionary. I use https://www.amazon.com/Frequency-Dictionary-German-Vocabulary-Dictionaries/dp/0415316332

In my opinion, once you have mastered a basic vocabulary the best way to learn a language is though massive and frequent exposure. Memorize your vocabulary and read, read and read some more.
 

Mock Turtle

Oh my, did I say that!
Premium Member
There are few books in German that I'm interested in reading and it doesn't look like they'll be translated into English or Hebrew any time soon. I thought I might attempt to learn German to able to read them myself one day.

At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?

And, does anyone have any tips on how to go about starting to learn?

You might find dual language books useful - English on one page and whatever on the opposite. I have a few well known novels in such, and in French, but since I don't really have any reason to keep up with my poor French, they aren't read that much. :oops:

Amazon.co.uk : dual language books german english
 

ChristineM

"Be strong", I whispered to my coffee.
Premium Member
There are few books in German that I'm interested in reading and it doesn't look like they'll be translated into English or Hebrew any time soon. I thought I might attempt to learn German to able to read them myself one day.

At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?

And, does anyone have any tips on how to go about starting to learn?


Ive not done it with whole books but with the odd book page and multi page documents. Scan them into an OCR program. Copy the output into Google translate, Deepl or other translator.

For a whole book it would be a bit tedious but quicker than learning the language
 

ChristineM

"Be strong", I whispered to my coffee.
Premium Member

Harel13

Am Yisrael Chai
Staff member
Premium Member
Ive not done it with whole books but with the odd book page and multi page documents. Scan them into an OCR program. Copy the output into Google translate, Deepl or other translator.

For a whole book it would be a bit tedious but quicker than learning the language
I went that route at first, but as you said, it's tedious.
 

Koldo

Outstanding Member
There are few books in German that I'm interested in reading and it doesn't look like they'll be translated into English or Hebrew any time soon. I thought I might attempt to learn German to able to read them myself one day.

At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?

And, does anyone have any tips on how to go about starting to learn?

I can say 'Yes' from personal experience.
It took me years to be able to speak in english after I had already learned how to read and write.
 

sun rise

The world is on fire
Premium Member
There are few books in German that I'm interested in reading and it doesn't look like they'll be translated into English or Hebrew any time soon. I thought I might attempt to learn German to able to read them myself one day.

At the moment, I'm not interested in learning to speak German, just to read. Does anyone know if it's possible to learn to read (and understand) a language without learning how to speak it, or are the two mutually inclusive?

And, does anyone have any tips on how to go about starting to learn?
When I was studying chemistry decades ago, I had occasion to translate a chemistry paper written in German. It was a struggle in those days but I succeeded. (I had forgotten the German I learned in a course I took).

So I know it's possible. If the books are specialist books, I would not try to learn the specialist vocabulary perfectly, but learn the basic language and enough of the special words to get by.
 

Heyo

Veteran Member
Older, obscure.
Older books may be available in text form on Project Gutenberg. That at least makes it easier to pass them to an automated translation program.

Reading is much easier than listening or speaking. You can take your time and you can look up words (with the correct spelling).
And you have a fair chance to find (native) German speakers in the older generation in Israel. People speaking Yiddish also often understand German due to the common origin.
 

ChristineM

"Be strong", I whispered to my coffee.
Premium Member
Older books may be available in text form on Project Gutenberg. That at least makes it easier to pass them to an automated translation program.

Reading is much easier than listening or speaking. You can take your time and you can look up words (with the correct spelling).
And you have a fair chance to find (native) German speakers in the older generation in Israel. People speaking Yiddish also often understand German due to the common origin.

I had forgotten about Project Gutenberg, i have used it in the distant past, thanks for the reminder.
 
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