Review of the Day – Video Grammar Course for Beginners

Hello everyone,

the new year has just begun and everyone is still adamant about their new years resolutions. And one of the most common resolutions besides working out more, less drinking and inventing time travel (that’s one of mine. This year’s the year, I feel it) is learning a new language. And one of the most commonest new languages is German.
Wow… my writing really sucks this year.
Anyway, Kerstin Cable, a fellow language blogger, language learner, teacher and author of two books, has created a video course about German grammar for people who, for some crazy reason, have decided that they want to start learning German. Today, we’ll take a look at it and find out if it’s just what you need or if it’s just kind there. So are you ready to find out? Great

Kerstin Cable is a language learner, teacher, blogger and podcaster. She’s also author of two books about language learning (don’t worry, I’ll add links below) and she’s teaching teachers how to teach and she is a likable and very dedicated person. That’s my impression of her, anyway. She really, really cares about her students, and tries her utmost to keep them motivated and make learning as easy and as fun as possible. Not the worst qualities for the host of a video course I would say :). If you want to check out her stuff, here’s her blog:

Fluentlanguage.co.uk

But now let’s start with the review.

Course – “Easy German Grammar for Complete Beginners”

That’s the title of the first video course and that’s exactly what it is. In 16 videos, each between 3 and 10 minutes long, the course leads you through the most important basics of German grammar. First, you learn about verbs and how to conjugate them (and yes, you learn what “conjugate” is, too), then you get introduced to nouns and the whole gender thing, you learn the very basics about sentence structure and word order,  all 4 cases, the spoken past, negation and the modal verbs and then the course wraps up with a look at one of the most confusing things of all … prepositions.
Often, a video is accompanied by a little quiz and for each of the four sections you’ll get a little workbook… well… let’s say booklet… with summaries, more tips and exercises.
The course costs 57 dollars. For that you life time access to the videos as well as email support.
So, that’s for the facts… time for opinion.

What I liked

The …uhm… currycolluuuh…sounds intense but the lectures are actually pretty digestible and Kerstin’s talent of keeping you motivated really shines. I mean, I’m not learning German, so I don’t really know how it is to make your first steps in this language, but I’m pretty sure that you’ll always feel “save” with her and trust her as your guide… sounds stupid maybe but I think a student really has to have some trust in the teacher.

Overall, the currilulumum makes a lot of sense. Present tense, spoken past tense, negative, word order… all you need to start talking in daily life, it’s all there. Well, except questions. It’s much better than what you get from many textbooks or apps or software.

The overall production quality is pretty good. The videos are basically a power point-style presentation with off screen narration but it’s neither overloaded or overly fast nor boring. The fonts look nice an natural and the audio quality is good enough. There are a few differences in audio level and there’s a pretty obvious cutting mistake at one point but it never feels cheap or unprofessional.
The course is hosted at Teachable and the layout there as well as the navigation is great. I had some issues with the player when skipping around in the vids but that might have been due to my sucky web connection (I still have one of those old modems from the 60s).

What I didn’t like

I already mentioned that I think “Questions” should definitely be a topic in a course on basic grammar. And there would have been room for it because toward the end, the course starts to feel cramped. First, there’s the Genitive which Kerstin includes in all the tables. Sure, Genitive is nice and all, but I think for a beginner it is just clutter you need to ignore.

But the real problem in my opinion is including prepositions. Prepositions is HUGE topic in German because not only are there one million prepositions, but they also come with their very own grammar in that they have their own case rules. And then there are the contractions like “an+dem” is “am” and so on. Kerstin tries to cover that in one video and I think it’s too much at once. If you’ve felt fine until that point chances are you’re left overwhelmed and confused and while you can try to apply all the stuff you learn about verbs and modals and maybe even cases you most certainly won’t be able to use any of that preposition stuff in conversation because it’s just an overload.

Other than that I have a couple of minor complaints. Sometimes the progression is a little off. Like…Kerstin would use a jargon term or refer to a concept without having introduced it before. Not a big problem if you have some knowledge about the theory behind languages and the jargon but if you’re really a complete beginner learning your first second language, these things might be confusing and make you feel stupid. Seriously… it’s incredible how many people feel stupid when it comes to learning a language. You’re NOT. You’re smart! You’re just venturing out into completely new territory. It’s okay to be clumsy and shaky. The most elegant dancer can look clumsy trying to throw a basketball. But I digress.

So? To buy or not to buy…

That really depends on your situation. If you’re living on a tight budget… don’t sweat it. You can get just as far as quickly without the course. All the info is out there for free so you’re not missing out.
It’s also nothing for you, if you’re one of those polyglots who learn languages for breakfast because it’ll likely be too slow for you.

But if you’re a complete beginner, you’d like to have a nice video guide and you can afford it,  I’d say:

Go for it!

You’ll get a good foundation of German grammar in less time than you would spend with a text book or in a grammar course and it won’t feel like much work. And there’s no risk because Kerstin offers a 30 days money back guarantee.
So if you buy the course and you’re then like “Man, this really isn’t what I need” you’ll get your money back, no questions asked. And NO… it is not meant as a tool to buy the course, take it and then give it back. Be honest people! Kerstin is super fair offering this so you should be fair, too. If you buy it and you like it, keep it!

So… if you’re a complete beginner, you’d like to have a video course that takes you the first few miles on your journey toward fluency and you have 50 bucks spare, then get it right here:

  • Kerstin Cable – Easy German Grammar For Absolute Beginners
    (affiliate link… so if you buy it, I’ll get a more than decent share :)

    EDIT:
    !!! Kerstin is offering a discount of 27 Dollars!! So it’s 30 bucks, not 57.
    This offer is limited, so only the first 50 can get it. And there aren’t too many left!!!

And if you’re like “I would love this kind of course but I can’t afford it” then I have good news for you… because Kerstin will give away one course for free. Isn’t that awesome?!
Here’s what you need to do:

 **** Leave comment explaining (in German if you dare) why 2016 will be awesome ****

We’ll wait until December 2016 and see who was right.
Nah… we’ll pick a winner at random :).

EDIT: We have a winner :)… you can still tell me why 2016 will be awesome though.

So, that’s it for today. This was my review of “Easy German Grammar for absolute beginners” and I’m wondering: What’s your impression now? Is it something for you? What would an ideal course for you look like? Let me know your thoughts in a comments.
And next time we’ll finally get back to normal and learn some German. Huah!!
Frohes neues Jahr ihr lieben :).

for members :)

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Ryan Feigenbaum

2016 wird Spaß sein.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Im 2016, wir sind mehr Deutsch lernen!!! =)))

Anonymous
Anonymous

Oops! that anonymous comment was from me. UND, im 2016, werden wir mehr Geschichten zu hören! ;-)
Camille

Felix_47
Felix_47

Im kommenden Jahr werden wir zum President Bernie Sanders auswaehlen……nicht wahr!!!

fluentlanguage

Ja klar…. ^__^

fluentlanguage

Hi everyone, my name is Kerstin and I’m the lady who made this course! Thanks so much if you’re looking at it today. I’ve been made aware of the Udemy price difference and of course THAT JUST WILL NOT DO!

Beat their sale and get the up-to-date and bigger version of this course here:
http://fluentlanguage.teachable.com/courses/german-grammar?affcode=28114_vhuyvzui&couponCode=GRAMMATICUS

This is still an affiliate link because I like sharing what you pay with my affiliates.

fluentlanguage

Oh one more thought regarding this review: Emanuel makes some great points about the exercises that I created. Sometimes the website’s way of creating quizzes isn’t perfectly set up for language learning, so I tried to remedy this by adding four workbooks in the course. The workbooks contain more self-assessed exercises and some handy tables to help you remember what you learnt before. I am keen to improve them in the future, so the more feedback I get the better.

In other words, if you purchase the course and find something terrible, I’ll always be around trying to fix it.

Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)
Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)

Please contact me directly with an email to kerstin@fluentlanguage.co.uk and your email address, and I’ll add you to the course bundle!

Anonymous
Anonymous

2016 wird fantastisch sein,da mein Sohn, der 2 Monat alt ist, wird Viel lernen und viel Spaß dabei haben. Ich freue mich sehr darüber.

fluentlanguage

OMG wie cool!! Viel Glück damit!

buenibee

Here’s my attempt to reply in Deutsch:

2016 wird fantastisch wegen der freie Sachen!

Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)
Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)

Hah! Nicht schlecht!
Englisches “free” im Sinne von “kostet nix” ist auf Deutsch “kostenlos”.
Deutsche “frei” ist Englisches “free” im Sinne von “can do whatever you like”

Another false friend for that list I have planned on my blog.

buenibee

Oooooh! Vielen dank for that! :)

So it should be: 2016 wird fantastisch wegen der kostenlos Sachen! (???)

Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)
Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)

Yep you got it right! Adjective endings are a total pain, but it helps to know the endings on your nouns as they very often agree with each other. So “-en” is a good guess in Akkusativ for example.

Your word “wegen” wants the Genitiv afterwards (happy to say this is actually covered in my course, phew!).

camelia
camelia

Hello Kerstin,

How long is the $30 offer still valid for the video course Easy German Grammar For Absolute Beginners?
And how can I apply for the free course?

Thank you!

Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)
Kerstin Hammes Cable (@kerstinhammes)

Hi Camelia, the offer is valid for the first 50 buyers so it definitely is limited. Look in the post above for more info about the free course we’re giving away. Emanuel has the honour of picking the winner as it is his blog … Hey Emanuel, when are we closing entries?

C. M. Albrecht

When I was a youngster, I paid (at the time) a lot of Geld for a Linguaphone course (on phonograph records, with of course, illustrated booklets too. I Thought this was really something, because at the time we had never seen TV in my part of the country and here in the booklet alongside the Sessel, sat a Fernsehen. Wow! I studied hard and for some inexplicable reason, thought that by the end of the course I’d be able to speak fluent Cherman. Nicht so Einfach! My Großvater was from Chermany and talked to me but he passed away when I was five. My father never really learned much; he had other interests like for instance Bier. Worst at the time was that I didn’t have impressed upon me the importance of remembering when to use der, die, das, dem, des, usw. Big Mistake. Now I just mosey along. I can read quite well and almost never have an opportunity to speak German. In Frankfurt I couldn’t tell the serveuse which hot dog sausage so I smiled and said, die lange schlanke Nummer, bitte. (heh heh, it worked. And at the airport I was able to boarding clerk if I could bring meinen Kaffee mit and he said, in the international language, nothing. He merely shook his head in a negatory fashion. But I still read. I loved Haie u. kleine Fische, and Der Richter u. sein Henker. I have an old copy of Rasputin. At my age, who cares if I make a mistake or not. At the flea market I often run into an old-timer who never fails nevertheless to remind me, “Ich bin Schneider von Beruf.” and he admires my distinguished taste in dress. Happy New Year. I enjoy the columns.

Brightstar
Brightstar

im 2016 haben wir Emmanuels Deustch lernen Buch.

fluentlanguage

Oh das ist super cool, viel Spaß damit!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Course appears to be $29 on Udemy.com.

Anonymous
Anonymous

The affiliate link doesn’t seem to work. I only see “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page”.

Dave
Dave

Ich denke, der Link ist kaputt.
I only get “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page”.

Kelly
Kelly

2016 wirt ein tolles Jahr, weil ich entschlossen habe, es so zu machen ;-) !

Kelly
Kelly

Oops! Natürlich meine ich:
2016 wirt ein tolles Jahr sein, weil ich entschlossen habe, es so zu machen ;-) !

camelia
camelia

How can I enroll for the 30$ package, or further more for the free course? I have accessed the link but it directs me to payment of $57. Thank you.