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Learning Another Language

So, I’ve got how to learn biblical Greek and Hebrew. I’m no expert (although I’d like to be one day), but I can muddle my way through with some of the best of seminarians (thanks to awesome profs at Criswell – Dr. Metts for Greek and Dr. Brooks for Hebrew).

However, I’m wondering what to do with German. I’d like to be able to read it and also converse in it by the time I’m finished with my Master’s degree (so I’ve got some time). A lot of resources that I’ve seen are for one or the other. I’ve looked at Rosetta Stone (so expensive, but I’ve heard some great things), and I’ve looked at books in the library like Modern Theological German. So my questions to any of you are:

  1. Should I start with one way (ie. reading), then proceed to the other (ie. conversational)? And what resources would you suggest? or
  2. Is there some resource that will teach both to me at the same time? And is that how I should go?

You may now comment.

MSE

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10 Responses

  1. I’ve only studied conversational German, but I found it to be minimally helpful. It’s useful in that you get a basic grasp of the fundamentals of the language, but for reading German (especially theological German), I don’t know how useful it would be. Dr. Jim West probably knows given the amount of German that surfaces on his blog.

  2. I say learn German as a real spoken language. Reading knowledge of theological terms is fine if all you need to do is cite the occasional German source in a paper or something, but it won’t benefit you much.

  3. Conversational German is the best way to learn it. Understanding how it fits together is heavily influenced by how it works when spoken.

    As far as resources go, I’d try and get in touch with a local german speaking community. I’m lucky I live in London and there are many Germans living here with strong ex-pat social networks. Other counatries/cities will vary obviously.

    Meetups have a german speakers group in Dallas: http://german.meetup.com/53/ you could try them?

    Also, the Goethe Insitut is the German language institue, they have classes etc. Not sure what their presence in Dallas is though . . .

  4. I agree: learn how to speak the language, not just read it. Hopefully you will find a native speaker where you live who can help you. Currently I am assisting several of our Ph.D. students with their German. I want to see them actually use the language on a regular basis instead of just pass an exam.

    Do have a German Bible yet, Matt? I’d recommend you buy two: The Luther Bible, of course, and Die Gute Nachricht, which is more idiomatic.

    May the Lord bless your studies!

    • I know a couple people here who may be able to point me in the direction of a native speaker. I don’t have a German Bible yet, Dr. Black. I’m thinking about getting one with my next WTS payout. There are so many books though that I’d love to have and so little money. I’ll have to see how it works out. I’d LOVE to get one though.

      God bless you too, Dr. Black. Praying for your family.

  5. Dr. Black: It is done. 🙂

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