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Learn German The Lazy Way

Book Review

 

Title:

Learn German The Lazy Way

Author:

Amy Katherine Kardel

Publisher:

Alpha Books, New York, NY

ISBN:

0-02-863165-X

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

January, 2001

Rating:

Learn German the Lazy Way is part of the series of Lazy Way books published by Alpha Books. This self-paced program is aimed at the beginning student of the German language. The course is strictly a study manual - there is no audiotape or CD included.

Get more informationThe graphic design of this book is rather different and unique. Each page is printed in black, white and green. There are two columns - the main column contains the instructional text with a smaller marginal column that includes helpful hints and suggestions. Hints and suggestions are coded with pictures of peoples and headings such as "You'll Thank Yourself Later" and "Quick and Painless." A footer on each page always informs the reader of the current subject being studied.

The text covers a wide range of topics from grammatical rules to cultural notes. Much of the course vocabulary is geared for the traveler and covers basic words and phrases involving traveling, food and lodging. This book clearly states grammatical rules and concepts when they are presented in a clear and concise manner. The cultural notes explain what the traveler is likely to encounter on a visit to Germany and integrate the vocabulary into the note text whenever possible. Suggestions about developing good study habits and descriptions of special study techniques are also given.

The book did not meet my personal goals  for a course of this type. This program seems more like a travel guide with a few German words sprinkled about than a serious foreign language learning  program. Most of the text is in English and the amount of cultural information displaces important vocabulary and phrases that could have been included. The layout of the pages, while artistically pleasing, is very distracting for focused  study. The information in the margins continually pulls the student's attention away from the main body of text.

This book seems attractive, yet falls short of delivering its promise to teach the beginning student elementary German with the least effort.

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