Why make it so complicated?


First, I speak other languages! I have gone through the learning process of those languages since a young age. And I know by experience that it is not easy to learn a language. Let me say that most of the teaching methodologies, including RG, totally fail to account for the foreign student who is trying to learn a new language. In the case of German (not an easy language), It is not necessary to try to impose on the student complicated sentence constructions sometimes totally out of touch with the student own thinking process. Yes, it would be nice if one could speak like Goethe after 15 lessons but it is not going to happen. Let me give a simple example found in lesson 15.3. (hundreds of similar examples could be offered). In that example the actor says:"fur sie soll die Überraschung doch sein" (Translated: "The surprise is for her") Granted that it is perhaps the absolute correct way to say it! However the same message could be communicated by a simple sentence such as: "die Überraschung ist für sie" (This is actually the translation given by Babylon.com) or "fur sie ist die Überraschung" (Same translation) It is obviously a lot easier to remember and I think perfectly correct and more in tune with the way an English speaking student would think. Definitely the student will be perfectly understood by his audience. Besides I do listen some tapes on the internet from systems like Yabla which involve actual German speakers presenting everyday conversations. Typically, the sentences are much shorter and also less complicated than the sentences that RG is trying to make us remember. I am sure most of us can remember: "die Überraschung ist für sie" or "fur sie ist die Überraschung" but very few of us will ever remember: "fur sie soll die Überraschung doch sein" . Perhaps, if simplicity in teaching was one of the objectives of the methodology, student would get less frustrated and more of them would find the energy to go further in their study of the language. Very few seem to go much beyond German Premium! My guess is that with German Premium Plus, long and unnecessary complicated phrases tend to be a deterrent to pursue the study of a language.


I too have wondered about some of the phrases that seem unnecessarily complicated to express a simple English translation. I would like to hear a comment from the RG native speaker regarding this.


I agree with both of the posts above and have also found some of the phrases rather confusing. I am disappointed to see that the previous post was made over a month and a half ago and still hasn't been responded to by anyone from RG. I understand that this is a self study programme but it would be nice to know that there is a human somewhere paying some attention to the forums as that is your customers best way to get some feedback and information from those who provide this programme.


Sometimes the response is quite prompt, but other times the question seems to be totally overlooked (I prefer to think overlooked versus disregarded). I suppose it is easy to lose the threads at times. That happens to me. As I got deeper into the course as well as other German studies and my proficiency improved, I became more critical of the translations. Some of them seemed complicated and awkward. Others, just skipped the translations of key words. I'm pretty sure not all translations were done by native speakers but instead by interns. For example, I found several sentences where a separable prefix verb was totally mistranslated. I have brought this to the attention of Jason, the CEO, who has said he would have the lessons reviewed by a native speaker. I'm just into the second section of Platinum and so far, I haven't run into any major points translation issues other than a few typos or inconsistencies with articles.


I am about halfway through platinum, and I believe it has more errors than the other "editions", or perhaps I am more cognizant of the errors. I have called the attention to whomever our email messages go to about a couple of these errors, but in general, I have found the responses unsatisfactory, so have stopped doing so. Today's lesson that I am doing (22.3) has a line that is translated into English as "Yes, because of this holiday then we start properly." That sort of line makes no sense in English, although I actually believe I understand what the German line was supposed to mean ("this is the proper way to start a holiday."). I think platinum is worthwhile, and I am glad I am doing it, but it seems as if there was a lack of oversight somewhere.


I've just started my platinum and finished chapter 18. You do become more cognizant of errors the more you learn and especially as you review. I completely reviewed Premium and Premium Plus after the new release late last fall and found quite a number of errors. Many were typos and skipped words but some were really awkward sentences like the example you gave. I found that the response from my error reporting was quite good, but the response from a native speaker when I submitted questionable translations to the forum was hapzard. I like Rocket German too and think it has been very worthwhile. However, it seems pretty obvious that quality control of the lessons is lacking. They need to be reviewed by someone that is highly proficient in both German and English. Hopefully, that is or will be done soon as promised.

David K

I  have found some of the more complicated word order challenging but Ive als noticed my capability for handling this improving.

Another way to look at the issue is the instruction should match the way Germans really speak.  If lessons are kept overly simple one might find that when arriving in German one is not prepared for the way native speakers really speak.

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