Learning methods for 4.7 & 4.8


So I'm finding all the changes a verb can go through a little difficult to remember. Does anyone have a system they found to be easier? To have to think about it before speaking could make talking tough.

David K

For me the best solutions to all of the complexities that come with learning German are best solved by practice, practice practice.

I'm really impressed with how well this system works.  I finished Level 1 yesterday and have started on level 2 Module 9.  I'm amazed out how much progress I've made even in just 4 or so hours today on word order. This morning I thought I would never be able to hold many of these much longer sentences in my head ever -- it didn't seem I had enough "registers" or memory slots in my brain to hold them, 

After learning the TMP rule and realizing that it the pieces of a sentence come in "chunks" that should be in a certain order it has simplified so much complexity.

Just keep practicing.  And every now and then go back to the previous lessons and practice them over again even if you achieved a perfect score.  Your brain will be laying the foundations for some new neural pathways that will kick-in at some point and you will be amazed.  And I say this as someone who is 61 and heard stories my whole life that past a certain age people can't really learn new languages that well.

Also, if you get tired mix in some exercise into your learning routine.  I swim everyday about four time a day (luckily I live in Florida). I just read an article by Jason that described a system where one made tapes and listened to them repeating words while walking briskly.  Keeps blood flowing to the brain I think.  Mix things up so you can practice longer periods without bogging down or getting frustrated.


Thankyou for your reply David. Your posts are providing me motivation.

David K

Thanks errant Italian-knight,

I struggled with verb conjugations for three years in High School  some 40 plus year ago, and have felt frustrated by that experience my whole life.  I've managed to master vastly more complicated subject matter.  So as sort of a "bucket list" challenge (I'm now 61), I challenged myself to go back and figure out how German Verbs and grammar rules worked for all tenses, subjective, passive, as well as proper Genders, and adjective endings which has been the impossible dream.

Around last October I encountered a free Duolingo course and found it very interesting.  So I kept taking all the free courses I could find. 

I particular liked the Flashcard systems as I could get an objective measure of my memory and learning capacity, and there were moments where it was not only frustrating but scary.  For example, I would see a flash card for a new word, look at the answer, etc, and then five minutes later in the same card would come up and I would recognize the English word and remember that I had just seen it five minutes ago but draw a complete blank on the German, or the gender of the article.

I thought maybe I was degenerating so redoubled my efforts and discovered that for totally new words it could sometimes take me as many as 5 to 7 flashcard flips, and in a few cases as many as 20 just to get a new German word in my mind on the same day, and that by the next day I would often have forget them.

One really important learning insight I discovered for my learning style was to just accept this and not sit looking at a flashcard, squinting, gritting my teeth, and trying to muster great concentration,  but to realize that if it was going to take me say an average of 10 flashcard flips to learn new words and my goal at the time was to learn 2,000, I should just accept the fact that the first 3 to 5 flips were going to be "throw-aways" anyway so why not just do them as fast as possible with no emotion, and sometimes not even trying to remember them.

I tried every German flashcard system I could find and then found one that could do custom lists, and  had lists of the 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 2,000 most common German words.  So I would just blast through them as fast as possible sorting them into three stacks - easy that I mastered, easy or ok but needs more work, and wrong or hopeless. 

I arranged one Saturday where I could spend the whole day - like 16 hours straight. 

I got to the point where I could go through all 2,000 words in somewhere between 2 to 3 hours. To prevent negative emotions, I trained myself not to even care whether I got them right or wrong, and even raised the standards where somr days I'd put them in the more work pile if there was even a micro-second retrieval delay.

Then  I noticed my mind wandering, along some fairly repetitive past incidents or fantasies so used the flashcards like a Buddhist meditation technique to stay focused and alert in present time.  So I'd just note the distracting thought and refocus making the flashcards go even faster to keep my attention.

Somehow, that system offered to extend my 1 week free trial to 1 month, then I found i could get another extension by setting up an account for my girlfriend.  So by Christmas I had done 65,000 flashcard flips and got my vocabulary up to over 2,000 words. My High School Latin teach told us 3,000 words would have been enough to get around in ancient Rome so that was our 3 year plan. (At the time, I found this argument about a dead language to be silly. lol)

But the other thing I noticed is that my concentration, focus, energy, and mood all improved greatly.  I started exercising so I could sustain longer periods of study. I now play the Rocket German Audio tapes while doing my three 45 minutes lap swimming exercises, and downloaded them into my Iphone so I can play them while driving.

Then I found a system that had complete sentences, like we have here with Rocket German and decided I would look at the 3 - 6 or sample sentences that came along with the free word of the day from one system and found out by then worming through the archives I could get the free word of the day for the last 10 years with access to thousands of sample sentences.  So then upped it to looking and repeating out loud 100 sentences a day. 

Somewhere along the way all the verb conjugations just came together in my head.  Instead of thinking of all the rules  " like you = du, Second person, singular must be, ummm = bist so ergo du bist."  I can now think you are and du bist just pops into my mind from memory.  In terms of this "chunk theory" Jason talks about, the way I think of it, instead of using like 7 registers to calculate all the verb rules, somehow I know have "Du bist" in one register.

Same thing is happening now for articles, and adjective endings. When I think "on the weekend" I do not calculate case, number, etc,  but just think "am Wochenende.

I realized that I was not going to really understand the verb conjugations and declensions until I saw and understood several thousand sentences the same way I did with vocabulary with Flashcards. but sneaking through the "Word of the Day Archives taking several minutes each sentence was too slow. 

So I finally decided to buy the Rocket German system because through the Free Trials I could see it was organized around sentences instead of word and grammar rule memorization and would give me the ability to increase the rate of going through the right kind of sentences by 10 fold.

Again coming back to my recommendation for you, I decided I was not going to try to memorize all the conjugations for all the regular, irregular verbs etc, just to achieve the goal of seeing and understanding as many sentences as possible as fast as possible and let the rules absorb like osmosis. And probably the way children do most of their language learning.

This was the biggest breakthrough. Not trying to remember all the rules, although I had memorized them, it was just too slow to try calculate rule tables in real time.  Instead, to learn the verb forms I just looked at as many sample sentences, as I could find,  and repeated them out-loud - 100 a day every day, 7 days a week, every month for the last half year. These sample sentences contained all the tenses, indicative, passive, subjunctives etc.

So I set up two learning strategies for the Premium Level 1 Course, which I assumed for me was going to be review. that I would do in two weeks before settling into the Level 2 course.

First, I'd spent half of my study time going through the normal linear approach, march through lesson by lesson, mastering the first lesson before going to the second.

But, second I decided I would set aside half of my daily study time go through the Hear It  sections of every lesson and Module in the whole course. Or randomly jump to some completely other section - even in Level 3, and just play it and repeat it until I could just repeat the whole sentences.  If it was too long or hard I didn't spend any more time on it, just put it in the Hard column and moved on taking no longer than 5 seconds or so a sentence and trying t resist my strong urge to keep repeating and studying a sentence for several minutes until I could memorize them.  No that's what I did in my Strategy 1 study time. I was going to make my Strategy 2 study time "Lighting Rounds" or "Blitzkrieg."

Figuring that if I'm going to have to flip some of these thousands of sentences 10 to 20 times or even more before mastering them I might as well get on with it and not dawdle.

Every morning for the last month and a half, I started at the beginning of lesson 1 and just played, and repeated out loud every playable sentence in the whole course.  This became so invigorating on one day I did this pretty much the whole day and noticed I racked up something like 7,000 points.  So this became a game, and I discovered I learned faster even with my Learning Strategy 1 and started completing the complete Dashboard and finishing a module every 3 days.  

It ended up taking me 31 days to finish the Level 1 Premium course because I decided I really wanted to master the foundations. So would wait until l had every section of the Dashboard green before I'd take the module test.  I earned 100,000 points and became Three Star Gold Master, which I know is silly but if it helped me stay motivated to put in a minimum 4 hours a day and sometimes 12 I figured why not go for it.

This was the best language learning strategy I've ever made.

As this story is already way to long, I started just blasting through every sentence hitting play and then recording it.  It took me about 3 weeks before I discovered the Flashcard system which can go even faster.  Sometimes when I get bored, or the Strategy 1 approach gets tedious I will decide to go to some random section of much later sections oven  Level 3, and listen to and repeat every sentence, knowing in advance I'm going to rate it at hard to remove any other thought than hear and repeat.  I've noticed all sorts of interesting language patterns in this sort of hypnotic state and it restores my energy. 

Plus by the time I got to those modules in the Strategy 1 approach, I had already heard the sentences a half dozen times over the course of weeks. Which speeds up the progress.

I hope this gives you some ideas and motivation.

Good luck,


Ask a question or a post a response

If you want to ask a question or post a response you need to be a member.

If you are already a member login here .
If you are not a member you can become one by taking the free Rocket German trial here .