What points do I need to consider in order to find the best German online course?

I answered this question at StackOverflow, before I realized that the question was 10 months old and not likely to get a response. Therefore, I’ll post my comments here and see if anyone has any comments of suggestions.

When learning German and choosing an online course

It is very important to understand that the gender of a noun is the most important element, when learning the German language. Without knowing the gender of a noun, it is impossible to properly form a sentence correctly. If the course fails to include the article when teaching nouns, it should be avoided.

For example, if the course only teaches you that “Haus” is the word for “house”, it should be avoided. The course must teach you that “house” is “das Haus/die Häuser”.

Deutsch Welle (DW) is a good place to get supplemental learning material. In addition to their website, they have some audio podcasts on iTunes. I like the slow news podcast, where the current events are read slower than they are in normal new broadcasts.

The only problem with the DW is that they are designed for multinational students living in Germany. The vocabulary lists are not going to have English translations in many cases.

If you are looking for a really good online course, you might try Duolingo. It is free, fun and slightly addictive.

Two absolutely essential resources are the dict.cc and leo.de websites. Both sites are off-shoots of the Mr. Honey German dictionaries available at Gutenberg.org by Winfried Honig. Dict.cc allows you to download their entire database for your personal use. I downloaded it. It is a CSV of over 1 million rows.

Lastly, be sure to look at youtube.de as a source of German material. There are a large number of German language audio books available including many kids books. I constantly listen to German audio books. There is nothing better for students who are not around German language speakers on a regular basis than listening to German language books. I recommend the speakers David Nathan, Dietmar Wunder, and the great Dirk Bach.

Thirteen signs you are wasting your potential

13 signs that you are wasting your potential
Thirteen signs you are wasting your potential

Were you as reckless as I was?

I used to be the type of person who did not put a lot of thought into the future. I was curious about life and I just wanted to see what happened. At 18, I left home 12 days after graduating from high school and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago. Had I ever been in Chicago? No. Did I have family or friends in Chicago? No. Did I have any reason for going to Chicago? No. It seemed like the scariest place in America to me at the time. I thought that would be a good way to have an adventure. And, I did. I went to Chicago, stayed for 11 months and then travelled south to Florida. By making spontaneous, reckless decisions, I managed to see a lot of the United States. I eventually ended up moving to Europe. Now, I live in Germany.

As I approach 50 years of age, I am grateful that I have survived as long as I have. I regret not having a disciplined life with concrete goals. I probably should have completed an education before I decided to travel. I probably should have had some well-defined, concrete goals, too. I think these two changes in my lifestyle would have been beneficial. There are probably a lot of other changes that I should have made, too.

Consequently, I’m a sucker for lists that claim to be able to tell you if you are living your life properly. To paraphrase Zeppelin, it is never too late to change the road you are on. A good list might just do the trick and lead one down the path to success, riches, and happiness.

Thirteen signs you are wasting your potential

I copied this life-list at Wizzed.com (which they probably stole from some other website). I hate how their website is set up. I don’t even know how I got there. There are ads all over the place. Most of the ads are made to look like “next” buttons to trick you into clicking on their ads. That annoys me.

Therefore, I am reposting the list here to save you the 5 minutes you would waste at their ad-heavy website. The list should only take 15 seconds of your life to read. I have also added a point of my own.

After you read it, please make a comment. Does this list resonate with you? Why or why not?

Thirteen signs you are wasting your potential

  1. You are religious, homeless or addicted to meth.
  2. You don’t leave your comfort zone
  3. You’re not learning anything
  4. You’re glued to your phone
  5. You’re not working a job you want
  6. You spend too much time with people who don’t matter
  7. You’re spending money on things that don’t matter
  8. You don’t get enough sleep
  9. You’re not taking care of your body
  10. You do things you shouldn’t be doing
  11. You find yourself complaining a lot
  12. You have zero goals for the future
  13. Do you trust you and like to have you as a friend?

What I need to work on in my life

Point One (comfort zone) and Point Seven (lack of sleep) are the two items I should work on fixing. I do not like leaving my house, let alone my comfort zone. Yet, how can you learn if you are not in situations greater than your abilities. Always take jobs beyond your skill-set and then develop the skills needed to do the job well.

Point Four was a problem for a while. I took a job that I hated, so that I would be able to afford to get more education. It was a long, 18 months of back-breaking work, but I accomplished my goal. I’m in school again. If you are in school now, do not waste the time. Learn everything that you can.

As for Point Twelve, people see you differently than you see yourself. If you do not have any close friends, that’s very telling of you. If you want more friends, be nice to others. It takes no effort to treat people kindly. Being kind to people makes the world a better place and does not cost you any extra time or money.

To read the original Wizzed article, click on the picture below.

Wizzed Logo
Wizzed – 11 Signs You’re Wasting Your Life