re: Off Topic: Learning Theological German

From: yochanan bitan (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 05:14:55 EDT

shalom Paul,

I recommend to all of my students to start German with
Harris Winitz, The Learnables, at least booklets 1-4 (units 1-40).
It costs abit. Around $300. But it is worth every penny. The diligent
student will end up with books 5-8 as well.

This question comes up often on the list and students need to know about
language learning breakthroughs that have been made.
Even for reading-only, I cannot recommend going straight to the "German for
grad student" type books when we have this other material available.
The traditional stuff is like putting finishing paint on unprepared
metal--it never sticks and looks bad in the long run. the Learnables lay
'primer paint' into your subconscious along with the first coats of
finishing paint. They do something in a different dimension for the

The set below is so enjoyable and so amazing that grad students need to
catch on to what junior high homeschoolers have already learned ! [ps:
Syracuse Language also produced some excellent CDs for language learning,
but I find the hard copy pictures and portability of cassettes of Winitz to
be more practical and of wider use for the learner.] [pps: the Learnables
is in a whole different class from cassette courses like the State
Department's FSI German. While good, FSI doesn't compare to Learnables'

You will actually learn German and prepare yourself to think with the
language, which is so important when reading complex discussions in

Winitz, The Learnables, are available at
International Linguistics Corporation
3505 East Red Bridge road
Kansas City, Missouri 64137
they undoubtedly have a website, but I haven't looked for it.

After that, and only after that, you will benefit from books like
(Sandberg and Wendel--?) German for Reading, Prentice Hall.
Excellent, distinctive pedagogy. (though no tapes--recommended for use
after Winitz! )
It can serve as an integrative grammatical review and as an introduction to
reading no-holds-barred German.

Ziefle, Helmut, Theological German, A Reader. Baker. This can be used as a
parallel/follow-up to the above, and there are similar works.

Relevance for the list: after Greek students experience the above for
German, they may be ready to discuss innovations for Greek. :-)

Randall Buth
Jerusalem University College

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