Making Sense of German
This is a clear and entertaining introduction to German, aimed at anyone considering studying the language, as well as at those who are fascinated by languages and how they work.
The guide takes an innovative approach by assuming that potential readers bring a great deal of knowledge of their own to the party, starting with German words and phrases which have made their way into English (Blitzkrieg, Dachshund, Kindergarten, to name but three), and with it a fair grasp of how the Germans pronounce their words (Volkswagen, Mozart, etc). In addition, you will be familiar with how at least one major European language - English - works, and that in itself offers valuable insights into German vocabulary, grammar and syntax.
The emphasis throughout is on explaining why German is as it is, rather than just throwing sets of 'rules' and 'exceptions' at readers and telling them that this is the way things are without teasing out the underlying structures, historical evolution, and compromises which all languages have to cope with.
No punches are pulled: German is not an easy language to master, but it all makes a deal more sense if you are aware of how and why it has evolved into its present form. The main text is dotted with 'interludes', which cover less challenging aspects of the language, like numbers and time, well-known sayings, and compound words. The guide is rounded off with a number of parallel texts with full explanations.
There are five appendixes:
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