Quick Update – Understanding the News

Here’s a brief progress report for my Understanding News project.

It’s been three weeks since I started. I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable with media German, both spoken and written. I’ve only learned about 250 new words, so it’s not like the size of my vocabulary has made a huge difference. Mainly, I just feel like I’m getting used to the conventions and some of the most common patterns. And not to make light of a serious geopolitical situation, but I’m getting sick of hearing about Greece and the debt crisis.

My goals for this project were purposely vague, which makes it a little tricky to track progress. So just now I decided to transcribe the same article I transcribed on Day 1 of the project. Here’s the difference:

The biggest improvement I made is that now I’m using a sweet Spider-Man pen.

I hadn’t looked at this text in three weeks, but this second time around I didn’t make any mistakes.

My main problems the first time had been with identifying correct adjective endings. I was so irritated with myself that I spent an evening studying those. That must’ve helped, because tonight it was pretty easy to identify the correct choices.

This picture isn’t by any means intended to be proof positive of my progress. Obviously, I could’ve just cheated this second time around by looking at the source text. For the record, I didn’t cheat, and lying about transcription success is one of the lamest things a person can do.

Transcribing just made me pay close attention to the language and provided me instant feedback on areas I was weak in, which I was then able to work on. I was also familiar with this text, so the second time I really didn’t have any issues with comprehension or hearing words and phrases correctly.

Anyway, 21 days have passed, so it’s time to mix things up, while still keeping to the LMK template:

  • 30 minutes a day of watching news (Free listening)
  • Gisting exercises with news articles (Active listening)
  • Working through an introductory college textbook (Studying)
  • 15 minutes a day of extensive reading (Bonus exercise)

I noticed I was having trouble with some elementary concepts, like the adjective endings I mentioned and conjugations of the verb werden. To help with that, I bought a very used copy of the textbook Deutsch heute. I’m going to work through this and really try to hammer down the basics.

I’ll also explain my gisting exercises in a standalone post.

So far so good! Going to keep pressing forward and report in at six weeks.

  • http://allthetongues.hol.es/ Roman Shinkarenko

    I’m glad that if not me, then somebody is active in language learning. Also, I’m glad that the news talk not only about Ukraine. Can you understand rap?
    P. S. I’ve asked about pronunciation on the Facebook.

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      I can understand some rap. There’s a guy named Blumio who raps pretty clearly, and I can understand him. Some of the gangster rap is too difficult for me to keep up with, though, until I read the lyrics. But I have the same problem in English too.

  • http://fluenthistorian.com/ Natalie

    Yay! That’s great progress. I can’t wait to hear more details about gisting exercises.

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Thanks! Gisting is…interesting. Less straightforward than transcription, but has its own value I think.

  • http://www.teenjazz.com/ Shannon Kennedy

    Wow! Impressive progress. Congrats!

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.


  • http://lightonspanish.com/ Jorge Sivit

    Only?! I find 250 new words in three weeks is a lot. Congratulations!