#75 – Super-Technik: So verstehst du jedes Wort – mit David von Linguathor

Flemming: What would you say if you could completely understand complex German texts the first time you read them? Wouldn’t that be absolutely awesome? Today, in this episode of Deutsches Geplapper, David von Linguathor and I will explain to you how this is possible. You will get to know a method that will help you achieve full understanding of the content right from the start, train your listening comprehension, quickly expand your active vocabulary and create output, i.e. practice speaking German. Stay tuned if you feel like it. Welcome to German Chatter. I am Flemming, German coach at Natural Fluent German. This podcast is for you if you want to improve your listening comprehension, expand your vocabulary, get to know real everyday German and find out more about Germany. You can find the transcripts to read along at www.naturalfluentgerman.com. By the way, German chatter is also available on YouTube. And now have fun listening. Let’s continue with the episode. But first I would like to introduce you to the current advertising partner of Deutsches Geplapper. And his name is Koro. Koro is a grocer that specializes in online shipping of predominantly vegetarian and vegan foods. And the company tries to do this in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Because here you will mainly find large packaging. As a result, Koro saves several million tons of plastic waste every year compared to other grocers. Koro also relies on shorter transport routes when purchasing its products. That means less CO2 and good for the climate. Personally, I love Koro because I like to make a large order and then be able to eat it for a longer period of time. And overall it is financially significantly cheaper than in the supermarket. I can particularly recommend the peanut butter or almond butter. I usually empty such a large jar within a week. But I also like to order the 1kg bags of cashew or sunflower seeds for my muesli in the morning. In total, Koro has over 1,000 products, including superfoods, snacks, dried fruits, nut mixes, bars and energy balls and also drinks, such as ginger snaps, which I can also highly recommend. All pretty tasty and high quality. Just see for yourself and take a look at the products at www.korodruggerie.de. There you can use the code GEPLAPPER to get 5% off your order. So when ordering, simply enter CHATTER in the field, regardless of whether it is written in upper or lower case and buy cheaply. You can find the link to Koro’s website in the show notes for this episode. So just take a look and have fun.

Yes, hello dear German learners, hello dear German learners! Welcome to a new episode of German Chatter, nice to have you back. And I have someone who is now a permanent guest here on my podcast. It’s David from Linguathor again, hello David! David: Hi Flemming! Flemming: Yeah, really cool that you’re back! We’ve heard and seen each other a few times now. I don’t think I need to mention who you are and what you do again. I think people know you by now. Yes, first of all the question, everything is clear with you David, how are you? You have a beautiful background today. David: Thank you. Yes, no, everything is fine for me, especially because of the weather. We have, I don’t know about you up there, but in Hanover we have over 30 degrees. Flemming: Yes. David: Yesterday it was 32 degrees and the next four days it should be 31 degrees at the beginning of September. Yes, exactly. It’s cool, I have to say, yes. Flemming: Exactly, yes. It’s similar for us, definitely a bit of an extended summer. I have to say that you can bear it quite well at the moment. David: Definitely. Flemming: Yes, very good. Yes, and the reason why we’re gathering here again today, I mean we’ve noticed anyway that we harmonize quite well here in our consequences and in our ideas when it comes to language learning and so on noticed, I would say. And we also decided to start a small, I would say, cooperation with each other. I can introduce this very briefly, you did, we talked in one, I think in our first episode, about your language learning method, the so-called Translation Cubed . If you, dear listener, haven’t heard this yet, definitely listen to the episode again. Yes, but today we want to go into this topic in a little more detail: what does it mean and how can you benefit from it as a language learner? We’ll go into this in a little more detail in a moment. Yes, it’s easy, we now thought: hey, why shouldn’t we combine these podcast episodes that we create for you here and the transcripts for them, why shouldn’t we combine that with this beautiful method, with Translation Cubed ? And that was kind of our idea and we want to go into that a little bit today and present it in more detail, how it can ultimately work, how you can use it. David:

Exactly, I would also like to motivate the listeners to listen again to this episode that we have already done, which explains it in a little more detail, but basically with the Translation Cubed , i.e. with my method, it works It is a bilingual method, which means that you learn the foreign language through your own mother tongue, or through a language that you understand well. So let’s just take German-English as an example. With the Translation Cubed method you have both languages, German and English, but not just one translation of the sentence. So not only every sentence is translated, but also every word, literally. This means you can see at a glance all the translations you need to thoroughly understand the respective text. And that’s beneficial for many reasons, but mostly because you can just, yes, because it’s not stressful. So it’s just, there’s no stress at all, when you come across new words, you know straight away what they mean. Well, as a language learner and I know that you, Flemming, you also had this experience, I spent most of my time not really enjoying the foreign language in question, but rather, I always call it fighting. I always had to fight to understand this language, especially the new words. And that takes a lot of time, it’s sometimes demotivating and that’s exactly, let’s say, the difficulty that I want to avoid with my method or help you listeners to avoid. Flemming: Exactly, yes. You also have to keep reminding yourself what methods we have today, what possibilities we have and what things looked like in the past. So you just said fighting, that’s a good keyword. It really used to be the case, let’s define it earlier, you can say 50 years ago, 100 years ago or even much earlier, that people really had to make an enormous effort if they wanted to learn a language in order to translate really complex texts , to truly achieve a full, broad understanding. And that is ultimately the innovation that your method offers, that this stress, so to speak, this frustration, the annoyance that comes with it, simply disappears, right? David: Right. For me, for example, it took years before I could actually read and understand the texts that I wanted to read in German. Let’s take this as an example. I still remember that we had, I always call them canned conversations

started like everyone else at school and university. “How much…”, I have no idea, “how much does it cost?” and so on and so forth, “What color is the table?”, I have no idea, just banal, boring conversations. And with my method you can actually understand everything from day one. Whether this is a scientific article, it could also be a book, it doesn’t matter at all. Even if you are a complete beginner in a language, you can actually understand very demanding texts. And all the details because everything is translated. Flemming: Exactly. David: Exactly. And it works, it’s not about struggling to understand, but rather you understand everything and then you have to gradually become less dependent on the translation, so to speak. So this step of fighting to understand is completely eliminated. This means you can spend a lot more time with the actual authentic language. That’s the beauty of it. Flemming: Yeah, okay. So let’s get very specific: how do I work now? Let’s say we now have this podcast episode from today, yes, we have the transcript for it and your translation from Translation Cubed . How do I work with this material now? So what exactly does the listener have to imagine here? How can he/she now work or learn as profitably as possible? David:

Yes, it’s good that you asked. So there is not only this bilingual format, but also very precise steps. The first step that I always recommend is to read the entire text in your own language. We do this because we first want to have a global understanding of the text, because our brain likes it that way. This means that the brain doesn’t want to understand all the details at first, but just roughly what it’s about, because then it’s much easier to deal with the details later. So that’s the first step. The second step is to look at the text, I say text, but a text can also be a video or a podcast. In linguistics you simply say text, i.e. a connected language thing, language thing. That’s just a text. Anyway, you listen to it, in this case a podcast episode of Deutsches Geplapper and read along in your native language at the same time. This means that I listen to the foreign language and read along in my own language at the same time. And that helps because I’ve already read the text at my leisure, without audio. Now I’m seeing this for the second time, which means I’m becoming even more familiar with the text, with the content of the text, but at the same time I’m getting used to the foreign sounds, let’s say, the sound of the language. Especially when it comes to this topic, as far as the topic at hand is concerned. So that’s the second step. Is it relatively clear by then? Flemming: For me, definitely. I think for the listeners too, yes. David:

I hope so. Okay, the third step is to calmly look at the foreign language text for the first time without audio. That means I read through the sentences, in this case in German of course, and I look at the translation of the sentences in my language again so that I can familiarize myself with the content again, a third time. But this time I’m explicitly looking at the German sentences in order to, yes, look at the German sentences, i.e. the structure, for the first time, for example. But once I’ve done that, I also look at the translation of the individual words. And in this step I want to, I want to explicitly compare the structure, the different structures of the two languages. That means, for example, if we had the sentence in German “I only understand train station”, it’s not about a different, different structure, because you also say “I only understand train station”. So the structure is no different, but the way in which I express this idea is of course completely different. Because “I only understand train station” doesn’t mean “I only understand train station”, but rather “I don’t understand a thing or I understand very little”, so now said in English. But if, for example, I have a sentence like “I never thought that you wouldn’t have come, or that you wouldn’t come” or something like that, as soon as we have such a that structure in a subordinate clause in German, then it stands out English looks completely different in terms of grammatical structure, right? And I can see that immediately using the transition cube method. I see that the structures of the sentences in the two languages ​​are completely different. Flemming: So this simply makes the difference between the native language and the target language much clearer, which should ultimately help us transfer these fixed sentence structures that we have in our heads from our own native language to the foreign language into the target language. David: Exactly, exactly. And so that’s a, let’s say, a secondary advantage of this, that you’re less likely to make the main mistake of all language learners, which you just mentioned, which is to literally translate from your own language into the foreign language. Apart from the fact that you can see the difference in terms of structure straight away, you develop an intuitive understanding of foreign language grammar without having to learn grammar rules. So those are all the advantages of this method. Fleming:

Exactly, very, very good. Yes, and that’s what it’s always like, yes, or simply a huge advantage, because it’s always intimidating to know, okay, I now have to deal intensively with grammar again, but your method is in Principle, in principle, the aim is that you can ideally do this through this practical application with the help of an interesting text, without having to really dig through this theory again or be afraid that you don’t understand something . David: Exactly. Which isn’t to say that the theory isn’t important, but I always recommend that you only deal with the theory when you already have an understanding, which is around B1 level or an advanced A2, at the earliest. So, the next step after I’ve dealt with the sentences and the words is to listen to the text again. That’s what I’m doing, and this time I’m concentrating on the German text, i.e. both the sentences and the words with their literal translations in my language. And the very last thing I do is listen to the audio, for example the podcast episode, completely without text. And I will definitely have a sense of success because I will definitely understand much better than I would have if I hadn’t taken all these steps with the transition cube method. Flemming: Okay, very good. So in the end there are four or five steps that you have listed? David: That’s five steps, exactly. You can take the first step, so there can be a sixth step, which is to listen to the text or audio, without any text at the beginning, so that you can see how well you understand. However, I recommend this… Unless you’re really interested, but for beginners, for example, listening to something that’s 20 minutes long without understanding anything is very tiring. So it should be treated with caution, but it can also be very motivating because I listen to it, I don’t understand anything, and in the end I understand everything or almost everything. So that you have this comparison, it’s a great sense of achievement, but that’s why I always say that this zero step is optional. Flemming: Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of a challenge to start looking, just, okay, where am I? A positioning statement, if you will. David: Exactly, yes. And, I shouldn’t forget, the very last step, which is the active one, i.e. the speaking step, you could say, is the so-called Active Reverse Translation,

So active back translation, where you translate back from your own language into German, in this case. However, you have the German structure, the structure and the words in front of your eyes and only see the first two letters of each German word. It’s a little difficult to describe, so for those who are listening to this right now. I just recommend, we’ll give you examples of course, I recommend that you look at it to really understand what it means, because it’s really a novel, innovative method. Flemming: Exactly, exactly. Yes, we will definitely start that now. So we are now in the process, or rather you are in the process of translating all of these episodes, this podcast. So we decided that we would make all the episodes available from the beginning of this year, yes from the beginning of the year. That means there will definitely be a lot of episodes for people to work with here. It’s true, one episode is a lot of material, so to speak, to learn from. You probably can’t do that in one day. This means that people then receive these PDF step-by-step instructions, so to speak, on how they can work with it, how they can learn with it, and are then carried out a bit. Yes, you can imagine it that way. David: Absolutely. Exactly, there are PDF instructions and if necessary I can also make a video with an introduction to exactly how to do it, depending on what the audience wants. Flemming: Exactly, that sounds perfect. Exactly, great. So maybe more specifically: who is this aimed at and what are the specific advantages that people here can expect with this method? David:

This is actually aimed at everyone who, above all, wants to improve their listening comprehension. Because very often you think you understand, but you don’t. At least you don’t understand all the details. And because you have a translation of everything, not just the sentences, as I said, but also every word, you really understand what everything means. And at the end of these steps you have a much, much better, more thorough understanding of the text in question. But also those who want to speak better, because with active reverse translation, as I said, the goal or benchmark is the native speaker. So you should be able to reproduce these sentences, these authentic German sentences, I would say, from memory. This means that your vocabulary will definitely increase and you will also speak more fluently and, above all, you will use words and structures that you might not be using at the moment. So even someone who has level C1 can definitely benefit from it, because you don’t necessarily use all the words and all the structures that appear in a particular text. Flemming: Exactly. Okay, so listening comprehension, but also speech production as an output exercise. David: Absolutely. Flemming: Perfect. At the end of the day, that’s what the people who listen to this podcast want. That it basically serves the entire range from B1 to C1. There are enough people here who still have the problem with listening comprehension, as you say, also having this real understanding of details, having this understanding of details and also starting or not starting, but continuing on, really being able to speak in a structured way and themselves to be able to express things more complexly. I mean, these are the main goals for anyone who has already reached this advanced level. So in the end, very, very sensible, very, very profitable, I would say, for everyone. Yes, David, first of all, thank you very much for the explanations. How do we do it now? So, we now have, I’m basically going to release this on my Patreon page. This means that for a small monthly contribution, people will be able to access all the episodes here and these translations, these working materials that you then translate for them and these instructions, so to speak, that people can then download there. That’s what it looks like, you can then use these podcast episodes and then, in the best case scenario, you can improve a lot with this method, yes. David:

That’s the plan. This is what it looks like. Yes, I’m really happy. And yes, if you have any questions, as always, please feel free to write to Flemming. You can find me too. Flemming always links to my channels. Well, I’m happy to hear from you and I’m sure you’ll definitely benefit from it. Flemming: Exactly, I definitely am too. Yes, exactly, you said, of course I’ll add the links to David. We’ll still discuss it and see how we can do it in detail. I think you already have a few explanations about this Translation Cubed on your YouTube channel . Yes, I think I don’t even know whether it makes sense to make another extra video because you basically already have all the basics and explanations there. If we notice, okay, people can’t cope with it yet, we can always push something back, so to speak. But I think based on these videos you’ve already made, based on the instructions you also give, it should all work. As I said, I’ll also put the link to Patreon , i.e. to the material that you can then use to do this translation technique, in the show notes. Take a look and then get the material! This is definitely a really, really good chance to improve your German with this podcast. I’m really happy that we’re starting this little collaboration here, David. I’m excited and I’m very, very sure that a lot of people will benefit from this. Yes. David: I’m happy too! Thank you very much, Flemming, as always! Flemming: Thank you! We’ll see how it gets going and how many questions come up and how we can then push the whole thing forward and expand it in the future. David: That’s how we do it. Flemming: Very nice. Well, folks, you heard it. Then of course we wish you a nice week. We’ll hear from you again next week and definitely rate the podcast. Helps German chatter to progress further. Tell your friends about it, give me a like, a positive review. And then see you next week. Take care. Bye. David: Thank you very much. Take care. Bye Bye.


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