Today I’ve launched a new edition – eine neue Ausgabe – of Learn German Through Signs, first published in 2015, rewritten and expanded in 2019.
Learn German Through Signs is an e-book that combines my two passions: Sprachen und Fotografie – Languages and photography.
The aim is to help students to expand their vocabulary and to encourage them to look at German language signs and learn from them.
We can learn a lot from signs. I’ve learned many Welsh words and phrases from seeing bilingual signs on roads in Wales.
But in Germany, most signs are monolingual, which makes things a bit more difficult – ein bisschen schwieriger.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing signs all around you but being unable to make sense of them. That’s an experience I had on a visit to Poland.
In my book, however, I explain the language in the signs in detail, so that you can understand everything, and in doing so, learn many useful words and phrases – viele nützliche Wörter und Phrasen.
I completed the first edition of Learn German Through Signs in 2015 and decided to produce an expanded and updated edition in late 2019.
The original edition had 49 photos, the new one has an additional 23, taking the total to 72.
I’ve also added a vocabulary quiz at the end. There are two sections – German to English and English to German.
23 new photos added
I added some new photos from Berlin, where I lived – vor der Wende – before the fall of the Berlin Wall and visited many times since then.
I’ve included the famous sign at Checkpoint Charlie in four languages – German in small writing at the bottom. This says something about the status of post-war occupied Germany.
I also visited the plaque commemorating David Bowie. It is on the building where he lived from 1977 to 1979.
I love signs that exemplify a particular grammar point. Zu den Zügen is a sign that can be seen at railway stations in the German-speaking countries, but few people appreciate that it’s the perfect example of the dative plural and it’s easy to memorise.
I also like the sign displaying ‘scharf > schärfer > am schärfsten’. You will read about the comparative in grammar books but to see it on the front of a curry stall on the street makes it more memorable.
Signs tell us a lot about the culture of a country. The design, typography and style of language are all interesting. Many signs in the German-speaking part of Belgium, for instance, display a French cultural influence. There are many superbly designed signs on the front of shops and businesses in Germany.
Whenever I’m out and about in Germany or one of the neighbouring German-speaking countries, I’m always on the lookout for interesting signs, and will often stop and take the time to photograph them, either with one of my cameras or quite often, my iPhone.
I also encourage anyone learning the language to photograph signs like this. It’s a good way to expand your vocabulary and understanding of the language.
If you’re one of my students and/or on my mailing list, you can download a free copy of my Learn German Through Signs e-book.
It has 72 photographs, 160 pages of photos and explanations, over 7000 words of text – actually not too long, and a total of 168 pages. To read the entire e-book would take probably not much longer than an hour. To memorise the important words and phrases – perhaps a little longer.