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Paul Nobel vs Michel Thomas
on 11 December 2014
Hopefully this review will be useful to someone as I thought it might be worthwhile comparing this course to Michel Thomas' 'Total German' set of CDs also available on Amazon.
If you're like me with no German knowledge and looking to learn the basics quickly these are both sets of 10 (or 12) CDs that are designed to get you up and running (or at least walking) in a reasonably quick time. Both these sets cost about £50 and are based on the student friendly idea that learning shouldn't be painful or forced, but given logical a logical structure and interactive methodology you can pick up the verbal language reasonably quickly.
One of the main differences is that the Michel Thomas approach is set in a 'classroom' where the teacher talks through concepts with the students and listens to their efforts, as you're likely to repeat listening to the CDs often this can get tedious. With Paul Nobel approach the fourth wall is broken and he talks to you directly, the German speaking is done by a German 'actor', this actually makes for a greater clarity and more confidence that the accent is correct. One issue though is that MT clearly states the pronunciation or each word, how it is built up, shape of mouth and tongue when saying it and often what English words sound like it, with PN you have to listen very carefully to pick up the correct working and can be confused between 'b' and 'v's etc. For example how exactly you say I 'ich' (is it 'ick' 'ish' icksh' etc.) is covered much more clearly with MT.
One of the big issues I have with MT though is that an awful lot of material is covered very quickly, this means for a slow person like me, lots of repeats of the CDs. WIth PN you're taken at a much lower pace, basics are covered well and longer more complicated sentences built at a good speed. Overall this means that there is is less content in the PN course overall, but you are taken at a better pace, and I certainly had more confidence with it.
Also PN goes through numbers, letters etc. in the last CDs in a learning-by-rote way. This is actually very useful and backs up the earlier leaning.
Overall, IMHO both courses are excellent and worth the money (especially if you shop around). I would say the Paul Nobel course is much better for a complete newbie or someone who'd like a language refresh, Michel Thomas is great for more complicated German. My advice would be to start with Paul Nobel, and once mastered move on to Michel Thomas.
Hope that helps! :)