Top critical review
9 people found this helpful
Could do better
on 13 January 2013
Michel Thomas's method may well be a good method on a one to one basis: one cannot progress until one has understood the language themes he explores, which is good. However, listening to the posh girl continually failing to pronounce the words correctly is in the end tortuous. Thomas moves forward and back over his material until you get it. His use of the simplest sentences to show the fundamentals is good. He gets stuck with "Tun" a lot which is not a good example when continually used to demonstrate the Modal auxilliaries - his "handles" - however it's better than trying to read these grammar texts (like Hammer's) that never translate the examples, if any are given. At least Thomas keeps it simple so the structure is shown.
Where this breaks down in this set is when others take over from his method. The tracks are some 5- 8 minutes long meaning one cannot easily review as one goes along without having to listen again from the start when what has been glossed over say in the say 5th Minute of a track. The attempt to get us guessing the German for the word "cat" in an advanced course is gruelling and sentences like "In Rome cats are everywhere" is tortuous. The course is inconsistent: not all German sentences are translated back to the listener; not all translations are clearly set out, leaving me to have to skip back to the beginning of the track again. The course throughout seems to dwell on the polite "Sie" form even when the "Du" form is set up to follow. No mention of "Ihr" or "Euch." On the whole this is more frustrating the more it is listened to. There is a review part to the course, for when one has gone through the cds, but while one is progressing, it is not delivered in bite sized chunks and there's too much, "guess what the German word for 'address' is" or the like.
I like the grouping of themes, words and their relations and I like the way sentences are broken down comprehensively to show how they are turned into German clause by clause, but I'd rather that Thomas's method, of showing how these different tenses and forms or structures are used and constructed, was adhered to. Like he said, "the rest is just vocabulary" and I have a dictionary for that.