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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2011
[Please note: I am going to refer to both Volume 1 and 2 in this review, as I believe it will be more helpful to prospective purchasers to have an idea of what the complete course entails]

I purchased the Earworms Rapid German Volume 1 and 2 as an extra tool to brush up my high-school German during my daily journey to and from work. Having sampled various audio-based language courses with various degrees of success, I was keen to find something fun and useful at the same time.

I ought to stress at this point that when I did study German at high school, it was at upper intermediate level, and although I was never really able to hold a proper conversation, I have a pretty good grounding of grammar, which I have been brushing up in recent months with the help of the Collins LiveMocha Active German (Collins Active/Livemocha)course. I was aware that the Earworms courses are targeted at beginners, but I thought it would still be useful to drum a few phrases into my memory and perhaps learn a couple of new words here and there.

The 'lessons' are actually quite good fun. The music tracks change with each lesson, so they never become boring; the production is actually of pretty high quality and all styles are represented - there are jazzy tunes, funky tunes, dancey ones, even some vaguely Celtic sounding melodies!

The format revolves around a native speaker - a German woman - and a 'student' - a British man with a very, very nice voice. You might actually fall in love with this guy by the end of the course...! The student/teacher format can be tricky to get right: for instance, I find the Start German with the Michel Thomas Method (Michel Thomas Series)course unbearable because of the extremely irritating female student who just gets absolutely everything wrong (I was sent the Introduction course by Amazon as part of the Vine Programme and that one hour taster put me off attempting the rest of the programme). In contrast, the same Michel Thomas course for French is a lot better. With Earworms, the British student with the lovely voice only gets a few things wrong here and there, and is promptly corrected by the native speaker 'teacher'. There is a jokey atmosphere throughout the lessons, which makes the course a lot more fun than the various Michel Thomas, Pimsleur etc.

Volume 1 is very basic and if you have studied German before, you will probably already know all the phrases and vocabulary. You will learn how to ask for things, how to get on a taxi and ask to be taken to places, how to count etc. Volume 2 will help you make small talk in the form of conversation about your trip - is it for business or for pleasure? - how to book at table at a restaurant, how to order and so on. It ends with the two actors, rather amusingly, agreeing to go on a date together. It certainly made me smile.

However entertaining, both Volume 1 and 2 will only really give you the most basic vocabulary, however, and even then it will only be suitable for the usual tourist purposes - asking for directions, ordering food and so on. I would probably consider purchasing this system in a language of which I have absolutely zero knowledge and use it as a stepping stone towards more in-depth study.

EDIT: I have changed my rating of this product from 3 to 4 stars, as I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and I really think it's excellent, especially for absolute beginners.
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on 7 May 2007
I thought my days of learning a new language were long gone. I have been listening to this audio CD for 6 months whilst driving, and I have absorbed the entire CD.

I disagree with the other reviewers that the music is boring! This music is deliberate, it goes to the beat of the words that you are learning to, and this is why you are able to recall the sentences easily. You learn a "song" and you just "sing" it back. It's so much easier to remember a song than sentences, same as you can remember stories better than facts. "Facts tell, stories sell" and it's certainly true in this audio CD.
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on 25 July 2007
I enjoyed learning from the Rapid Chinese CD a few months back and so knew what to expect when this arrived. This is a very similar presentation, with the same 10 track titles: I would like...; To order; Have you ...?; To the airport; Numbers; days & times; Is there ...?; Directions; Where, when & what time?; Problems, problems!; and Do you speak English? In fact they have mostly the same phrases. Ordering a bottle of wine somehow seems more natural for German that it did for Chinese!

The way it works is there is a native German-speaking woman and a native English-speaking man. The English comes first then the German. As the track titles above suggest the 10 lessons cover useful phrase book stuff, at the most basic level. All the time there is a music track playing - easy to listen to. I do not know if the music helps memorizing the sentences but it does make the CD easy to have on in the background while working or doing other things. There is a handy 20 page booklet with the CD, which shows all the phrases on the CD, as well as describing the theory behind the learning method.

I did 'O' level German at school, which seemed to be all about learning the 16 words for "the". Thankfully not a mention of that here: ein/eine/einen/zum/zu/der/das/die/etc. are all introduced in context without being pointed out. After my German exam (I passed by the way) all I could speak in German was gutentag and "der das die die, dem dem den den", which does not get you very far. Listening to this CD course, in every school lesson, would have made a lot more sense. And we could have played cards while doing it. (Sadly the only class we actually got away with playing cards in was sociology.)

If we are looking for downsides the CDs are maybe a bit pricey, and are quite passive: no quizzes or chances for active usage of the language. But that is fine, it would not be easy to have on in the background if it was like that. Just do not expect this can be your only tool to learn the language.

Overall I like these EarWorms CDs and they will be my first choice when I want to learn the basics of a new language.
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on 21 December 2016
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on 30 April 2017
Very helpful to learn language and how to pronounce things.
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on 12 August 2017
I found the phrases to stick in my mind after listening to this a few times over, it really helped whilst I was in Germany.
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on 6 June 2007
I love my earworms German CD. I listen to it when I am driving and it's brilliant!! I also play it on my MP3 player whilst in the gym - the perfect combination - getting fit and learning at the same time.

I have never learned well aurally, In one ear and out the other, but this seems to have stimulated a new learning style I never thought I would cope with, I think that it will in fact help in many other ways too. I have noticed a difference in my own job of training. I can remember peoples names so much better now. I definitely think it's triggered something in my brain.

It is quite amazing that when the phrases come up in every day English, the German equivalent pops into my head at the same time - like 'Warum nicht' 'Why not' and the pronunciation seems to come automatically. I can actually hear the voices on the tape. The Phrase book that comes with the CD is also very helpful. I carry it around in my handbag, it helps to see the words as well.

I thought I might get fed up with the music and the voices, but in fact you just become even more familiar with them as time goes by. Sort of as if you actually have got to know them personally.

I look foward to buying the Volume 2 - I will wait and continue to chirp along with my volume 1 - thinking I am better than I really am!!

My only concern is what I will do once I have mastered both CD's - what sort of learning should I go on to from there.
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on 17 November 2006
Rapid German Volume 1 is superb. Here I am, one week after first listening to it. And I can instantly recall and say loads of different phrases in German. Not just words on their own. Phrases. Complete sentences. It took me years and a trip to Paris to be able to have such confidence in my French. Yet, here I am, able to speak phrases in German. I have tried other language learning products/software. With those products comes all the anxiety of making sure you remember the phrase, get the pronunciation right and remember the word order. This approach to language learning gets rid of all the anxiety, nerves and frustration normally found within the learning process. I have detailed experience in accelerated learning and still, I have not seen anything as good as this product.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2008
Perhaps I just don't learn this way. The music did nothing for me, and I can't think of any phrases "anchored into my long term memory". Perhaps I don't play it enough.

The CD is fine if you want to learn stock phrases like "I would like to order...", "Have you got..." "Is there...." but what do you do when someone responds in German.

I want to learn German so I can ask, understand the answer and respond. It will help you "get by" but not to have a conversation - go for broke and get Michel Thomas instead.
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on 11 November 2006
I have been living in Austria for a short time. I did not speak German at all when I arrived. It has given me the courage to talk, instead of just listerning. It is the most natural way to learn a language. I listern in the car, whilst ironing. It is ausgezeichnet.
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