Advice on self-teaching GermanWatch
Does anyone have any recommendations for books to start with? What should I focus on? My plan is to learn basic German and then to work through children's books with a German dictionary and to watch some German TV/movies. I would love to talk to a native speaker but I don't know anyone; I can't afford classes either just yet as much as I would love to.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend starting with books, especially as this is your first language - you will look a word up, forget it, not follow the storyline because you were too focused on looking words up, become disheartened/bored and give up with the language all together. Save them for until you have the basics, and save TV/movies for when you are at a decent level. If you want to learn in a more authentic way, I recommend songs and possibly even children's poetry (not that I've ever tried the latter!). It's far easier to remember song lyrics than it is to remember individual words from a story. It also gives you an idea of pronunciation. I'm going through Rammstein songs and learning the lyrics - their songs have very clear, repetitive lyrics so it makes thing easy, plus I like their music.
In addition, I'm using duolingo and memrise, which are both free, very useful and perfectly suited to beginners. They are mostly vocab-based but include grammar notes which is great. If you're feeling brave and want to practice your speaking, italki is the best website I've found to connect with natives - you can pay for a language teacher or exchange knowledge with a German that wants to learn English.
If you want to learn the vocab quite quickly, you could use a website called "Quizlet" and make your own online flashcard tests which you can access on your phone too! I used it for my AS vocab and it made it every easy to learn, but I only learned it in the short term.
I'd say definitely find a German partner who can correct your German and test you since I always found that putting my vocab and grammar skills into practise made them stick, because you always have to think about using them right.
One thing which I find very useful too is playing video games in German; especially ones you know very and can remember the text for very well. For example, I play Pokemon in German as I basically know the games word for word (Since I am a giant nerd! ) and it helps me learn snippets of vocab that nobody in my class knows!
I hope this helps,