Review of Berlitz German Phrase Book and Audio CD
Berlitz German Phase Book and Dictionary was one of the first resources I bought to learn German. I knew that it wouldn’t help me with colloquial language, and that it would mostly consist of handy phrases for travelers, but I figured it would help me decide whether or not German was the language for me.
For the price of $14.95 at Borders (back when Borders was the major book store chain), I purchased this phrase book, which also included a pocket dictionary and an audio CD. The main phrase book was packed with many useful requests and conversations which, as I anticipated, were geared primarily towards travelers. As a beginner, I found a lot of useful vocabulary in the phrase book. Most textbooks and courses don’t go very in depth into travel vocabulary, so this phrase book could be a very useful supplement.
Now, having studied German, I know that the formal language used in this travel guide is overly-polite and I would likely not use a good deal of it, if I were to travel to Germany today. Still though, it was a helpful resource. I also enjoyed the audio CD, although it was a little hard to follow before I had a sound basis in German basics.
I would recommend this traveler’s guide anyone who needs to learn/brush up on their German before a trip purchase this book. It is certainly one of the best travel guides out there for the German language. The audio CD will help to perfect your pronunciation, and the book covers just about everything you would have to say. For serious language learners, this book could teach you some of the more formal/polite ways of making requests in German, as well as a great deal of travel vocabulary.
What I do not recommend, however, is starting out your German experience with this or any travel guide. That is how I started and I found myself very confused by the different grammatical cases, adjective agreements, and all the other fine points of the language. For that reason, I recommend learning the basics of the German language from a more informative course/class/program and then, at a later time, using this or any travel guide as a supplement for vocabulary.
Whilst this set is only useful for vocabulary when learning the German language, it is certainly one of the best travel guides that I have seen. I have quite a few pocket travel guides, for several languages, and this one has the most features and words. Most travelers, when armed with this book, should do just fine in Germany, especially considering how many people speak in English there.