Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course - read all about it - now available in the 200 Words a Day! player ...

The Foreign Service Institute, FSI, has been responsible for the language teaching of US State Department diplomats and other personnel for many a decade. When it comes to 'traditional learning', they are arguably the elite, and their course material is extremely thorough, detailed and well thought out, having been made with the backing of Uncle Sam.

If it is good enough for US diplomats, you will also reap the same benefits!

And now you do not have to shell out thousands...

... now you can get these same courses, that have taught language skills and language fluency to tens of thousands of State Department Foreign Service diplomats and government workers, for a fraction of their cost elsewhere on the internet.

For years these courses were only available through the FSI, and more recently at high prices through various language book sellers. You can pay $250 to $300 or more for FSI German courses that we sell for $47...

Read on!

Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course (Revised)

If you want to learn German and are willing to put in the study, the Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course 1 (Revised) is a very comprehensive and thorough course that has been designed to help students of German reach a level of conversational and language proficiency that would enable them to participate effectively in most formal and informal German discussions and dialogue.

So the emphasis is on learning spoken German for use in day to day discourse.

The dialogues, drills, situations and narrations have been tape-recorded unless otherwise indicated in the text. (You'll get the FSI German lesson recordings as mp3 audio files that you can play on computer, iPod, Sony Walkman, CD player etc).

Aim of the Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course

The course's aim was to provide the student of German with a useful control of the structure of the spoken language and a basic vocabulary which meets at least some of the specialized needs of the US Foreign Service.

On completion of the basic course in German the Foreign Service Officer, or diplomat, was expected to be able to make limited practical use of the language in his or her official duties and social obligations.

Given the proper surroundings and personal motivation, the Foreign Service Institute FSI German student would have laid a solid base for continued rapid and efficient development of linguistic proficiency.

You too can expect the same level of competency in German on completion of Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course 1.

Materials in Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course

12 Lessons or Units

The materials in this first volume of the text are in the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course 1 is organized into twelve lessons or units.

Each unit contains a set of basic sentences for the student to memorize.

These German sentences take the form of an 'every-day' dialogue based on one, or occasionally two, specific common scenarios which a person might encounter in Germany.

Notes to the basic sentences are given where needed to clarify occasional difficulties in German vocabulary and idiom. They also provide extra background on some cultural features unfamiliar to non-Germans (and more specifically - Americans).

Pronunciation assistance...sound like a real German!

Notes for assistance with pronunciation are included in each of the first eight units of the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course 1. This will help you sound like a real German when speaking!

Phonological features which, through experience, have been found to be particularly difficult for American students are here presented with explanations and pronunciation practice drills. While designed for Americans with Americans in mind, much of this is relevant to non-Americans for whom English is their first language.

The notes on grammar in each unit focus on those structural features illustrated in the lesson's basic sentences which are appropriate for systematic consideration at that stage in the the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course.

Substitution Drills

Substitution drills provide for the manipulation of forms by substituting specific items in fixed sentence frames. They assist building habits of association, so that in a given environment the appropriate grammatical form automatically comes to mind.As the German vocabulary is all familiar, no English equivalents are given in these drills.

Variation Drills

Variation drills provide for the manipulation of larger syntactic patterns, and further reinforce the learning, while expanding on the basic German language concept taught.

In each group a model sentence, underscored, serves as a guide.

Associated with the model sentence are additional sentences incorporating the same syntactic pattern but in which most of the individual word items have been replaced.

English equivalents are given to serve as cues for remembering and recalling the German variant sentences.

Vocabulary drills provide both practise in the use of new German vocabulary items and also allow for manipulation of sentence elements whose particular form and arrangement depends upon their association with that vocabulary item.

Specific translation drills are also provided, however.

In most cases the material of the basic dialogue is presented as a narrative.

They thus provide content review of the basic sentences and practice in the transformation from active dialog to descriptive narration.

The response drills are question and answer drills on the situations of the basic dialogues.

German Conversation

German Conversation practice and additional 'real-life' situations in outline bridge the gap to free conversation with small pieces of supplementary German dialogue for acting out, role playing, and also situations providing for a freer play of the student's imagination. Each unit has a finder list that notes all new vocabulary which has been put forward in the lesson.

Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course Method and Procedure

The Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course is a course in Spoken German, and the forms and patterns of the language used in it are intentionally colloquial.

The emphasis in instruction throughout the FSI course is on spoken German, and a major component of the tuition and learning process is the voice of an instructor, or tutor who is a native German speaker.

The FSI says that never should the student attempt to use the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course materials without either the recordings of a native instructor's voice, a or preferably a live native instructor. The courses include over 12 hours of audio recordings of native speakers and provided as mp3 files that can be played on your computer, CD player, Walkman etc.

The Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course method of instruction incorporates:

  • guided imitation,
  • memorization,
  • repetition,
  • pattern practise, and
  • conversation.
The tutor's role in Foreign Service Institute FSI German training is to be a model for speech and to guide the student to accurate imitation by constant repetition and correction.

A student with an instructor is expected to watch and listen to the German instructor/tutor carefully and then to imitate as closely and accurately as possible.

The FSI says the student must be prepared for constant correction and repetition.

The Foreign Service Institute FSI German course writers say that the student should never attempt to say a German word until the tutor has said the word.

As far as possible he should leave his book closed during the presentation of new dialogue material and keep his eyes on the tutor, students will be asked to repeat in chorus and individually, and will be expected to repeat sentences, words and phrases many, many times, even when their imitation has been totally accurate.

The FSI say that only by constant repetition after an authentic model for speaking can habitual fluent and accurate reproduction of the sounds and forms of the target foreign language be mastered.

Build Ups

The basic sentences are preceded by "build-ups" giving the component parts of the spoken utterance separately. In other words the 'pieces' of the sentence will be given first.

When a new item is introduced it will appear first as a build-up.

The FSI instructor/tutor will then ask the students to:

  1. repeat the build-ups separately first, then
  2. combined into larger units and
  3. then the full new sentence or utterance.

The basic sentences and phrases are:

  • sub-divided into numbered sections, each to be treated as a unit,
  • repeated in chorus and individually,
  • with and without build-ups,
until the students' imitation is satisfactory, then a new section may be begun.

Once acceptable imitation and accurate pronunciation is achieved in one or more sections they are the sentences are assigned for memorization outside of class or repeated in the FSI class until memorized. A great deal of emphasis is put on repetition of sentences, until accuracy in speaking the German sentences is achieved.

In home learning situation, the student of the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course needs to spend a great deal of time repeating sentences while listening to the audio recordings. In this way mastery, and memorization is achieved.

The student should be able to state either the learned sentence in German or English on demand, or switch from one to the other and back again.

Repeat - repeat - repeat until the German is OVERLEARNED

FSI general language learning philosophy is torepeat, repeat, repeat until the material is OVERLEARNED.

The tutor will drill by repeating each sentence for each individual student in the German class, then by giving each student a different sentence, repeating it for him/her first.

Repetition outside of class, preferably using recorded materials as a guide, should be continued to the point of overlearning.

In the Foreign Service Institute FSI German class the students are expected, as a final step, to act out the basic dialogue entirely from memory. Acting is done with the tutor and/or with other students in the class.

Only when the basic sentences have been mastered to this extent are they be considered by the FSI to provide an adequate basis for control of the spoken language.

It is important to note that the English text that accompanies the basic sentences is not a direct translation but rather a set of conversational equivalents.

Many apparent discrepancies will be uncovered if you look for word-for-word correspondence between the German and English text in the Foreign Service Institute FSI German course. But they do not really exist. Rather, the course treats a sentence as how its equivalent would be said in German.

Pronunciation Practice Drills

In the Foreign Service Institute FSI German classes pronunciation practice drills start after the presentation of the basic German sentences is completed and memorizing of the sentences has been started.

Words are grouped according to how they sound, and the groups of words that sound similar are to be repeated by the class first in chorus, and then individually by each student. Particular attention should be paid by the students to items in contrast.

These are minimum meaningfully distinctive sound patterns, accurate control of which is important for communication and comprehension. Contrasting word pairs are linked by a dash in the manual, and after separate practice for accuracy the items should be repeated by pairs to bring out the exact distinctions between them.

German Grammar Notes and Learning with FSI

The notes on grammar are earmarked for home study.

Many questions which the FSI student may feel tempted to raise in class will be found to be answered in the notes on grammar. The notes extend to 322 pages in the Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course Manual.

The Foreign Service Institute German tutor is specifically requested not to discuss the grammar of the language with students during class, and the students are asked not to ply the instructor with grammar questions during class.

Instead the FSI student is encouraged to home-study the extensive grammar notes provided in the Foreign Service Institute German courses, and concentrate on using and manipulating the language in class, and not in talking about it.

New German grammatical concepts introduced in each unit

In each of the 12 units, one or more grammatical concepts are presented, and the basic sentences have been designed, as far as is possible consistent with natural expression, to incorporate and illustrate those features.

Each point of German grammar discussed is taken in nearly every case from the basic sentences of the current or preceding German lesson units. Thus the student will be familiar with the examples, and the patterns they contain, which will be drilled and practised in the following sections, and are patterns which the student has already begun to assimilate by memorizing the sentences of the German dialogue learned from the preceding units.

Substitution Drills in FSI German Courses

In the substitution drills the model sentence and all its variants are first repeated in unison, by the class, after the tutor reads it.

The tutor substitutes various sentences with similar alternatives, and the class repeats them, both in unison, and individually several times.

Conversion drills

Conversion drills in the FSI German language learning system require the conversion of one or more elements in a sentence from one common form to another - for example, singular to plural, present tense to future tense, past tense to present etc, etc.

Translation and response drills

Translation and response drills, usually relate to the 'already learned' basic sentences. Again the FSI system's translation drills follow a similar procedure to that followed in the variation and German vocabulary drills.

For the person studying this at home one can follow the same questions from the manual, and repeat the process to the point of overlearning.

The tutor will address two or three questions to the same student and then two or three more to the next, so that the drill takes on a more natural flow of conversation. Both drills are repeated in the FSI German class in their entirety several times.

Again the home-study student should repeat these things several times, and should get lessons with a native speaking tutor as well, where possible.

All drill material has both a cue and a correct response in the FSI German manual that comes with the course, so that all can be prepared by the student before class, and repeated and practised by the student until complete accuracy and fluency is achieved.

Often there is more than one possible answer, and FSI instructors accept all responses which are truly equivalent.

Conversation Practise

In the conversation practice, brief conversations are read by the tutor, following which the students and tutors take the various roles in the conversation, and they repeat the conversation together.

The aim of the student is to give as accurate a rendition as possible in his or her own words. Exact memorization is not necessarily sought. The students then do the same among themselves. The conversations usually follow the lesson's dialogue.

Narratives for reading

From the fifth unit onwards the narratives are designed for reading purposes.

In early units a minimum of additional vocabulary is introduced.

While the emphasis is on spoken German, the narrative text provides for the assimilation of all basic forms and patterns of the language by the guided imitation, memorization, and manipulation of a large number of sentences and by practice in exploring a range of widely occurring everyday events and situations.

Actual use of the language in free conversation in 'real-life' situations is a necessary and essential adjunct. As a student you should use the language in every way possible, above and beyond what is provided for in the text... through extra involvement in German language materials - reading, writing, listening.

The internet provides a wealth of material including newspapers online, free lessons, live German radio stations on the web, and hundreds of other resources.

In the FSI situation, after the first few days of lessons both students and tutors are encouraged to avoid using English inside and outside of he classroom.

Only through constant use of the German language can you as a student hope to master fluency and reach the level required to have it as a useful tool for professional use.

Foreign Service Institute FSI German Course 1 Contents of Units 1-12

FSI German #1 Unit 1

Basic Sentences: Wir sind in Deutschland.
Numbers 1-12
Notes on German Pronunciation:
  • Short Vowels
  • Long Vowels
  • Distinguishing between Long and Short Vowels
  • Diphthongs in German speech and writing
Notes on German Grammar:
  • The German Noun-Classification ('Gender') System der, die, das
  • The Pointing-Word of das

FSI German #1 Unit 2

Basic Sentences: In München
Bei der Passkontrolle und beim Zoll Notes on Pronunciation:
  • More on Long and Short Vowels
  • More on Diphthongs
  • Post-vocalic r in German
  • Pre-vocalic r (voiceless)
Notes on Grammar:
  • German Pronouns - Forms and Functions
  • The Principle of Substitution
  • German Verb Forms and Functions - the Present
  • Hin and her

FSI German #1 Unit 3

Basic Sentences: Stadtbesichtigung
Numbers 13-20
Notes on German Pronunciation:
  • Pre-vocalic r. in clusters
  • Pre-vocalic r after vowels
  • The German number 1
  • Introduction to Units 3-9
  • der
  • Type Specifiers
  • Nouns
  • Prepositional Phrases
  • Verbs
  • Word Order

FSI German Course #1 Unit 4

Basic Sentences: Zum Konsulat
Numbers 21 - 50
Notes to the Basic SentencesNotes on Pronunciation!
  • the Ich - sound in German
  • the ach - sound in German
Notes on Grammar:
  • ein-Type Specifiers
  • Verb Phrases and Word Order
  • The words gern, lieber, am liebsten

FSI German Course #1 Unit 5

Basic Sentences: Herr Allen klingelt bei Herr Wilson
Notes on Pronunciation:
  • German sch
  • German s
  • German z
Notes on Grammar
  • Nouns and Specifiers in the Plural and Genitive Forms
  • Reflexive Pronouns

FSI German Course #1 Unit 6

Basic Sentences Telephongespräche
Notes to the Basic SentencesMore Notes on German Pronunciation:
  • Some difficult clusters
  • Review of vowel contrasts
Notes on Grammar:
  • Adjectives (Specifier-Adjective-Noun Sequences)
  • Time Expressions

FSI German Course #1 Unit 7

Basic Sentences: Beim Einrichten
Numbers 101 - 1000
Notes to the Basic Sentences
Notes on Pronunciation:
Vowels in Syllables Not Having Primary Stress
Notes on Grammar:
  • Adjectives - The Adjective-Noun Sequence
  • An Irregular Adjective - hoch
  • Summary of Two-Way Prepositions
  • Verbs - legen, liegen, stehen and stellen
  • Verbs - Review of Present

FSI German Course #1 Unit 8

Basic Sentences: Beim EinkaufenNotes to the Basic Sentences
Notes on Pronunciation:
  • German ng and nk
  • Final -b, -d and -s
  • Final -m and -n
  • Unstressed final -en
Notes on Grammar:
  • Specifiers and Adjectives
  • Adjectives with the Dative case in German
  • Word Order
  • Compound Nouns

FSI German Course #1 Unit 9

Basic Sentences: Eine Fahrt in die Berge
Notes to the Basic Sentences
Notes on Grammar:
  • Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Quantity Adjectives
  • Verbs. The Future Phrase
  • Specifiers: jeder
  • Time Expressions

FSI German Course #1 Unit 10

Basic Sentences: Im Gasthof "Zum Weissen Hirsch"Notes on Grammar:
  • Word Order in larger Sentences
  • Ordinal Numbers
  • Prepositions with the Genitive case
  • Telling the Time in German
  • The Superlative Stem Meist-

FSI German Course #1 Unit 11

Basic Sentences: Ein Wochentag
Notes to the Basic Sentences
Notes on German Grammar:
  • Verb Forms in Familiar Speech
  • Pronouns and Possessive Words in Familiar Speech
  • The Auxiliary Verb lassen
  • Complex Verb Phrases
  • Derivative Nouns

FSI German Course #1 Unit 12

Basic Sentences: Auf einer GesellschaftNotes on Grammar
  • Verbs:
  • Past Tense in German
  • The Perfect Phrase
  • Past Participle forms
  • Past Time continuing in the Present
  • Time Expressions

Virtually all the units also incoroprates a German Substitution Drill, Variation Drill, Translation Drill, Response Drill, Conversation Practice, Finder Lists.

We have loaded all these sound files and accompanying .pdf files into the 200 Words a Day! player, making it much easier and more user-friendly for you to manage.

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