For me, it's easy to get excited about the idea of learning a new language when I think about the stories associated with a country. I used to imagine England as this place where crime mysteries unravelled in lush gardens, to be solved by a detective before he drives home in a Rover and drinks tea with Lady Diana. (Thanks, German media of the 80s and 90s.) These wildly romantic images of the country made me look forward to school lessons and embrace the whole language with so much more enthusiasm. I wanted to experience fabulous England and was a passionate reader - thankfully supported by a fantastic English teacher who indulged us in An Inspector Calls for one of our first ever English literature pieces.
If you are a German learner, what are the powerful stories you dream of? Perhaps you want to experience Alpine seclusion in the mountains, or how about exploring Germany's medieval castles? Whatever it is, we clearly recognise that stories are powerful and important for any language learners. André Klein has answered this call for stories and become the author of a whole range of easy ebooks for German learners. His latest book is something else though. Check this out:
When a new publication for German learners is preceded by this kind of trailer, with fight scenes and glory, you just know something exciting is going on. Genowrin is a German learning book that travelled back in time, drank a tankard of mead and immersed itself in a different world. And it also does something that you won't get from your everyday Kindle book: Genowrin is a Choose Your Own Adventure book! God, how much I love those! Take one wrong turn and you find yourself walking down the same road as before, take two wrong turns and you're dead and the story starts again.
How Choose Your Own Adventure works
From a practical perspective, the book's language is probably best suited to learners at an intermediate to advanced level. The language reflects historical terms and creates a great atmosphere, and I found the story really engaging. In Genowrin, you're a returning adventurer who comes home to find his parents perished, his brother in hiding and the evil Katano in charge. There's talk of mysterious spirits ruling the town too. As you progress through the storyline, the Kindle edition carefully avoids telling you to go to a specific page at crucial decision points, and instead provides the reader with a link to the right place in the book. Helpful vocabulary is provided at the end of each short section, and on occasion you will find the hero of the book under attack - sometimes by wolves, sometimes by bandits - and your only weapon as you fight for your life is your knowledge of correct German!
Reading through the book I found clicking so much to follow the links a little tedious on my old school Kindle, but for anyone reading this book on a Kindle Fire, iPad or even on your phone I don't think you will even notice. Hint: I noticed that "weitergehen" usually takes you to the next page, so the page turning buttons were also an option when faced with that particular option. The creative way of telling a story in the Choose Your Own Adventure way gets me engaged every time and it fuels the imagination in new ways.
Nerdy love for Genowrin
For any German learner that has ever wanted to rescue the princess, explore a deserted market square or fight for what is right, Genowrin by André Klein offers the kind of storytelling that helps you forget you're learning German. It's been announced as part of a trilogy as well, meaning the kind author will satisfy our desire to go back to Genowrin and see how things turn out.
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