Mechanical

Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsch

Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsch: "I only understand a little German."

Given that two of my best friends, pdx42 and coradee, are fluent in German, as is my father (who's lived in Germany for the past two decades, I might add), it seemed only natural that I should want to learn the language. There's really no reason I need to learn the language, though, other than a love of learning. Still, being trilingual can't be a bad thing.

I purchased the Pimsleur "German in Ten Days" course. Having already learned French, I'm not so naïve as to believe that I'll be speaking German in ten days but hopefully I'll pick up enough to be able to terribly embarrass myself.

Feeling rather nervous about this, I wasn't planning on telling coradee since she's German and I was certain I would butcher the language, but I had dinner with her last night and had some questions about pronunciation which I couldn't exactly ask the Pimsleur course. Fortunately, she informed me that my pronunciation was excellent, so there were no worries there.

I'm rather torn about the Pimsleur course. Since it focuses exclusively on spoken German, there are no written materials. I'll not be able to read or write German while I'm learning to speak it. On the plus side, it means less of a distraction and I can focus on the spoken part more readily. Still, it would be nice to have transcripts. The word for "only", nur, sounded like "nua". When spoken quickly the distinction is subtle and can be lost. I had to look the word up since I couldn't quite hear what was being said.

The introductory course is a series of ten half-hour lessons. The course promises that I can "spend just thirty minutes a day on each lesson." Uh, nein. That's a crock. I'm doing one lesson a day (I'm on lesson four today) and I have to repeat each lesson four or five times to get it down. Maybe I'm a bit slow, but unless one is phenomenally gifted, I doubt anyone is going to get by on a half-hour a day. I knew that "spend just thirty minutes a day" was a lie when I picked it up, but it still irks me that they would be deliberately deceptive.

Assuming I finish the ten lessons and feel comfortable, I'm going to buy the "Pimsleur German Level 1" course. It's thirty lessons and should give me a good start.

Auf Wiedersehen.
I totally sympathize... I am interested in Russian, but literacy is as important (or moreso) as fluency for me, as I have books and magazines I want to read.
I'm rather concerned about this myself. However, I'm going to stick with the course for a bit. I've a nasty habit of assuming that "I can learn this better my way" only to discover later that the authors really do know what they're doing. Given the popularity of the Pimsleur method, I can only assume they got something right.
I took two years in high school, but sadly i don't remember much (as happens when one doesn't have anyone with whom to converse in it) apart from random bits such as there are 16 ways to say "the," Gift means "poison" and phrases like Wir putzen das Auto, Im Himmel gibt es kein Bier, Ich habe aus Himmel gefallen!, and the very handy aforementioned phrase which declares, "I have given 2 headcheeses to all your mothers."
I'm sadly monolingual but am trying to upgrade to "bilingual". Most of my friends are bilingual and I find it frustrating that I'm the weakest link. I love Germany and have the opportunity to study in Gottingen for 4 months and I needed to learn german quickly so that I can my expand my social horizons and make my move there less stressfull. I opted for another course because the Pimsleur course didn't meet my tight budget. It's working okay, but I don't have any German friends yet to test my pronunciation...I guses I'll find out when I'm there in June.
Nua
I'm doing the exact same course and I heard "nua" as well. I got to this article typing that phrase just to test my German spelling skills (I've been learning from multiple sources). It wasn't until I search that I realized it was nur. I'm glad because I had never heard or read the word nua before and that it was odd as a German word.