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Dr Klaus Bung
68 Brantfell Road
Blackburn BB1-8DL

© 2011 Klaus Bung

Teachers tell you what to learn, IDYLL shows you how to learn it

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Lesson 1 of

Klaus Bung:
Passport to Europe: German
Learn German
with the IDYLL® METHOD™,
which ensures 90% retention

This course teaches you German in the context of European language and culture and makes you a citizen of Europe. It shows the similarities of English, German and many other European languages and uses them as memory aids. It teaches you not only to speak and write German accurately but also to THINK in German from the start (Environmental Language Learning). It teaches you a LEARNING method (the IDYLL® METHOD™) which enables you to learn ANY future language (not only German) with ease and remember 90% even if you think you are not talented. It teaches you the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which makes you aware, in writing, of the differences between German and English pronunciation and spelling, and also helps with any other language you may later learn.

Part 1: German is easy: You learn words which are similar in English and German, you learn the rules of German spelling and pronunciation, the IPA, and two of the most basic procedures (learning algorithms) of the IDYLL® METHOD™, one for doing written exercises (PAPA-Basic) and one for doing spoken exercises (LASPEX-Basic). In later lessons you will learn PAPA-Preferred and LASPEX-Preferred.

Part 2: German survival kit: The 20 most important German words and phrases you need on your first day in Germany (yes, no, thank you, where is the toilet, etc)

Part 3: Environmental German: You learn to name the objects in your every-day environment and to describe them while in your home country and to think in German (mentally practise German) from morning to night. You practise German not only in class or when you are speaking to a German partner, but round the clock.

Part 4: Expand your German: You now have the foundations to absorb German with ease. You feel and think like a German. Now you make your knowledge of the language complete.

Part 1:
German is easy
Deutsch ist leicht

Naming conventions for sound files

L001-B1 = Lesson 1, Block 1

L001-Ex01 = Lesson 1, Exercise 1

L001-RT01 = Recorded Talk

Note for web users, In order to learn properly with these exercises you have to print them out. You do not have to print the explanations, but Block 1, Block 2, Block 3 and Exercise 1 will work only if you have them in front of you on paper and do the exercises with pen and paper. You learn much more intensively if you write rather than type the exercises. That is the reason why we are not presenting them through a computer program, but as plain text ready for printing.

We have therefore uploaded this entire file and the scoring sheets as pdf files. Click here to get them.

If some of the phonetic symbols do not display properly, e.g. if you find little squares in the text where there should be characters, check in the pdf file, which does not mess up the display.


Lesson 1

Block 1


the bed

das Bett


the house

das Haus


the glass

das Glas


the grass

das Gras

Sound file for Block 1


Practising the written Block (PAPA-Basic)

Listen to the recording of Block 1 twice while looking at the script.
Sound file for Block 1

Practise Block 1 in writing with the Folding Paper method.

  • Take a piece of paper (A5 or similar size, half a sheet of typing paper), fold it in the middle to make it non-transparent, turn it so that the open end points upwards.
  • Cover Block 1 entirely and slide the paper down until the question of Item 1 ("the bed") is revealed.
  • Guess the correct answer and write it on your paper.
  • Slide the paper down until the correct answer (model answer) ("das Bett") is revealed.
  • Compare your answer with the model answer.
  • If you have made a mistake (even if only one letter is wrong, e.g. small letter instead of capital letter in "das Bett"), cross out the wrong answer and copy the correct answer on your paper.
  • Slide the paper down until the next question ("02 the house") is revealed.

Treat Item 2 in the same way as Item 1.
Go to Item 3 and do the same.
Go to Item 4 and do the same.
You have now reached the end of the Block.

If all items were correct, you have mastered this block, in writing.

If you have 1 mistake or more, fold the paper so that your previous answers become invisible. Cover the block from the top and start again. Continue working on the block in this way until you have mastered it, i.e. not a single mistake in the block. Your target standard with the IDYLL® METHOD™ is always 100%.

Practising the spoken Block (LASPEX-Basic)

Put the script aside. Download the scoring sheet and print several copies. Play the recording of the Block. Each item contains two pauses, a long pause after the question and a short pause after the model answer.

During the long pause, you try to say the answer aloud (you guess the answer). During the short pause, you repeat the model answer.

If you have guessed the correct answer, you place a dot into the corresponding cell on the scoring sheet. If your guess was incorrect, you do nothing.

When you have reached the end of the block, play the recording again from the beginning. Use the same column on the scoring sheet for each run through the block.

When you have at least three dots in each cell, you do a final test run. In a test run you use a fresh column. You place a tick for each correct answer. You leave a gap for a wrong answer.

Your target is to have only ticks in two consecutive columns, i.e. you want the whole block entirely correct (100% correct) TWICE RUNNING.

You have now finished Block 1.

Now read the Notes for Block 1.

Notes for Block 1

Grammatical terms:
"das" (= the) is an article.
"bed", "house", etc, are nouns.

We use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to clarify pronunciation and to make you aware of the differences between English and German pronunciation. Many characters of the IPA are identical with the characters used in spelling. Other characters are different. All are easy to learn and very useful to know. Learn them properly from the start. We use / / to indicate that what we write is not normal spelling but IPA for sound. For normal spelling we use ordinary quotation marks.

The final "s" in "das" is pronounced like the "s" in English "sing". Linguists call this a "voiceless sound". In IPA this is written as /s/.

It is not pronounced like the "s" in English "has" or "is". Linguists call the "s" in English "has" or "is" a "voiced sound". In IPA this is written as /z/.

The vowel "a" in "das" is pronounced like the "u" in English "dust" /dast/. German "das" in IPA is written /das/, exactly as it is spelt. But usually the IPA notation of a word looks at least partly different from its ordinary spelling.

German "Bett" is pronounced exactly as English "bet". The vowel in English "bed" and "Bett" in IPA is written / ɛ / . Therefore "das Bett" is in IPA /das bɛt/

Read the non-displaying characters (in the squares) in the pdf file.

Now compare English "has" and German "das" in IPA:

English "has" /hæz/
German "das" /das/

The vowel "a" in German "Glas" is long. In IPA you mark a long vowel by placing a colon after it. Therefore: German "Glas" /gla:s/

Block 2


the lamb

das Lamm


the land, the country

das Land


the child

das Kind

Mem: kindergarten

Sound file for Block 2


1 Listen to Block 2 and read the script at the same time.
2 Learn Block 2 as a written exercise.
3 Learn Block 2 as a spoken exercise.
4 Read the Notes for Block 2.

Notes for Block 2

Here is "das Lamm" in IPA /das lam/. You notice that the vowel "a" in the English word and the German word are pronounced differently. Compare:
English "lamb" /læm/
German "Lamm" /lam/

Now compare
English "land" /lænd/
German "Land" /lant/

  • German nouns always beginn with a capital letter.
  • Final "d" in German is always pronounced /t/. Linguists call /d/ "voiced" and /t/ "voiceless". So voiced changes to voiceless at the end of a word.
  • The letter "a" is pronounced differently.

The IPA transcription makes you aware of all that. If you learn IPA and read our transcriptions carefully, you can never forget these differences.

Pronounce: "Kind" /kint/

Memory aid: English "kindergarten", literally "garden for children"

Block 3


the water

das Wasser


the weather

das Wetter


the car

das Auto

Sound file for Block 3


1 Listen to Block 3 and read the script at the same time.
2 Learn Block 3 as a written exercise.
3 Learn Block 3 as a spoken exercise.
4 Read the Notes for Block 3.

Notes for Block 3

  • German "w" is pronounced like English "v", denoted by /v/ in IPA.
  • Final "-er" in German is pronounced similarly to the final "-er" in British "mother", but slightly more open.
  • The final sound of "mother" is written /ə/ (an upturned "e") in IPA, and it has a name. This sound is called "shwa".
  • The slightly more open German sound for final "-er" is written /ɐ/ (an upturned "a").
  • The first syllable of "Wasser" is stressed. In IPA you put an apostrophe BEFORE the stressed syllable.
  • Therefore: "Wasser" /'vasɐ/

You already know all the IPA characters needed to write the sound of "Wetter":
"Wetter" /'vɛtɐ/

German "au" is pronouned similar to the sound at the end of English "cow" or in the middle of English "house". In IPA this is written as /au/. This is a sound consisting of two vowels, starting with /a/ and ending with /u/. Such double sounds are called diphthongs. English has many diphthongs, sometimes even when in spelling there is only one letter. All diphthongs in German spelling are written as two letters.

English "cow" /kau/
English "house" /haus/

The first syllable of German "Auto" is written in IPA as /au/.

When you say "oh" in English, you are producing a diphthong, a glide from /ə/ to /u/. Therefore the sound of English "oh" is written in IPA as /əu/.

By contrast the sound corresponding to the German letter "o", e.g. in "Auto" is not a diphthong. It is a single long sound (linguists call it "close" because the tongue is close to the palate). This sound does not exist in English on its own, but you find it in Scottish dialects.

The "o" in German "Auto" is long. In IPA long vowels are marked by placing a colon after the long vowel. Therefore "Auto" is written in IPA /'auto:/

The following paragraph has been recorded for you.

At the beginning of "Auto" is a "glottal stop", the sound made by cockneys instead of the "t" in "water" (wa'er) and "butter" (bu'er). You find this sound before all German words that begin with a written vowel. You have to remember that as a rule. In this course, we will not normally write the glottal stop, not even in our IPA presentation. Speakers of Arabic are very familiar with the glottal stop, and it is represented in their ordinary spelling through the letter hamza.

The glottal stop in IPA is /ʔ/.

You have to be aware of its presence because it prevents you from wrongly combining the sounds of two adjacent words.

Correct German is: /das 'ʔauto:/
The following would be wrong:
1 /dasauto:/
2 /dazauto:/

The complete IDYLL® exercise

You have now mastered Blocks 1, 2 and 3. We now put them together into a standard IDYLL®exercise of 10 items.

We first do the written exercise. We apply PAPA-Basic (Pen And Paper Algorithm) to it. Your target is 10 items correct IN SUCCESSION. You do the exercise in writing from the beginning to the end (as specified above for Block 1) until you have reached the target standard. Even a single mistake means that you have to do the complete exercise again, calmly and consciously. In each learning session we continue working until we have achieved mastery, i.e. the 100% standard. The result will be that when we test for retention we can be sure to remember 90%. That is fun, useful and gives us a sense of pride.

We then do the spoken exercise. We apply LASPEX-Basic (Learning Algorithm for SPoken EXercises) to it. We use the same method as for Block 1 above. We continue using the same scoring sheet. Fill the scoring sheet with one exercise after another. Do not start a fresh scoring sheet for each new exercise. Date the scoring sheets and file them carefully when they are full. They will give you a sense of pride and achievement.

Exercise 1


the bed

das Bett      /das bɛt/


the house

das Haus      /das haus/


the glass

das Glas      /das gla:s/


the grass

das Gras      /das gRa:s/


the lamb

das Lamm      /das lam/


the land, the country

das Land      /das lant/


the child

das Kind      /das kint/


the water

das Wasser      /das 'vasɐ/


the weather

das Wetter      /das 'vɛtɐ/


the car

das Auto      /das 'ʔauto:/

Sound file for Exercise 1

REV: The Revision Algorithm

When you have mastered the exercise (as specified above), you must make sure that you never forget it. REV, the Revision Algorithm, takes care of that.

You have keep a revision diary. Details are described on the website. You must make the entries immediately. This is part of learning. Any exercise which you do not enter into the revision diary will no doubt be forgotten. So always make the entry immediately after finishing an exercise.

To guarantee that you remember 90% of everything you learn, and to minimise the amount of time you need for this purpose and to ensure that you will never be frustrated, you have to revise every exercise 11 times, distributed by REV over 9 months. You have to do this not at random, not when you feel like it, but on the days prescribed by the Revision Algorithm.

We call the revisions:
R0 = initial learning (what you have just done)

You need not write R1, R2 and R3 into your revision diary. They are easy to remember without a diary. All other revisions have to go into your diary. Otherwise you will forget to do with them, and your previous learning efforts will be wasted.

R1 to R4 are as follows:

  • R1: You do the first revision 15 minutes after finishing initial learning. You can deviate slightly from the revision times indicated, but the more you deviate, the more badly your learning success will be affected. Gross deviations can lead to complete failure. Applying the IDYLL® rules literally guarantees success.
  • R2: You do the second revision 60 minutes after finishing R1.
  • R3: You do the third revision on the evening of the same day, ideally immediately before going to sleep. The later in the day you do this revision the better it is for your learning success.
    You go to bed with a feeling of elation and triumph because you have remembered so well. This will happen even later when the words and sentences you have learnt become more difficult.
  • R4: You do the fourth revision on the following day, at any time, but the earlier you do it the better it is for your learning success.

The following revisions are controlled by your Revision Diary.

You need a special diary, only for your revisions. You can not mix the revision entries with your other appointments.

The revision intervals are as follows:

  • R0 (initial learning) must go into your revision diary to mark the starting point. You write: R0+1d . This means: R0 done on this day, and the next revision is due 1 day later (+1d)
  • R4 is due 1 day after R0. You write: R4+2d. This means R4 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 2 days later.
  • R5 is due 2 days after R4. You write: R5+4d. This means R5 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 4 days later.
  • R6 is due 4 days after R5. You write: R6+1w. This means R6 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 1 week later.
  • R7 is due 1 week after R6. You write: R7+2w. This means R7 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 2 weeks later.
  • R8 is due 2 weeks after R7. You write: R8+1m. This means R8 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 1 month later.
  • R9 is due 1 month after R8. You write: R9+2m. This means R9 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 2 months later.
  • R10 is due 2 months after R9. You write: R10+4m. This means R10 is due on this day, and the next revision is due 4 months later.
  • R11 is due 4 months after R10. You write: R11+0. This means R11 is due on this day, and no further revisions of this exercise are due. This chain of revisions is completed.

(The Revision Diary is © 1967 and 2011 Dr Klaus Bung.)

Examples of a Revision Diary

Example 1

More examples are on the website


ENFA, the Enforcer Algorithm

Later in this course we will teach you how to use ENFA, the Enforcer Algorithm, which, like a blood hound, goes after the few items which are trying to escape from the REV procedure, and ensures that you cannot forget even a single item. You will be a master language learner. If you learn with the IDYLL® METHOD™, nobody can beat you.

We are now developing a computer program which calculates the revision dates for you and prints out your revision list for any given day. But even with such a program, there will be people who have no computer or who are travelling without one and who therefore will find it convenient, to keep a handwritten revision diary.

Recorded talk

L001-RT01 glottal stop
L001-RT02 collected words


Blank LASPEX scoring sheet
Specimen LASPEX scoring sheet

End of Lesson 1

Enjoy your German studies.

Viel Erfolg beim Deutschlernen.

© 2011 Klaus Bung