The story and characters
Harry is a grumpy man who is visiting the Black Forest in Germany while on holiday with his girlfriend Julia. He is from the fictional country Traponia and does not speak German; consequently, Julia always serves as an interpreter for him. One day, he wakes up alone in his hotel room and goes alone to the Black Forest, where he is struck by a lightning. After that day, all his days are always the same. Harry is stuck in a time warp and he wakes up every day on April 31st, at 7 am in his hotel room.
Now, he needs to learn German and get out of this time warp. But what caused this time distortion? In whom can he trust? Where’s Julia?
Harry’s story is interesting, simple and has a bit of action and suspense. The uniqueness of this course is that Harry is rather a cynical character, who hates grammar and from whom we learn slangs, but that gradually improved his German. Harry, as every learner, makes mistakes, but they are immediately corrected by the narrator. In this course, is really making mistakes that we learn.
Besides Julia, other important characters are Anna, a police officer who was killed and together with Harry will try to figure out a way to get out of the time warp. Dr. Anderson, a famous neurologist who wants to operate Harry’s brain. And Helen, a meteorologist who likes to enjoy life and do not mind in being in the time warp.
The course and the structure
Harry – gefangen in der Zeit has 100 lessons and is available in two versions. A multimedia version with interactive exercises, a vocabulary trainer and with cultural and grammatical information for each episode. For those who do not want to follow the multimedia course, the course is also available for download in mp3 format and lessons in PDF. Unfortunately, the course is only available in English.
According to network Deutsche Welle the course covers the A1, A2 and B1 levels. As Harry always wakes up and has the same routine; at the beginning of the course we hear the same dialogues, sometimes with only minor changes. This constant repetition of words and situations help us to retain vocabulary and, when Harry does not understand something, the narrator briefly explains the new vocabulary and grammatical concepts.
Another interesting aspect of the course is that we learn some words that are difficult to be found in other courses. As Harry is grumpy and rude, early on learned words like lazy, vulgar and stupid.
Each lesson lasts about 8 minutes, and after them, we make the interactive exercises. Some are interesting, others a little more boring, and others harder. Each lesson has four exercises; in total, the course has 400 exercises. In addition, we have the vocabulary trainer, where we put the vocabulary by selecting an episode. The course offers 3,500 words!
- The story is interesting and sometimes funny
- The course has plenty of cultural information
- It’s free
- Too much English is spoken
- Available only in English
This is another interesting course from the network Deutsche Welle. Unlike the most traditional courses, where in every lesson we have different characters. In most Deutsche Welle courses, the characters are the same and there is always a mysterious element in the stories. At Radio D course, we had journalists investigating strange cases; in the course Deutsch – Warum nicht?, an elf is the main character. This makes the German learners interested and curious.
And again, curiosity helped me move quickly through the course, especially at the end. I wanted to know how Harry was going to escape this time warp. And the fact that Harry is a fun character made all the difference to keep the story interesting.
The course is very good for German beginners, with plenty of repetitions and exercises to practice. Alongside with the course Deutsch – Warum nicht?, Harry – gefangen in der Zeit just entered the list of my favorite courses. I definitively recommend.