FSI German Programmed Introduction Course

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What are FSI Programmatic courses?

The Foreign Service Institute – or FSI for short – is the organization charged with providing the necessary training for US diplomatic staff preparing for postings abroad. This includes language instruction, and at the core of this are the FSI Basic courses, which are designed to give diplomats the necessary language skills required in their positions.

However, Basic courses are designed for intensive study, and beginners might find them hard to fully digest. For this reason, Programmatic courses were created to give students an introduction to a language before tackling a Basic course. With an understanding of the fundamentals of the language, students are then able to benefit more fully from the Basic courses, progressing faster and achieving a higher level of success.

What is the structure of the FSI German Programmed Introduction?

This free German course takes students through the first six units of the Basic course at a more leisurely pace. It is designed to be suitable for self-study, and it contains all the workbooks and audio recordings you need to work through the course with or without a teacher.

In total, the course comprises 25 units and should take around 80 hours to complete. In each unit, you are first given the new phonological elements you will meet in the unit. After this, you are presented with the new language in the form of a dialogue, which is then followed by a range of drills and exercises that are designed to give you chance to practice what you have learned.

If you only study the Programmed course, it will give you a good grounding in the German language, allowing you to function in a range of situations you might meet in German-speaking countries.

Alternatively, if you plan to attempt the Basic course, studying this course first will help prepare you for Basic, allowing you to work through the more challenging course more easily.

How can you use the FSI German Programmed Introduction?

Since this course was designed to be used without a teacher, you can simply work through the units in order, following the instructions given to you in the recordings.

The pace of the course is much slower than in Basic, and in the first units especially, there is a heavy emphasis on pronunciation.

While it is a good idea to spend time working on your pronunciation, you might decide to skip through the pronunciation sections and spend more time on the dialogs and drills.

Feel free to use the materials in the ways that benefit you most – but at the same time, don’t forget that the method relies on repetition and drilling, so make sure you do the exercises enough times to internalize and master the language that is being presented.

It’s not a race, and you don’t win any prizes for finishing the course quickly, so remember that reaching the end won’t necessarily mean you can speak German unless you have spent enough time practicing each section.

Taking it further

Whether you only plan to study this course or you intend to move on to Basic when you complete it, you will never master German through books alone. This means that, as early as possible, you should take your new language skills and try them out “in the wild”. Find German speakers to practice with and make speaking German a part of your daily life. Then, when you do this, you will see how much progress you have already made in this challenging but extremely rewarding language.

Student Text

Unit 01 Tape   Unit 14 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 02 Tape   Unit 15 Tape  
Unit 03 Tape   Unit 16 Tape  
Unit 04 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 17 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 05 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 18 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 06 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 19 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 07 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 20 Tape  
Unit 08 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 21 Tape  
Unit 09 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 22 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 10 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 23 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 11 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 24 Tape  
Unit 12 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 25 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 13 Tape