My father got me a 1960s-era linguistics textbook called "The Science of Language" some weeks back, and after summarily ignoring it for some time, I've leafed through it and am now glad I did. More recent advances in the field aside, it's very much an intro linguistics book in the modern trasition, complete with humorous footnotes.
"5. It has been humorously observed that one might gain the reputation of speaking fluent and elegant German by simply learning to say correctly a few expressions like, ach so? wie Schade! Ja, Ja, natürlich, and ausgezeichnet, and at every pause throwing in whichever one seems most appropriate." (182)
Wow, such have been my experiences with German. And Polish and Bulgarian, come to think of it.