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Learning German

Learning German is no different from learning any other new language, but proves to be an interesting and yet fun challenge. The key is to understand the rules of the German language and the exceptions in a systematic manner. But then, how to learn German? Learning German with a German native speaker is often a preferred approach that has several benefits. Native speakers know the language best and can help with learning common phrases, idioms, order of words in a sentence, and more importantly proper pronunciation. There are, however, different learning methods and techniques that can be used to learn German. Not everyone is comfortable with reading books, listening to audio tapes or video tutorials. It is important to choose the right method that appeals to the learner. Combining one or more of these learning methods also prove quite effective. Here are a few tips on

Five Tips on How to Learn German

  1. Find a Native Speaker to Help
    One of the best ways to learn a new language is to use it on a regular basis. Ever so often, new students spend a lot of time trying to memorise lists of foreign words and studying the grammatical structure of the target language, and then simply ignore going out there and actually speaking in it with others. If you are learning German and have trouble finding a native, you can start by practising with a friend in the same class, and if you wish to go a step further, you can connect with people online living in Germany willing to communicate in the language, and looking to learn English as well and you can dialogue in the two languages, each with its own session. One of the best ways to achieve this is through Skype, as it is cost effective.
  2. Study the Language on a Daily Basis
    There are often claims by some people (especially on the internet) that they have studied a language for like five years and still aren’t fluent. However, what they mean to say, is that they have been studying the language on and off for just a few weeks each year. On the other hand, if you are committed to learning a language within a few months, it is possible to reach a basic fluency level, but it is important that you commit a few hours each day to learn the language to make that happen.
  3. Carry a Dictionary
    Having a small dictionary with you throughout the day, or installing a dictionary app on your phone, is an important step, if you want to be fluent in the language. It will help you learn new words while going about with your daily activities by enabling you to look up new words quickly if you become curious to know what a certain item or feature is called. For example, if you pass by a boutique shop, and wish to know what it’s called in German, you can quickly refer, and learn a new word in the process. Having a source of reference also comes in handy when you are speaking to a native speaker and need to look up a word you have just heard, and don’t wish to interrupt the conversation. It will also help if you are trying to recall a word, but can’t quite remember the exact pronunciation or wording.
  4. Read, Write, and Listen to the Language
    To become fluent in German in this case, it is imperative that you completely immerse yourself in the language by surrounding yourself with German books, songs, movies, and attempt writing in it too. You can start by watching television shows – ideally those without subtitles as you can easily be tempted to look at them, consequently alleviating the intuitive aspect of the learning process. Familiar plots are the best as you can sort of easily infer what is going on and quickly connect the words and events. On reading, you can start by buying a German magazine on a topic that you like, for example celebrity magazines, if you are into that kind of thing, and simply check out the stories. This will help you learn the sentence structure and new words, not to mention their use in different contexts. Aural media such as podcasts, will also go a long way into helping with listening comprehension and the right pronunciation of German words and phrases.
  5. Motivate Yourself
    To motivate yourself when learning German, or any other new language, it is important to have a list of reasons of why you need to learn the language – maybe you wish to work in Berlin, love the people, culture, or have a friend living there that speaks mostly German. Also list the number of benefits you wish to have once you have reached your desired fluency level. Another way to motivate yourself throughout the learning process is to learn the language with a friend or a group of colleagues, as it helps to reiterate that you are not alone in this exciting venture.

Three Tips on How NOT to Learn German

  1. Being Afraid to Speak the Language
    Many people learning a new language are usually afraid to speak in it in public, consequently undermining their efforts and progress. Most are usually not confident as they may think that their accent is not strong enough, their pronunciation terrible, and such. However, taking small baby steps by, for example, starting by greeting fellow students in the target language class in German, will help make the feeling of speaking the new language natural.
  2. Use Overly Technical Material
    When learning a new language, it is important to stay away from overly technical learning material, for example, reading a ‘How to repair a car’ manual to gain insight on the new language, as the vocabulary is most likely not going to be utilised in your everyday life. Instead, scan the web for some suitable blogs that you may love to read on a regular basis, for example news sites.
  3. Overlook the Cultural Aspect
    When learning to use a new language, the cultural aspect of it is often overlooked, but is important in order to demonstrate a considerable understanding. The way to look at this is that languages are usually made up numerous intricate impressions that books and courses often can’t cover such as intonation, interjections, fillers, and slang. However, it is only by staying with natives that you can get a good understanding of these aspects.