More and more people are starting to learn German recently, thanks to Germany becoming one of the most popular destinations for students and jobseekers around the world. Germany has the biggest economy in Europe, and it offers several opportunities to foreigners looking to study or work in the country. As such, it is important that a foreigner is able to speak and read German if he/she is to study or work in Germany. If you want to have an idea about how German is as a language, visit https://www.lingo.edu.sg/german-language.
German as a language is one of the easier ones to learn if you already speak English. This is because German and English share some common ancestors and have similarities in their grammar and vocabulary. In fact, almost half of the German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary, which makes it easy to learn those words if you are already an English speaker.
However, although it may be easier for you to learn German compared to other languages, it still takes a lot of time to be able to have at least a basic mastery of it. Learning any language will always require a lot of time and effort from the learner and just because German may be a bit easier to learn, it doesn’t mean you will suddenly be an expert in the language in just a few months.
To be able to learn German easier and quicker, here are few tips we can recommend:
- Find a friend (preferably a German-speaking one) to practice with.
The main goal of learning any language is for communication and learning by yourself may not give you the same satisfaction compared to learning it with a friend, especially one that speaks German. Learning alone can have its advantages, but it’s still better to have an avenue to practice the language at a conversational setting. With a friend to practice with, learning German will not only be much, much quicker but much more fun as well.
You can start by just doing some casual conversations with phrases that you are already familiar with. If your friend uses a word or phrase that you do not know, you can always ask him/her about what it means. You can also start a discussion on topics that you are both interested in to be able to learn words that don’t usually come up in small talk. If you don’t have a friend that speaks German, don’t fret. There are many online groups and discussions that involve native and non-native German speakers. No matter what, having a friend to practice with will not only help you learn the language but can also help build a deeper relationship between the two of you.
- Focus on learning the most common German words.
Building a good vocabulary of words is how the start of learning a language usually goes. It wouldn’t make sense to start with anything else until you know enough words to study grammar, cases, and other aspects of the language. In terms of learning German, it is important that you determine the most common German words by looking through word frequency lists such as the one at Wiktionary or through the help of a search engine like Google.
Being fluent at German doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to memorize 80-90% of the German dictionary. In fact, approximately 80% of the words used in daily conversation and written works are in the 1,000 most common German words.
When it comes to learning these common words, you can use flashcards, whether by using a physical set or a digital one made using Memrise or Anki. Flashcards are one of the most effective ways to study and have helped multiple students around the world not just in language learning, but other fields as well. Some flashcard software also use a certain system to make you memorize words faster compared to a traditional physical flashcards system.
- Use content such as books and videos that are originally from Germany.
What we mean by this is that if you want to be able to not just learn, but also feel the German language, then listen to videos or read written literature that is originally in the German language. This will help you understand the German language as well as give you an idea on the most common patterns used by German speakers and writers.
A good start is by getting the daily newspaper and reading the news articles. Although the tone of these articles is more on the serious side, you can still find a lot of value from the whole process by studying the grammar, word patterns and phrases.Another great idea is to watch videos in German with English subtitles. That way, if you hear a word or phrase that you are unfamiliar with, you can see immediately what it means from the subtitles.
- Do at least one thing every day to learn German.
If you want to learn something quickly, whether it’s the German language, dancing or origami, the best way to get better fast is through repetition. Doing something every day engages your brain and helps develop what you’re doing into a habit. Forming habits works with basically anything you put your mind into, whether it’s yoga or toothbrushing, as long as you keep doing that single thing each day.
For learning German, try reading at least 10 pages of a German book or watching one episode of your favorite German show every day. You can also call one of your friends that’s also learning German and challenge each other to converse in German as much as possible.If you have a German-speaking friend, try talking to him/her as well each day.
Starting these daily activities can be just as hard if not harder compared to learning the language yourself, however the payoff can be worth it. As you keep doing these daily activities, eventually they will become habits that you do unconsciously whilst learning to read and write German.
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