There are dozens of excellent reasons to learn German, and it is easy to see why many individuals express an interest in mastering the language of the world’s third strongest economy. However, being introduced to multitudes of articles, unpredictable noun genders, complicated verb conjugations, and mile-long words can send even the most ambitious language learner running. Don’t give up; if the ultimate goal is to speak German, some basic methods and tips that are applicable to the learning of any language can make the process more manageable.
Determining Learning Type
Everyone has a learning method that works best for himself. Some people pick up on vocabulary and sentence structure from hearing it, some people have to write or read a word to commit it to memory.
Decide which is the best way to absorb and retain information, then adjust the methods accordingly. Of course, a combination of hearing, reading, and writing is always the most effective way to reinforce vocabulary and grammar.
One can’t speak a language if one doesn’t know the words. Keep a notebook handy to jot down new words heard on TV, from friends, or wherever. Look them up later, and write down the definitions. It is always helpful to create sample sentences for context. Use flash cards, games, or recitation to make sure the words stick.
Taking a class, or dedicated self-study with a good German language book is the best way to learn grammar and sentence structure. Start with the basics, and the rest will come as both speaking and comprehension increase.
German Media as a Learning Tool
In today’s day and age, people get most of their information from internet, TV, movies, and other multimedia sources. The same media one uses every day can become a method of language learning.
For the beginner, watch a familiar TV series with added German subtitles or in German with English subtitles. For intermediate learners, watch in German with German subtitles. Reading combined with listening will double the information intake.
Start listening to German music, and translate the lyrics.
Try to read news online in German.
Change the language settings on Facebook to German.
The biggest hurdle to language learning is overcoming the fear of speaking. There is no easy way to do it, and each individual must accomplish this in their own way. But once the learner starts to speak, the pace of learning will double and self-confidence will skyrocket. Remember: speaking bad German is better than speaking no German at all!
Learning German is not an easy task, but a manageable one. Native English speakers will discover the advantage of hundreds of words that sound similar to the English equivalent. The key to learning German is confidence, immersion to the full possible extent, and speaking as much as possible.