How to be fluent in English and German language?
English is a West Germanic language that was initially spoken in early mediaeval England and has since risen to become the 21st century’s, Lingua Franca. The term was coined after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic people that came to the region of Great Britain that was eventually named England after the same. Both names are derived from Anglia, a Baltic Sea peninsula. While English is most closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon (thanks to Anglo-Saxon settlers in the fifth and seventh centuries), its vocabulary has been heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Old Norse (a North Germanic language predominantly spoken by Vikings), as well as Latin and French.
German is the official language of both Germany and Austria and one of the official languages of Switzerland. German belongs to the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family, along with English, Frisian, and Dutch. It is the key language in the European Union and the new economies of Central and Eastern Europe. The German language even seems to be in great demand abroad also. Also, German belongs to the ten most popular languages in the world. It is estimated to have approximately 90–95 million people speaking German as a first language, 10–25 million speaking it as a second language, and 75–100 million speaking it as a foreign language. This would imply approximately 175–220 million German speakers worldwide.
With the history and general background of the two languages, it is clear that both are quite similar. There is a generous amount of truth to that statement as the two languages don’t just fall within the Germanic branch but, they also belong from the same Indo-European language family. Furthermore, the two share tons of similarities which will be discussed in detail, later on. In fact, German natives tend to learn English pretty quickly and vice-a-versa. Therefore, when the idea of learning the two simultaneously is considered, it is bound to produce great results.
With that said, due to their similarities, the same tips to achieve fluency in one can be applied to the other. Points that’ll help you improve both the languages:
- Set the right goals: Goals are extremely important when it comes to learning any language at all. You need to first understand what your fluency goal is, depending on which you can prepare an entire plan. These goals not only help motivate you but also help assess your progress in the long run.
- Gather the right resources: Once you’re done setting your goals, you can start formulating a full-fledged plan. Arguably the most important part of formulating a plan is gathering the right set of resources. If a certain library provides specific books in English or German that would prove to be helpful, then that is your first resource. If you aren’t much of a reader, then finding good movies or videos in each language and watching them with subtitles is another good resource.
- Online Resources: Gathering external resources is a great way to expand your practical knowledge, but at the end of the day, you definitely require online resources. By online resources, I mean, flashcards, recordings, quizzlets etc. These will help build the basic yet extremely important section of learning the languages.
- Tutors: If you’re truly aiming to achieve fluency in a language, I personally, do not recommend the method of self-learning. While self-learning is highly self-dependent and self-reliant, at the same time it can cost you your time and effort. On the other hand, I suggest signing up for some online classes or seek a professional tutor. Both of these would help you receive expert guidance in any language you opt for.
These were the tips common to both languages to achieve a decent level of fluency. Now, we move on to their specific similarities which are likely to benefit you, in case you plan on learning them simultaneously. ‘
As mentioned previously, German and English share tons of similarities with one another. Primarily, their historical connection. But apart from that, German and English both follow the same sentence structure and word order pattern. Moreover, even their pronunciations have great similarities. All these factors would result in a rather easy language learning journey. Now when it comes to the language learning journey itself, according to FSI it is going to take you about 30 weeks as German falls in Category 2 which are languages similar to English. FSI divides languages starting from the least difficult to the most difficult to learn for an English native speaker. Category 2 are languages that are incredibly similar to English, therefore, easier to master.
Now considering you aren’t fluent in either, you then need to discern the proximity of your native language to either English or German. If your native language happens to fall within Category 3,4 or 5, you’re likely to face some issues while trying to master both as your native language is considered to be a tough one to master for an English native speaker due to cultural or linguistic differences or both. On the other hand, if your native language falls within Category 1 or 2, for example, French, Italian, Spanish, etc, you’re likely to have it much easier. Therefore, ascertaining the proximity of your native language to either German or English plays a huge role in the identification of the level of difficulty of achieving fluency in both.
Once you’ve identified the proximity of your language, you can now easily divide the rather difficult sections and easier sections of learning either of the languages. You can also ascertain the similarities in the languages themselves, how their vocabulary is similar, how their pronunciation overlaps, any similarities in their cognates, all of these will be very clearly visible to you. Recognising these similarities is bound to help you, when you plan on mastering them both. Finally, while I do agree that these similarities are extremely beneficial, I do not suggest learning both languages simultaneously from scratch. Instead, I suggest, you learn the general basics of either and then proceed to start the other. This will help you attain an upper hand over the process of achieving fluency.
With that said Multibhashi offers amazing online classes in both languages, you can enrol to receive expert guidance.
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