This is the language hacker’s approach to learning German, so give these steps a try and you’ll be speaking German faster than you ever thought possible.
Here’s what we’ll be covering:
- How to find your reason and passion for learning German
- How to speak German and immerse yourself without leaving your home
- Language hacks to make “difficult” German turn into easy German
- Learning conversational connectors in German to ease into speaking naturally
- How to start speaking from day one in German And lastly, how to learn German by focusing on the easy parts
What will help you self-learn German language
Find Your “Big Why” for Learning German
Even before you think about which materials to study, or your method for learning German, you need to take a step back and understand your underlying reason for wanting to speak German. This is your Big Why.
My “Big Why” is an unquantifiable passion for languages. It isn’t something measurable like “So I can speak to X number of people in the world”, but it has to do with enriching my life with friendships and experiences, which you can’t really measure.
Create a Mini-Germany in Your Home
You don’t need to live in Germany to immerse yourself in the German language. There are many ways to plunge yourself headfirst into German wherever you live.
Here are a few of my top ways to bring Germany to your hometown:
- Make your computer multilingual. Why not turn your computer into a German-only system?
- Find the German speakers in your city. Believe it or not, there are many communities of German speakers around the world. You may be near one and not even realize it!
- Watch German television and movies. Force yourself to focus by watching without subtitles.
- Read articles and books in German. LingQ is a helpful tool for doing this.
- Listen to German music and podcasts. One of my favorites is GermanPod101.Use Language Hacks to Learn German Fast
Here are a few of my favorite language hacks that can help you learn German fast:
- Use Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS). SRS is a great method for memorizing vocabulary and phrases. It’s probably the most effective hack you can use to pick up new vocabulary.
- Use mnemonics. Mnemonics help you create associations to easily recall German words. The key to mnemonics? Use your imagination.
- Focus your study with the Pomodoro Technique. This technique allows you to break up your study sessions into smaller chunks of time resulting in better focus and a more effective learning experience.
Use “Conversational Connectors” – How Beginners Can Get their Flow
Like most languages, German uses a set of call and response phrases that I call conversational connectors. These are crucial to everyday conversations, but they aren’t usually found in phrasebooks.
When my friend Anthony Lauder introduced me to conversational connectors a few years ago, they blew my mind.
They’re a great technique for sounding more like a native speaker, for removing the awkwardness from conversations, and forgiving yourself time to recall vocabulary
Find Native Speakers and Speak from Day One
To improve your German quickly, you must speak from the very first day you start learning German.
This Speak from Day One approach is the fastest and most efficient way to learn German – especially if you speak with native German speakers.
No matter where you live you can still find people, either online or offline, to speak within German. I connect with German speakers by:
- Browsing italki. italki is my go-to place to find native German speakers. The prices are reasonable (especially compared to private, face-to-face lessons) and you can meet in the comfort of your own home.
- Meeting up with German learners. On MeetUp.com you can find weekly German meetups in many major cities around the world. I’ve also been successful using CouchSurfing to connect with German learners and native speakers.
- Installing the HelloTalk app on my smartphone. This handy language-learning app helps you connect with other language learners around the world and is a great place to practice speaking German.
Focus on the Easy Parts of German
When learning German, the trick is to focus on those parts of German that are easy to pick up.
German is an easy language to learn because it has:
- No tones, as there are in Chinese or Thai
- No liaisons between words, as there are in French
- Many of the same letters as English, unlike Japanese or Korean
- No postposition or preposition suffixes, like in Hungarian or Turkish
- No strings of difficult-to-pronounce consonants like in Czech.
Plus, German is a phonetic language. This means that (with very few exceptions) you know exactly how to pronounce a word when you see it spelled. Likewise, when you hear a word you can almost always write it out.