Mark Twain is reported to have said: “If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.” True, German is not an easy language – but it is possible to learn anything! Many international students do just that, and very successfully too. As the German saying goes: “Übung macht den Meister” (Practise makes perfect)!
German grammar is challenging. In German, there are four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. Three genders are also used: male, female and neuter. In the past, German – alongside English and French – was one of the main academic languages used all over the world for nearly a century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous scientific findings and inventions came from the German-speaking countries. As with all languages around the world, there are regional differences in pronunciation and intonation in Germany. People in the Rhineland speak differently from those in Bavaria; Berliners speak differently from the residents of Hamburg. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the tips to learn German quickly and easily:
Some best tips:
1. Learn easy/important words:
Expanding your vocabulary (Wortschatz) is important for both comprehension and speaking. You can actually start to learn new words even before you know exactly how or why the phrases are formed, just to get familiar with them. Here is the list of 100 core German words and phrases to learn first.
2. Master the alphabet:
A good understanding of the basic German alphabet and how it’s vowels and consonants are pronounced, is essential. See our page on German Alphabet and Grammar.
3. Study regularly to improve your German:
Everybody knows this situation: On some days, you have no interest in studying, while on other days, you can study vocabulary and grammar for hours. In fact, it is important to study regularly. Try to study German every day in shorter segments, but more often. you could take one lesson and the exercises per day for example. Your German language skills will improve faster if you do just one hour every day, instead of five hours once a week.
4. Create some helpful study tools:
First, write vocabulary or important phrases on a piece of paper. You can use a post-it or a large poster for that. Now, place this magic list all over your apartment. Choose places where you spend a lot of time like: next to the coffee machine, above the stove, on the toilet or on your mirror. Whenever you are at one of these places, you will automatically have a look at the list and will be surprised how well it works.
5. Watch movies and TV series in German:
In the age of DVDs and Video-on-Demand providers, movies and TV series can be used as an alternative learning method. First, you should check in which languages the content is available. Maybe your favourite series is also available in German so you can turn on the subtitles in your native language. The vocabulary will wander into your brain without much effort. The coolest thing about it is that you train your listening and understanding skills as well as your pronunciation.
6. Talk to German speakers regularly:
Socializing with a German speaker is an excellent way to put into practice what you have learnt in class and to seek further feedback on your speaking. By doing this, you’ll slowly increase your vocabulary – they will use plenty of words you don’t know, and you’ll absorb their habits concerning inflection and tone.
There are more than 120 million native German speakers and 10-15 million people who speak it as a second language worldwide, so learning to speak the language well will make it much easier to socialize, live and work in the wider German speaking (DACH) region and, possibly, in many places around the globe – in short, it’s a useful language to have under your belt.
So, get your hands on German now!