German is often considered a difficult language. Yes, there are some long words to learn and even grammar can be intimidating at times. But instead of just studying a lot, if you practice German efficiently and smartly, then you can learn the language quickly.
In this lesson, we have covered various useful tips to learn German. These tips will help you to overcome a few difficulties you might encounter when you start learning the language. Applying them is easier said than done! However, they’ll simplify your language learning process.
Easy Tips to Learn German
Following are the most helpful and practical suggestions to improve your language. Give these tips a try and you’ll be speaking German fluently like a pro.
Don’t expect to be perfect all the time
Do you remember the days when you had to learn how to speak your mother tongue? You didn’t learn the language overnight, right? Similarly, when you start learning German, you are bound to make mistakes. But don’t be embarrassed by them! Mistakes are human. What’s more important is that you should be willing to learn from your mistakes.
Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher where you went wrong. Once you find out the errors, try to analyze and correct them in the future. When you understand the reason and logic, it will be easier for you to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
There are several words that are similar in both English and German. For instance: – house – das Haus, singing – singen, park – der Park, ball – der Ball etc. However, a few words have completely different meanings in both languages. For example: – das Gift means poison in German. Learning German can be similar in some ways to learning English or your mother tongue, but there are always going to be differences.
Avoid language interference as much as possible. Your brain tends to think in English first and then write or speak in German. Don’t develop this habit of translating. It should only be temporary. If you keep translating, you will surely make mistakes.
Let’s have a look at this sentence. In English, we say “Speak in German.” But in German, we say “Sprechen Sie auf Deutsch.” We never use the preposition in. As your vocabulary grows, stop translating and start thinking in German!
Always learn German nouns with their articles
German is a language of gender. Every German noun is either masculine (der), feminine (die) or neuter (das). These are known as articles. You must be aware that articles are very important in German. There are various ways to say ‘the’ and ‘a’. Also, many grammar concepts depend on your knowledge of articles.
Always learn German nouns with their correct articles. If you develop this habit right from day one, it will save you a lot of work afterward. Don’t let der, die and das haunt you! There are a few tricks to remember the correct articles. You can learn about those in our lesson on German articles. Click here to know the simple hacks.
It is highly recommended that you also learn the plural forms of the words when you learn the vocabulary. In English, it is easy to guess the plural forms of the nouns, because we simply add ‘s’ at the end. That is not the case in German. Different words have different plural endings. Example:- der Stuhl – die Stühle (chair – chairs), das Zimmer – die Zimmer (room – rooms), das Glas – die Gläser (glass – glasses) etc.
Color code the nouns
There are no fixed rules for identifying the gender of a noun. Even though there are a few endings that are associated with a specific gender, there is always an exception. The easiest way to remember articles is to color code the nouns.
Assign 3 colors to the 3 genders. For example: der – blue , die – red and das – green. When you learn vocabulary, write down each word in the color assigned to its gender. This will add a visual aspect to your learning process and help you to remember the articles in an easy way.
When you learn a color-coded noun, your brain associates the noun with the color. You might not remember the article the next day, but there are high chances that you will remember the color of the noun. If you can think of a green house, then you can immediately guess the article as well – das Haus because green means ‘das’.
Get a good German-English dictionary
You should have a good dictionary at your disposal and learn how to use it. While reading a text, if you don’t understand the translation of a particular phrase or word, check its meaning in the dictionary right away and write it down. You can also note down a few synonyms.
Most words can mean more than one thing. So, don’t blindly accept the first translation you see. Try to understand the context and then look for a suitable translation. I would recommend you refer to the Langenscheidt dictionary. It has an adequate number of words and is extremely easy to use.
Label your surroundings
If you don’t live in a German-speaking country to immerse yourself in the language, you can practice at your home itself. Make your computer bilingual by changing its settings to German. You can also choose a place in your room and paste a list of important phrases, grammar rules, difficult verb conjugations or whatever you feel is essential.
One of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in the language is to label the things around you. While creating labels, make sure that you include the articles and plural forms as well. Color coding the nouns will be helpful even in this case. You will be surprised how well it works and how quickly you master the vocabulary.
Try to use modal verbs more often
Modal verbs are those verbs that are used to express desires, abilities, permissions or obligations. Just like in English, even the German modal verbs are paired with the infinitive form of another verb. When you use a modal verb in a sentence, the other verb goes at the end of the sentence in the infinitive.
As a beginner, learning the conjugations of all the verbs can be quite exhausting. Wouldn’t it be simpler if you learn how to conjugate just the modal verbs? So, try to use modal verbs as frequently as possible because you’ll be able to talk about a variety of topics without learning the conjugations of other irregular verbs. Of course, you need to learn the conjugations of all the verbs, but this method is helpful for beginners to gain confidence in speaking.
Be consistent and study regularly
The key to improving your language skills is to study regularly. Try to set daily goals. Jot down all the topics you want to work on. Choose a topic which you feel is important and start with it. Divide it into smaller categories and study only 2 categories each day. This way, you might remember everything you studied the previous day.
Make sure you highlight the important points while studying any new topic. So, the next time you wish to revise it, you do not need to go through the entire page. You can just read the highlighted points.
Learn at least 2 new words every day
Learning any new language already involves learning new phrases, grammar rules etc. In addition to it, if you try to learn too many new words on the same day, you will be putting yourself under a lot of pressure. That’s why, learn only 2 or 3 new words each day. They can be either nouns, verbs or adjectives or a combination of these. Your learning process will surely become more efficient this way.
Each person has a different learning behaviour. Some connect well to the subject just by reading the text, whereas others connect well by seeing pictures. Visual aspect helps you to memorize words quickly.
Start using flashcards to learn new vocabulary. Luckily, learning vocabulary with flashcards is just a click away! You can visit our Vocabulary section and browse through various topics of interest or you can buy different sets of flashcards online.
Make use of online learning resources
In the current age of technology, there are endless online resources available to learn German. With so many interactive quizzes, German e-books, grammar exercises, YouTube lessons, radio channels etc. you will be fluent in no time! The best part is, many good quality content sites are absolutely free!
Watch movies or TV series in German with subtitles
Studying while watching TV is possible in this case. Watching movies and TV series in German can be one of the most useful methods to understand how natives speak. Search for some German movies or TV series online and turn on the subtitles in German language. This will not only broaden your vocabulary but will also help you to work on your pronunciations.
Try reading out loud
Reading out loud is a good pronunciation practice. Before you start conversing with a native, it is always beneficial to know whether you are pronouncing all the words correctly. After all, your end goal is to speak German fluently.
It is essential to train your listening skills while learning German. You must know how each German word sounds. If you don’t understand what the another person is speaking, you will never be able to respond.
One of the best ways to practice listening is to tune in to German radio channels. You can use the Internet Radio. If you love listening to music, you can buy German music CDs online. Even if you don’t know all the words and phrases in a song that’s fine. Try to understand the context. If you have understood a certain word but don’t know its meaning, use a dictionary. You will learn many new words just by listening to songs!
No matter how hard you study, unless you practice speaking, you will never speak fluently. Try to find some groups or forums on social media that deal with German as a foreign language and interact with the group members.
You can also try to find language learning clubs in your town online or try to find a native speaker. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when in doubt. Lastly, if you can’t find a conversation partner, stand in front of the mirror and talk to yourself as much as possible. Talk loudly as if you are conversing with someone. The only way to improve your speaking skills is by actually speaking!
These were some of the most useful tips to learn German. To put it in a nutshell, learning German language is a long journey. Never get discouraged by your mistakes. Learn from them and keep practicing the language every day. Once you recognize which study technique suits you the best, you will start loving this journey.
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