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The first thing most learners think about when they decide to start learning German is that they will have to memorize long words like Arbeiterunfallverischerungsgesetz, which makes them feel like they are about to take on an impossible task. However, this is far from the truth, since despite being a complex language, German is extremely logical, especially when it comes to the formation of long words like the one mentioned above, which is simply a compound made of shorter words that are not hard to learn at all. This means that if you actually take the time to learn German rules at the beginning, you can rest assured that your efforts will be well rewarded once you reach intermediate or advanced fluency levels. What’s more, you’ll find that there are many free, fun resources online to help you on your journey to becoming fluent, like interesting language blogs you can read, entertaining quizzes you can take, many German series and films you can watch, and even online communities where you can meet like-minded language enthusiasts share tips to learn the language.
If you still feel like learning German is daunting, don’t worry! Keep on reading our guide to learning German and you’ll find everything you need to know to get started!
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1. Why Learn German Today
Instead of focusing on the challenges you’ll face as a learner of the German language, the smartest thing you can do to find the motivation to start is to find out about the many benefits the language will bring to your life, so why don’t we take a look a some of them?
For Professional Reasons
If you’re interested in advancing your career, learning German is the way to go, especially if you plan to relocate to any of the countries where the language is spoken, such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria or Belgium, and take advantage of the many job openings available for English speakers there. On the other hand, if moving is not in your plans, speaking German is also a great way to become more employable in the U.S, as you’ll be able to access high-paying positions exclusive to bilinguals in top German companies such as Volkswagen Group of America, Bayer Corporation and Siemens USA Holdings. On top of that, if you happen to have a business, you’ll be able to benefit from the strong economic relations between the USA and Germany, which in 2019 accounted for $260 billion in bilateral trade in goods and services.
If you want to find out more about the benefits of learning Business German, take a look at these extra resources from our blog:
To Communicate With In-Laws and Family
If your significant other happens to speak German as a first language, learning how to communicate with them in their native language is a beautiful thing you can do to show how much they mean to you. It’s also a great idea to get to know your in-laws more deeply, even if they already speak English, since as you probably know, no matter how fluently you can speak a foreign language, most people feel more like themselves when speaking their mother tongue.
Alternatively, if you have family in countries like Austria, Luxembourg, or Liechtenstein and want to reach out to them, there’s no better way than doing it in their own language, as they’ll really appreciate you making the effort and you won’t have to worry about any language barrier between you.
Because You Love a Good Challenge
Learning German will not happen overnight, it will require a lot of time and dedication on your part, but that’s exactly why it’s so rewarding. With enough hard work, diligence, and the help of a qualified tutor, you’ll be able to overcome any learning blocks that may come up along the way and become the fluent speaker you always wanted to be. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things that make German a challenging language:
A complex sentence structure, which makes word order mistakes to be some of the most common among beginners.
False friends or as we say in German, Falsche Freunde, which are words spelled exactly like English words but with a totally different meaning. A great example is Gift, which in German actually means poison.
In addition to feminine and masculine, there are neuter nouns in German, and it can be quite tricky to guess the gender of a noun, so in most cases, you have to learn them by heart.
German is an inflected language and because of that, you need to learn declensions, one of the hardest things for most learners to learn, as they don’t exist in most European languages.
”I have only positive things to say about my instructor and lessons! Brad was the perfect instructor for me and gets an A+ rating! He is an excellent teacher: Professional, knowledgeable of the German language & culture, personable, responsible, kind, and patient! He really helped me to improve speaking, reading, and writing in German, as well as to learn more verb tenses, vocabulary, and to become comfortable conversing about everyday life in the German language. I am so grateful to Language Trainers for the opportunity you gave me to help further my German language learning! It was truly a wonderful experience taking lessons from Brad!”
Shawney Garbe - German course in Birmingham (Alabama)
In addition to helping you get around in the six countries where it has an oﬃcial status, which are Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein, speaking German will also come in handy when visiting some regions where it’s recognized as a minority language, like Bolzano in Italy, the Alsatian region in the east of France and the Silesian region in Poland. This makes German a wonderful language to learn if you are planning to take a gap year and explore some of Europe’s hidden gems where the language is spoken!
2. Learning with a Teacher vs Learning German on Your Own
If you have finally made the decision to start learning German, you’re probably wondering whether you should do it on your own by using free resources online or at your local library, or whether it would be more convenient to find the help of a qualified tutor. To help you make that decision, we’ve come up with a list of pros and cons:
Learning with a German teacher
The great thing about learning with a teacher is you don’t have to worry about finding useful, updated material for your lessons. On top of that, you will have someone who can guide you through the whole learning process and help you understand some of the most challenging aspects of the German language much faster than if you had to look for the explanations on your own. There are also other pros to learning with a teacher such as:
Learn about German culture: An important aspect of learning a language is to get to know the traditions, customs, and worldview of the cultures where that language is spoken. No matter how much information you read online, there’s nothing like having someone explain to you the many differences between the American and the German and warn you about the possible culture shocks you might experience if you visit the country.
More opportunities to practice the language: There’s no point in learning German if you don’t get to practice it. Having a teacher is a great way to develop your conversation from day one and sound like a true native speaker.
Personal feedback and encouragement: Having a teacher is essential to keep up your morale, especially when you encounter a learning block or you feel like you’re not making any progress. This can make all the difference to keep you from quitting and help you reach all your potential.
Learning German Alone for Free
If you’re an independent person and are considering starting learning on your own using free learning materials, take a look at the following table containing some of the most common advantages and disadvantages of learning a language alone:
|You have complete control over your schedule and the materials you want to use.||It’s not easy to select appropriate materials for your level or even know where to start, what type of vocabulary to select, what grammar rules are relevant in your case, and so on.|
|You don’t have to pay a penny or commit to a long-term language course.||It will be hard to learn more about the culture of German-speaking people.|
|If you are shy, you won’t suffer because you don’t have to speak in front of anyone.||You won’t have anyone with whom to practise your speaking skills or give you feedback on your written production.|
|You’ll have access to almost an unlimited number of resources to choose from.||"Nobody will clear up questions you may have about the materials.|
If learning on your own hasn’t worked out the way you planned, why don’t you take a look at the next section which contains useful tips to learn more effectively and save time!
3. Some tips to Learn German Effectively
Always learn new German words with their correct article
Instead of trying to guess what the correct article of a noun is, save some time, and every time you learn a new word, memorize it with the corresponding article that goes before that word. So, for example, instead of learning the German word for woman alone, which is Frau, learn it with its article as die Frau, and this will make it much easier to know how to it in a sentence.
Remove all possible distractions
If you really want to make good use of your time when studying, let your friends and loved ones know that you won’t be available for the next hour and turn off your phone. This will ensure you concentrate and make much more progress in less time.
Watch movies and TV series in German
This will not only make learning German much more entertaining, but it will allow you to learn many cultural aspects of the language and also pick up useful phrases that people use every day. In the beginning, you might have to read English subtitles, but after a while, you’ll start developing your listening skills without even noticing, and before you know it you’ll end up understanding most of what’s being said without having to check any translation.
Read blog posts and articles
On our blog, we have amazing articles written by language professionals that share many useful tips that will help you take your skills to the next level, so if you’re looking for more useful advice, don’t forget to check it out!
Some of the articles that you might want to read include:
6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Luxembourg to Reinvigorate Your Language Learning Passion
5 Languages That Prove the US is More Linguistically Diverse Than You Might Think
4. How to Learn German Speaking
You can spend hours and hours studying German, but if you don’t develop conversational skills, all your knowledge of the language will be of little use to you. Because we know how hard it is to speak a foreign language confidently, especially if you’re not getting any help from a qualified teacher, here are some useful recommendations to help you learn to start speaking as soon as possible:
Read the basics before you start
Before you put yourself in any situation where you actually have to speak to someone in German, you can take a look at some of these interesting articles that will make talking to a native a far less daunting experience:
Attend a language exchange event
A great way to put your skills to test for free is to attend a language exchange where you can socialize with other language learners and even meet native German speakers who happen to be living in your city or town. If for some reason you can’t find one in the area, you can check out some of the online events available at websites like meetup, which has many German-language communities you can join.
Get as much exposure to the language as possible
If you still don’t feel ready to meet people, there are many other ways you can boost your speaking skills. On websites like Youtube, you can watch plenty of videos of German native speakers talking about every topic you can think of, which will help you expand your vocabulary and listen to different German accents without leaving your house. You can also find many resources online that are really useful to get familiarized with the German sounds such as:
A German Language Guide with free sound-integrated resources
Contact us & get the practice you need!
5. Key German Phrases
Are you about to travel to a German-speaking country and realized you can’t even greet somebody in German? Don’t worry! Here are some of the most commonly used German phrases that will help you interact with locals more confidently.
|English Version||German Version|
|Greetings||Hello / Hi||Hallo|
|How are you?/ How are you doing?||Wie geht es dir?|
|Good Morning.||Guten Morgen?|
|Thanking others||Thank you!||Danke|
|I appreciate it.||Ich schätze es|
|Asking for forgiveness||Apologies||Entschuldigung|
|I'm sorry /I'm very sorry||Es tut mir Leid.|
|Asking for help||Where is... the bathroom?||Wo ist die Toilette?|
|Can you help me with my luggage?||Können Sie mir mit meinem Gepäck helfen?|
|Accepting an invitation||Yes, thank you!||Ja Dankeschön!|
|Presentation||My name is…||Ich heisse…|
|What’s your name?||What’s your name?|
After reading this extensive guide to learning German, there’s only one thing to do and that is to start! Here at Language Trainers, we can help you get everything you need to become a fluent German speaker as fast as possible. To start, all you need to do is contact us today and we’ll pair you up with a qualified native teacher that will create the perfect course that you need!
If you’re still not sure how good your skills are and you want to find it out before starting a course, we offer a free German level test on our website that won’t take you more than fifteen minutes.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media for more information about our courses and more interesting tips that will help you learn languages more efficiently!
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