For those new to languages, it may sound like a daunting task to become fluent in any language in 3 months, let alone such a complicated language like German. Nonetheless, Adriana can tell you from experience that it’s definitely possible! The recipe for success is similar for learning any foreign language: goal setting, sticking to practice habits, and spending time with native speakers.
So, how does one actually take on the seemingly monumental task of learning German in just 3 months? Adriana provided a few of her top learning tips to help make things feel more manageable.
How to maintain your confidence when language learning
A big part of learning is your own mindset. If you want to successfully complete a 3 month German language learning programme like Lingoda Sprint, it’s important to stick with the belief that you can do it. Maybe your teacher corrects you a few times during class, or you speak with someone in German in your daily life and you have to repeat yourself, because they don’t understand. Maybe you mix up words completely or don’t pronounce something right.
What I will be plainly upfront about is that these mistakes are entirely part of the learning process. Instead of getting bogged down by them, use them as a motivator to keep learning. Don’t take things personally. And a piece of advice that always helped me: even Germans themselves make mistakes when speaking their own native language!
Set concrete milestones
If your goal is to become fluent in German in 3 months, you’ve got to set some clear and concrete milestones to keep track of your progress. First off, this means determining your purpose for learning German and defining what “fluent” means for you. Your answer may look something like: I need to learn German in order to pass a test to study at university. Or I need to learn German to apply for a particular job. No matter the context, your goals should be based on what you personally need to learn, because it’s not useful to spend time learning vocabulary that isn’t relevant for when you need to use German in real life. Being fluent doesn’t mean knowing everything, but rather being able to have a fluid conversation and deeper knowledge of the language.
For many German learners, their milestones are often based on CEFR levels. CEFR stands for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and is split into categories from A1 (beginner) up to C2 (native speaker or similar). Classes within the Lingoda Marathon are based on these CEFR levels to help place you in the adequate learning environment. If your goal is to become fluent, many students choose C1 as their goal, because C2 is quite difficult to reach when learning a foreign language.
Structure learning around the best methods for you
Another method to help your learning process is to determine which learning methods are the most useful for you. For me personally, it was extremely difficult to learn German completely from speaking. I learned the most effectively when I could also see how the word was spelled, and then also write it down. This makes sense, because my strongest points in German are reading and writing. When I need to speak, my thought process is slower, because I feel the pressure of the other person wanting me to answer quickly. But if you’re a person who learns best by having spoken conversation, by all means keep on doing so!
Note your weak points
When it comes to German, my weakest point is definitely phone calls. A big reason for this is that I can’t see the other person’s body and mouth movements, and this makes a big difference for me in being able to understand German native speakers (especially when they have a complicated accent). As I mentioned above, I would always rather write than speak, because I have time to process what the other person is saying and don’t have to struggle with an accent.
To connect my two previous points, my suggestion is to learn new things based on how you learn best (particularly vocabulary, grammar and phrases), but focus on improving your weak points in order to reach your fluency goals. It will be the combination of the two that will bring you that much closer to becoming fluent in the way that you need.
If you’d like to start putting Adriana’s tips into practise, visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free 7-day trial with our native German speaking teachers. You can choose to study grammar, reading and writing while incorporate constant speaking practise.