Adriana knows a thing or two about learning German, having moved to Germany from America. She gives us her tips on how you can learn German, and quickly.
Tips on how to learn German quickly
As someone who has learned German as an adult, I won’t lie to you and say that German is easy to learn without practice. But the good news is that if you’re familiar with English (or are a native English speaker like me), there are a lot of English words and phrases that are the same in both languages, such as “information”, “finger” and “minute”.
The tricky part for most, however, is German grammar. During my time at German language school, we spent a lot of time going over German grammar. And while it is definitely complex, there is a lot of fun to it, too (I particularly love making up composite words). What I can also say is that grammar isn’t as important as you might think. The most important is that people can understand you, and that you can understand others well enough to have a fluid conversation. In my opinion, this “fluid conversation” is what makes a person “fluent”, so I’ve compiled a few helpful tips to get you there.
1. Comprehend basic grammar
In order to get to “fluency”, you need to spend a lot of time practicing, but this can be done in a short period of time if you’re dedicated enough. If you’re looking to be fluent in German in 3 months, you’ll want to give the Lingoda Sprint Marathon a go, because you learn the ins and outs of German grammar, get to practice speaking with native speakers, and also learn to form your own sentences.
I would personally stress this third point: learn to form your own sentences. While many popular language apps give great vocabulary, they often don’t teach you how to use this vocabulary in different contexts and how the grammar is formulated. When you know how basic grammar works, you can combine vocabulary and grammar to create your own sentences. It’s this point that propels you forward in becoming fluent, because when you learn to format sentences in a German way, you also begin to think “like a native German”.
2. Keep your practice relevant for you
Becoming fluent in German doesn’t mean learning every vocabulary word there is to know (this is actually impossible anyways due to composite words). For example if you’re learning German to work in business, it probably doesn’t make sense to learn German philosophy vocabulary. If you’re learning German to study Engineering, it might not make so much sense to learn tons of food-related vocabulary.
Ask yourself: what is my purpose for learning German and what related vocabulary and phrases do I need to know to feel comfortable speaking in German efficiently and effectively? Once you have this answer, this is what you should focus your practice on. If you opt for the Lingoda Marathon, you have the opportunity to choose topics that are exactly related to what you need to learn.
3. Listen to and watch German media to hear native speakers
Learning German at a higher level means formulating your sentences and manner of speaking like German native speakers. While you may spend a lot of time doing this in German class with your teacher, this is a constructed environment. You still need to go out and practice on your own to hear how German speak on a daily basis, because this is how you understand things like acronyms, slang, accents, and contextual vocabulary.
If you don’t live in Germany (and even if you do), a great way for doing this is listening to German media. This could be the radio (I always found the radio helpful for preparing for German phone calls, because you can’t see the speaker) or even watching German Netflix or other TV shows. If you’re struggling at the beginning, use German subtitles (but never English or your native language!) so you can still read when you don’t understand something. I’ve learned some great vocabulary with this method as well.
4. Don’t strive for perfect grammar
I realise I mentioned grammar in the first section as one of the most important things to learn. Yes, grammar is super important, but perfect grammar is never the most important. Those who aren’t native speakers will face grammar issues for quite some time when learning German. You have to start with a mindset that accepts it will never be perfect, plus the fact that Germans simply don’t care. They don’t expect you to have perfect grammar and will be happy just to have a conversation with you at all in their native language. What hinders a conversation is when you ponder over grammar too much and become too slow to respond. So, forget the embarrassment and just start speaking! You’ll learn faster that way in the end anyways. You got this!
If you want to get fluent in German, and quickly, visit the Lingoda website and select your learning package. You’ll be taught by native speaking teachers and have access to thousands of learning materials. Start your free trial today.