Learning German can be somewhat difficult for people who aren’t already familiar with the Indo-European languages. It might seem tricky initially, but by following the right techniques and consistent practices, you can easily master it. Your previous experience, resilience, and exposure to a language, and motivation for learning are some of the numerous factors that will influence how quickly you learn the German language. Let’s see how to master the language so that it becomes part of the way you think.
Mastering the German language
Here are some strategies and tips that can be helpful when you study German:
i. Setting goals:
This is a perfect way of beginning to learn a new language. First, get the overview and then divide it into small topics so that you can pick one instead of overburdening yourself with a lot of stuff to learn. Making a study plan is an excellent way of attaining your goals without fail. Note down what all you have accomplished every day and if there were moments when your motivation level went down. Work on these the next day to perform better.
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ii. Take one step at a time:
If you start to learn the German language without taking time to understand the context, it won’t last long, and you will soon forget it. This is because our brain needs some time for information processing and saving and relating new information to other information we already know. So if you try to absorb a large amount of information at one go, this will just overload the brain. Thus the efforts will be wasted. So take a small portion and make sure to do it every day without skipping.
iii. Practice is the key:
This is not only a means for learning the German language but also anything that you are learning for the first time. To be a fluent German speaker, repeated practicing of the same words and phrases is needed. This will make your brain habituated to the language. Taking the help of language apps or flashcards can be helpful in this process. Speak out the words loud and pronounce them while reading them for better outcomes.
iv. Follow a theme:
This is a way of making the learning process more interesting. Randomly learning the words won’t be easily forgotten when you don’t study them contextually. So to start with, choose an artist or some German topic from history or any genre. Learning in this way will motivate you, and you won’t get bored.
v. Fun activities with group study:
Learning with someone or a group is a more effective way of enhancing speaking and listening skills. You can pick up your friends, colleagues, or other students having similar interests to start with. In case you can invite some German-speaking person to the group, that would be even more interesting. Try to include fun and creative tasks to make the learning process more enjoyable. Role-playing is also a great way of enhancing fluency as it needs a lot of talking. You can also take topics like food recipes, cooking, gaming, arts, and others to learn the related vocabulary.
vi. Recalling previously learned words:
When you learn new vocabulary, try to link and use the words or rules that you have learned earlier. This will help you recall the words better, which you have already learned. You can always try following an approach of mixing up things gradually, as this will increase your pace of learning.
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vii. Learn before going to bed:
This has a scientific explanation, i.e., our brain processes information when we sleep, and memories get consolidated. So it is a good practice to learn something before going to bed. Doing this on a regular basis in the form of reading a German storybook, listening to a few dialogues, or a short informative video in German can provide better outcomes. By doing this, you can literally learn the German language in your sleep!
viii. Interacting and thinking in German:
When you learn a new language continuously, a point will come when you start thinking in that language. But this can be done in the initial stages, too, when you can begin dedicating a few minutes every day to thinking something in German. We usually do this in our native language, but with practice, this will become easy. Begin with small and simple translations about things surrounding you, and then go for complex phrases.
ix. Avoid distractions:
Making a plan and following the tips would be useful only when you learn to avoid distractions. This can be in the form of friends calling you for a party, attending phone calls of your relatives and similar other things. All these might not seem to be huge, but they gradually lower your motivation level and reduce your efficiency. Thus you will end up dropping your plan or taking a lot of time to learn the German language.
x. Learning through notes and sketches:
This is a great way of visualizing things and remembering difficult terms. Draw pictures to represent words, use colors or index cards to remember the important things. This will make learning German terms more comprehensible and simple. Taking the example of German grammar, it is quite extensive, but if you learn to divide everything into small parts, you would no more feel it to be unconquerable. Use specific colors for specific parts of speech, such as red for verbs, yellow for nouns, green for adjectives, and so on.
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xi. Take a break:
When you plan a schedule, make sure to take some breaks in between to revitalize yourself. But it is essential not to get completely distracted during this time. Some fresh air and breathing exercises for better functioning of the brain can help you in memorizing things. Also, self-care is important. This is what breaks are meant for. Make sure to nourish yourself with nutritious food and stay hydrated too.
xii. German movies, songs, and visiting Germany:
These are some ways of reinforcing your German language proficiency. Start watching movies and listening to music in the language to come across new words and phrases. This will also help you learn how to use the phrases in a better way, like native Germans. Observing all this will cause a major boost to your German language acquisition. If you get a chance, you can even visit Germany and interact with the local people to have a completely different experience.
When you follow the tips and strategies mentioned above and seek the guidance of a good tutor, learning German will be quite easy for you. But remember that consistency is the key to fluency. Practicing this regularly is a must, or else you would start forgetting the rules. With regular efforts, it will take around 3-6 months to have a conversational level of fluency in the German language. Initially, you may make mistakes, but gradually this will reduce. Never get discouraged when this happens, and keep motivating yourself to gain proficiency.
About the author: K C Raj is a career counselor and recruiter with many years of experience. Interested in topics like human development, education, immigration, inequality, and many other international issues. K C Raj is a socialist in thinking, and believes in “One Nation, One World” theory.
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