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Top 7 Tips To Learn The German Language Basics
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Top 7 Tips to Learn the German Language Basics

Learning the German language basics is in many ways a simple task with the resources that are available today. How to introduce yourself to others and giving basic information about yourself can be rapidly learned by memorizing a few phrases. Asking for directions, ordering a meal, purchasing an item at a store are again part of learning the German language basics, and easily learned. Now here comes the hard part. When you speak to a native German in their native tongue, guess what? They are going to speak back to you in German but it’s not going to sound like the German you learned, it might even sound like another language entirely because they just answered at a speed that is making your mind freeze from confusion. With all the hard work you have done studying, you feel bad because you know you are supposed to understand what they just said. That brings us to more German basics. “ Koennen Sie das bitte langsamer wiederholen?” Which means, “ Can you please repeat that slower?” There are some tricks to learning the basics of the German language that can help you get through these early stages in language development.

1) Find a program that works for you - When choosing a program, we have to give some thought as to what will work for us and our lifestyle. Do we have time every Monday and Thursday for that course at the local college? If the majority of our workday is spent on a computer, do we want to sit at a computer during our free time in order to learn German? Are you the type that likes to learn from a book, or are you more of an audio person, or perhaps, someone that likes visual stimulation in order to learn? There are many programs available that fit our time constraints, style of learning and our budget as well. Any respected language program, within the first level or two, will fulfill your need to learn the German basics.

2) Stick with your program - Once you have chosen a program or course to take, stick with it Programs are designed with a definite structure. When and how you learn a word or concept is all part of that program’s individual structure. Trust in your program. Work each lesson from start to finish.

3) Repetition – There are really only about 2500 words that need to be mastered in order to get a good grasp on a language, and far less to learn the German basics. However, It does require repetition to lock words, sentence structure and the sound of the language into your mind. Therefore work through your lessons and then work through them again and again. If your program has an audio supplement, listen to it repeatedly. I have personally gone through the audio programs for Rosetta Stone, Living Language and Pimsleur several times. I found this to be very beneficial in solidifying what I had learned.

4) Think the language – After you have gotten a few words under your belt, look for them in your everyday life. For example: When you see an apple, say aloud, “der Apfel.” When you see a dog, say aloud, “der Hund.” After you get a little better, make up sentences as the opportunity arises. For example: When it’s time to take the dog for a walk, ask him, Moechtest du einen Spaziergang machen?” My dog is starting to understand German pretty well now.

5) Practice aloud - German is a language, and you won’t learn it by thinking it. You can’t practice it in your head or speak it under your breath. You must speak loud and clear and try to make it flow. In the early stages of learning a new language, the student tends to speak in a stop and go fashion. What I mean is that the student starts a sentence, stops in the middle to think of what word to use, then continues. He may even stop a second and third time to think of some grammar rule before finishing the sentence. Try to avoid starting, stopping, thinking and starting again. We all do it in the beginning, but try to work your way into nice flowing sentences.

6) Train your ears to hear! – As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, if you are going to open your mouth and speak in German to someone that really knows the language, be prepared for what comes next. Your ears have to be ready to gather information at a pretty fast rate. This is why you need to train your ears. Along with listening to your program, there are other ways to get your ears in tune. There are German films with and without subtitles, German TV on cable and the internet and one can find a lot of resources by typing in German Language Forum into Google. One of the best ways to train your ears is by having a friend that speaks German speak with you. Hopefully, this friend has a lot of patience.

7) Join a German organization – There are various German organizations in just about every community in the country. I personally belong to one and it is filled with German speaking members that are more than happy to share their knowledge.

Learning German language basics is not as difficult as it might seem. With a little determination the basics can be acquired rather quickly. It is really rather simple to find a program that works for you, work that program over a few times, work the language into your everyday life and interact with others either via the internet or though people in your community. I saw a woman the other day in a parking Her license plate said “Muenchen” (Munich). I said to her, “Kommen Sie aus Muenchen?” (Do you lot. come from Munich), and it opened up a whole conversation in German. It’s really not that hard to learn the German basics (after all, my dog did it), you just need to put in a little effort.


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