Learning German is impossible?
I thought so too, and I never thought I’d go and live in Basel or any other German-speaking country like Switzerland.
But in the end I learned a bit of German too, and more than one person today compliments me on the way I speak it. Actually, I think it is a language that is really difficult to learn, but that anyone can learn it with a lot of commitment and perseverance.
I have collected a number of tips that I am convinced will help you to learn German more quickly:
1 Move to a state where German is spoken (Austria, Germany or Switzerland for example).
Only with a total immersion in the German language will you really learn it. A German course even every day will not have the same effect as speaking and listening to German in any situation of the day.
2 Take an intensive German course.
At least two months but every day for at least 2-3 hours. Always practice at home!
3 If you move abroad, make an effort to speak German even with people of your own nationality!
Many people recommend to attend only German-speaking people, in order to “learn by copying”, but from experience I think that at the beginning it is much more useful to speak in German with other foreigners (with whom you only speak in German – no English!). They speak more slowly than native speakers and they have (or have had) the same difficulties as you, so they will be more understanding and try to help you.
4 If you have little chance of conversations in German, organize a language tandem, where you can alternate between conversations in German and your native language.
However, I recommend that you use this option after a few months of learning, when your vocabulary will be large enough to converse on a variety of topics.
5 Read, read, read!
Start with simple texts, e.g. free metro newspapers or reading comics. It will be very tiring at first, but don’t give up! Don’t look for every single word, but try to understand the meaning of the speech. Slowly the recurring words will begin to make sense and print themselves in your memory.
There are mobile phone applications that can help you memorize new words. Much better if you memorize whole sentences.
In fact, our Android app allows you to memorize single words or sentences a bit more complex while having fun playing hangman.
6 Television and cinema: watch cartoons or movies you already know!
If you already know the plot, it will be easier to follow the speech and learn new words. Use the subtitles, in German of course, to make it easier to understand, but focus on the voice in particular.
7 Talk, talk and talk!
You don’t have to be afraid to make a mistake, most people will smile and try to understand you anyway (maybe correcting). To learn a language you have to let yourself go, you cannot wait to know the grammar from A to Z. Even the Germans make mistakes!
8 Use your mobile phone or notebook to always note down new words you hear or read.
When you are at home you can search for the meaning and review it until you have memorized it.
Follow these tips and I am sure you will be able to speak German. If I can do it, you can certainly do it too 🙂