Over the last decade, interest in learning German has grown enormously, taking over from traditional favourites like English or French in many countries. This is because German-speaking countries boast a high quality of life, and also offer plenty of job opportunities for qualified foreign workers. And, let’s not forget, German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union.
German is complicated, and it can be a little daunting when you are starting out. If you didn’t study Latin or Greek in school, chances are you may not have heard of declensions until you started learning German. But we promise you that it’s not as hard as it might seem at first. It’s just… very precise. German has a wide variety of pronouns, genders and declensions, so that everything is stated very clearly and there is absolutely no ambiguity. With our 5 tips for learning German fast, you’ll get the hang of them in no time at all 😉
1. Soak up the language
Being committed is important in everything you do, including learning languages. You’re interested in languages because you have a curious mind… so, satisfy that curiosity by soaking up as much content in German as you can!
We’re in the Golden Age of streaming, so why not try to just watch TV series in German for a certain period? It’s easy to find them, including several which are available on Netflix. YouTube is also full of content in German, covering every imaginable topic for users of all ages.
Of course, it’s also important to read. If you don’t know what to read, or you don’t want to spend too much money, remember that libraries in most towns and cities will have fiction written especially for language students. And while you’re walking to the library, why not listen to a podcast in German? There are several on the Deutsche Welle page, for example. And, a final tip: don’t forget to change the language of your mobile apps to German!
2. Practice German with native speakers
In our digital society, it is becoming easier to make connections with people who share our interests all over the globe. Make the most of this when you are learning German. You could create a conversation group with people who share your language-learning interests and get together to practice speaking. Look for (or create) groups on Facebook, or take a look at the notice boards in the universities in your city.
Another option is to try apps like HelloTalk, which allows you to get in touch with native German speakers and chat with them. You can even have a free phone conversation. Using the language in informal situations is one of the best ways of learning German fast.
3. Use fun study techniques
You know you’ll have to study hard to get on… but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it fun! A fun and simple technique is to learn five new words a week. Write then down and make sure you use them in a real-life context – perhaps in the German conversation group we mentioned in the previous point.
Want more ideas? Well, you could label different objects in your home in German. Or practice all the tenses of one verb a week, perhaps by writing a diary in which you try and use one specific tense each day. You could also write up lists of vocabulary and add your own illustrations. Or learn some German songs. There are all kinds of ways to make studying fun if you use your imagination!
4. Sign up for an official exam
Unless you are one of those rare people who find it easy to apply yourself to studying, a little pressure can help keep you motivated and stop procrastinating. When you sign up for an official exam, you know you will have to attain a certain level of knowledge by a specific date – a great way to stay focussed and keep up the pressure on yourself to study.
The German exams offered by the Goethe Institute are the most well known, but there are other exams available too. Don’t forget that getting your language skills recognised by a diploma from an official institution will help you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs, whether at home or abroad.
5. Study German abroad
Clearly, the best way to learn German fast is to study it where it is spoken. Although Germany is the most obvious choice, there are also several other attractive destinations where German is also spoken including Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and some regions of Belgium.
A German study abroad program will allow you to apply the other four tips on this list easily. You’ll also have the chance to get to know the culture of the country where you choose to study, and enjoy an unforgettable experience that will give you all kinds of skills.