When you first begin to learn German, you probably have enough to keep you busy. After the first few weeks or months of studying, it will be harder to see the progress you are making. No matter what your level though, most of us want to learn German as quickly as possible.
While there isn't a way to simply absorb all of the necessary information to really know a language, here are the top 10 tips to speed up the learning process.
1. Know Your Goal - And Plan How to Get There
The best way to learn German is to know what you want out of your learning experience. Consider why you are learning German to determine what your goals should be.
Your goals are clearly going to be different if you are taking a business trip to Germany compared to a student learning German for a class.
Once you know why you are learning German, you can establish your final goal. If you have a time frame of when you need to meet your goal, that will dictate how quickly you need to learn German.
Start working backward to establish smaller goals to keep your motivation high. Meeting small goals gives you a reason to keep learning.
2. Study Daily
Learning German (or any language) is easier to do if you take the time to study every day. This is easy in the beginning because you are probably excited about a new project.
Over time, that enthusiasm may start to wane. If you are already in the habit of studying every day, it won’t seem nearly as annoying as when you only study occasionally.
3. Prioritize Key Words
German and English are very similar, including the use of a few key words. Your ultimate goal is going to dictate which words will be key words for you. If you are learning it for work, the keywords will be much different than if you are learning casual German or tech German.
Take some time to figure out which words and phrases will help you use German daily. The more you use the words, the easier it will be to start feeling comfortable with the new language.
4. Start Talking from the Beginning
This is the most difficult part of learning German; most of us simply don’t feel confident enough to speak a new language in the beginning. The problem is that the longer you procrastinate speaking in German, the less likely it is you will speak the language well.
Yes, you are going to sound silly in the beginning. But isn’t it better to do that in the first few days than to start speaking in German after a few months? You are more likely to be corrected early on too, which means you will be incorporating the correct grammar and sounds much earlier than if you wait to speak.
5. Study Vocabulary Daily
In addition to studying German every day, you need daily German vocabulary practice. Building your vocabulary will make it easier to speak, which encourages you to speak more often. It also gives you a wider range of topics you can discuss, which will keep you feeling enthusiastic about learning German.
6. Use Free Apps and Tools
It’s nearly impossible to imagine learning a language without apps and free tools. Today, you don’t have to travel to become proficient in a language – you just need a few good apps. Some apps are dedicated to vocabulary, some will help you with grammar, and others will help you find language partners.
Using several apps will also keep the experience from feeling stale. Sometimes all you want is a change in learning materials or topics. Put your preferred apps to regular use to start seeing more progress faster.
7. Develop Activities That Target Your Learning Styles and Schedules
No two people learn the same way. Consider how you learn, and start to tailor your approach to studying German based on your learning style.
It is also critical to learn based on your abilities. Some people are like sponges, absorbing information almost as soon as they learn it. Others require several sessions to comprehend a topic. Neither of these methods are better than the other as they each have benefits and problems.
What is important is to know how you learn and what pace is challenging for you without being overwhelming.
8. Treat Mistakes Like Free Lessons
Most of us work very hard at being perfect in the things that we do. When it comes to learning German, that isn’t possible. The truth is, the more mistakes you make, the more and quicker you will learn.
It is much easier to remember something if you have been corrected than if you have simply studied it in a book. Mistakes are free lessons that are memorable, and you should embrace them. Remember – you are learning more efficiently when you learn from your mistakes.
9. Find a Few Regular German Language Partners
This can be a bit intimidating, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. There are a lot of native German speakers who want to learn English, making it easy to find language partners who can help you improve your German.
Do remember to set time limits for speaking both languages. It is far too easy to get comfortable and to speak in English more than in German. By establishing a time frame to speak each language, you ensure that you and your partner both get a chance to learn.
10. Make a Day Dedicated to German Speaking and Reading
You can do this as a beginner, but it is essential if you are at an intermediate or expert level. Having a dedicated day to listen to German on the radio, read news in German, and do other regular tasks in German, you are significantly speeding up your language learning.
It will be a bit harder to do this for novices and beginners, but you can make a point of only using German apps, listening to German music, and watching German shows. Having subtitles included will help ensure you can understand what is being said, and that can do a lot to help you pick up the language faster.
Depending on your level, you can make this a weekly or monthly occurrence.
Get Started Today
Whether you are new to the language or well into the learning experience, implementing these tips and tricks can help you increase what you remember. Take a week and implement the tips in an order that best meets your schedule. For example, set up an hour or two during the week to find the right apps for your learning style. For another day, set aside an hour to look for language partners.
Initially, you may feel it is a lot of work, but after a couple of months, you will be so accustomed to these good study habits that they will be second nature.
Speechling can help you establish the right learning methods for your needs. We are here to help you reach your goals.