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Learn German – A One-Stop Guide of Tips and Resources

Learn German

Given its popularity, getting started with German could be a bit overwhelming for a beginner.

With more than 100 million native and non-native speakers worldwide, German is among the most spoken languages in the world. Finding a German language resource may not be too difficult, but finding one that works for you may be more challenging.

Whether you want to learn German for travel, work, or simply for fun, there are plenty of resources available to help you reach your goals. As you learn, you’ll understand the structure of the German language and how it differs from other languages.

If you want to go straight to reading our recommended resources and reviews, check out these posts:

How to learn German? Learn German on your own? How to learn German fast? Learn German for Free? Find out here. Learn German with these tips and resources.

In this article, we’ll share some resources to look into as well as some of the best ways to learn German. This will help you choose the approach that works best for you. Let’s get started!

Learn German On Your Own

Learning German on your own is entirely feasible with dedication and the right resources.

Start by setting clear goals and creating a structured study plan that fits your schedule. Utilize online resources such as language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel, which offer interactive lessons and exercises tailored to self-paced learning. Combine these with textbooks, online courses, and grammar guides for a comprehensive understanding of the language’s structure and rules. Immerse yourself in German media like movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music to improve your listening skills and expose yourself to authentic language use. Practice speaking and writing regularly, whether by recording yourself speaking or journaling in German.

Finally, join online communities or language exchange platforms to connect with native speakers and practice conversation skills. Consistency and perseverance are key to success when learning a language independently.

The Best Way to Learn German

Take a German Language Course

The best way to learn German is with a course that uses immersion to teach you a foreign language. Immersion means learning German words in the context of larger conversations, stories, or recorded dialogues. This an immersion-based method you start to pick German grammar rules intuitively and learn vocabulary using full sentences.

Learning German this way makes it easier to take the material you learn from the course and start using it in real-world conversations. It also keeps you from having to translate from your native English into German when trying to speak, which is a common problem for many beginning German learners.

We have a few solid recommendations for the German language courses. See our Best German Courses for our up-to-date favorite picks.

Take German Classes Online

Online German classes can be a great way to learn German. A German teacher will be able to help you with any difficult grammar rules or pronunciation issues. They will also know which parts of the language are most difficult for foreigners, and provide a clear way to overcome them.

There are a lot of websites that provide one-on-one language learning lessons with German teachers via on-demand lessons. One of our absolute favorites is SmarterGerman. It is taught by a fantastically talented teacher/founder Michael, and his German classes are engaging and encouraging. Michael’s students can join his very active SmarterGerman learner community to keep the motivation level up. His lessons are well-structured and thorough, they really are equivalent to going to an expensive language institute.

SmarterGerman caters to very beginners to advanced-level German learners who are aiming for C1 certification. If you are serious about acquiring the German language, SmarterGerman may be something you want to check out.

How about one-on-one language learning lessons with German teachers via video chat or Zoom call? There are a couple of really great ones out there such as Preply and iTalki.

Listen to German Podcasts

If you’re serious about learning German then you will need to develop your listening comprehension skills. One of the best ways to learn German and develop your listening skills is with podcasts.

As a beginner, you should start out with a podcast recorded specifically for language learners. A good language learning podcast will give you much-needed exposure to spoken German, but it will do it in a way that’s appropriate for a beginner. Usually, this means a mix of English and German at first.

Once you become more proficient in the language you can move on to podcasts exclusively recorded in German about any topic you choose. At this level you don’t need to limit yourself to German learning podcasts, you can listen to podcasts recorded for native German speakers.

Watch German Movies and TV

Watching German TV shows and movies isn’t just an entertaining way to spend an evening, it’s a great way to learn German too! Watching TV in your target language will help you see how phrases are used in the real world.

Odds are that you will find some words and phrases used differently than what you were taught in a textbook. This is because movies and television are gateways for slang and informal speech. Language isn’t always textbook and German media is great for helping learn the ins and outs of native speech.

Another way to use movies and TV in your language learning is to watch something in German without subtitles. You can start by just watching a minute or two of a TV show. Re-watch the clip a few times and try to make sense of what you hear. Odds are that you won’t be able to understand everything at first and that’s okay!

After a few listens turn on German subtitles and watch through the clip a couple more times. If you still get stuck you can watch once with English subtitles too. This kind of exercise improves your listening skills and helps you pick up new vocabulary.

Learn to Speak German with Native Speakers

No matter what language you are learning, speaking will be a necessary step in achieving fluency. For many German learners, it’s also one of the most intimidating. It’s not uncommon for beginners to put off speaking German and instead focus on reading and writing.

Don’t fall for that trap!

Speaking German can seem scary at first, but once you get over the fear of making mistakes it’s actually one of the most rewarding and fun parts of foreign language learning! You don’t have to jump on a plane to Germany to find native speakers either.

You can look online for language exchanges and find a speaking partner. Another option is local language clubs. Meetup.com features conversation clubs for most major cities. Also if you have a local university nearby, the odds are that you can find a speaking club there as well.

Experience German Culture by Traveling

Traveling to Germany or another German-speaking country can be the ultimate immersion experience. But you will need to prepare a bit before your trip if you want to get the most out of it. You should try to at least master basic German sentence structure and phrases before traveling abroad. Even better if you could get some practice speaking German too.

The idea is to have a solid enough foundation in the language that you can hold basic conversations while traveling abroad. As a foreigner and tourist in Germany, most native speakers will opt to speak English to you. German people won’t necessarily have the time or patience to wait as you figure out what you’re going to say to them.

As we said before traveling is a great way to experience German culture and level up your language skills. But it’s also an experience best for intermediate learners. Absolute beginners might want to wait a bit before traveling to learn German.

The one exception would be to sign up for a German language immersion program in Germany. These are typically run by language schools or universities and are geared to teaching beginners German.

These immersion programs can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. If you want to learn German from scratch while traveling abroad these programs are a great option.

Learn German Pronunciation

Pronunciation is the one aspect of learning German that most students overlook. Most German learning resources focus a lot on reading, writing, and speaking; but few take the time to help you develop a good German accent.

This is a shame because learning German pronunciation is one of the most effective language hacks to learn German fast. Not everyone realizes this but pronunciation is a physical skill.

Your German friends weren’t born with a special German gene that helps them speak the language. A good German accent is simply the result of knowing how to position your tongue and mouth to make certain sounds.

What makes pronunciation so powerful is that once you can speak German words with a native accent, it will be much easier for you to understand native speakers and to pick new German words during real conversations. Not to mention you’ll be likely to impress a German friend or two.

Pimsleur is a great program if you want to learn German fast using pronunciation. Every lesson on Pimsleur teaches you phrases by having you repeat them syllable by syllable with a native German speaker. This is essentially pronunciation training, and no other German course I know of pulls it off as well as Pimsleur.

Learn German Grammar

Compared to the romantic languages, German grammar is often considered a bit more difficult for native English speakers. German conjugation, articles, and cases are all significant hurdles for beginners.

While we recommend learning German with an immersion-based approach, you will have to grapple with German grammar sooner or later, especially as your proficiency in the language improves. When you’re first starting out, you should focus on learning phrases and useful words to start communicating as quickly as possible.

Only after you start using German phrases should you start learning the grammar behind them.

Learning grammar after having already interacted with the language, helps give context to the rules you learn.

Learn German Idioms

Idioms are always a bit of a challenge when learning a foreign language. This is because the idioms in your native language don’t necessarily carry over to your target language and vice versa. Take for instance the German idiom ich bin fix und fertig which translates literally to something along the lines of “I’m ready and done”, but when used this phrase means “I’m tired”.

Sometimes there are similarities between English idioms and German ones. Um den heißen Brei herumreden literally translates to “to talk around hot mash”, and means something similar to the American idiom beating around the bush.

Knowing idioms will help you understand what you hear when Germans speak more colloquially. Sometimes a phrase might not make literal sense, and you’ll just have to memorize what it means. Other times you will understand the spirit or logic of the idiom and remembering it won’t be so difficult.

Read German Books

Compared to other foreign languages, reading in German is a bit easier for native English speakers. The German alphabet is similar enough to English that you have a bit of a head start there. Also German is a more phonetic language than English, meaning that it’s much more often written the way it sounds.

So it’s a good idea to go ahead to incorporate reading into your German learning routine early on. While reading won’t necessarily help you develop speaking skills, it will expose you to a lot of vocabulary very quickly. If you want to learn more than just common words, reading is an excellent way to learn German vocabulary.

The Easiest Way to Learn German

The easiest way to learn German involves immersing yourself in the language as much as possible, whether through music, movies, or conversations with native speakers.

Start with the basics of grammar and vocabulary, mastering common phrases and essential grammar rules. Utilize language learning apps for interactive lessons, and consider enrolling in a course for structured guidance. Practice regularly, incorporating reading, listening, and speaking exercises into your routine. Engage in language exchange with native speakers to enhance your conversational skills. Remember to be patient and persistent, celebrating your progress while acknowledging that learning a new language takes time and effort.

How to Learn German Fast

To learn German quickly, focus on immersion and intensive practice. Immerse yourself in the language by listening to German music, watching movies with subtitles, and surrounding yourself with German speakers. Use language learning apps and courses that offer intensive lessons and interactive exercises. Prioritize learning essential vocabulary and grammar rules to build a strong foundation. Practice speaking and listening skills regularly, whether through language exchange with native speakers or by speaking aloud to yourself. Dedicate consistent time each day to study and review material.

Additionally, seek out resources tailored to fast-paced learning, such as accelerated courses or intensive language programs. Stay motivated and committed to your learning goals, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as part of the learning process.

How to Speak German

The best way to speak German fluently is through consistent practice and immersion. Engage in conversations with native speakers as often as possible, either through language exchange programs, online forums, or in-person interactions. Focus on speaking from day one, even if you make mistakes, as it helps build confidence and fluency. Practice speaking aloud, repeating phrases, and mimicking native speakers to improve pronunciation and intonation. Incorporate German into your daily life by thinking and even talking to yourself in German whenever you can.

Additionally, supplement your speaking practice with listening exercises to train your ear and improve comprehension. Remember that speaking a new language is a skill that develops over time, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing regularly to see progress.

Learn German for Free

There are so many options available to help learn German for free, it can be difficult to know where to start. Start by utilizing language learning apps like Duolingo, Memrise, or Babbel, which offer free versions with interactive lessons and vocabulary practice. Explore websites such as Deutsch Gym, which provides comprehensive German blog posts for beginners to advanced learners at no cost. Take advantage of YouTube channels dedicated to teaching German, where you can find tutorials, grammar explanations, and practice exercises. Additionally, access free language exchange platforms to connect with native German speakers who are learning your native language, allowing you to practice conversation skills for free.

Finally, immerse yourself in German media like movies, TV shows, and podcasts, which are often available for free online. With dedication and persistence, you can learn German effectively without spending a dime.

Final Thoughts

As we know, there are many ways to go about the best way to learn German. Finding the method that works best for you is going to take time. Perhaps it will take more than one kind of method. All in all, there are more strategies than this to be able to help you along your language-learning journey. We have come up with some ways to help and there are also diff

These are 11 of the top tips we think we could provide to you. These tips are meant to help with your language-learning journey. German can be a tough language to learn. With proper assistance and dedicated training, anything is possible. There are so many great ways to make language learning fun!

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