Tips on How to Learn German

By: Nick Clipton

Like every other foreign language, learning German can be extremely challenging. Essentially, teaching yourself a new language is like learning a new way to think. This is difficult for many people to grasp since they automatically fall back on their usual learning style and English-centered mindframe. The real key to learn German, or any foreign language, is to approach it with a completely open mind and allow yourself to learn a new way to think and interpret language.A good technique to aid you in your foreign language studies is improving your memory and mental capacity. This is important since you'll be forced to remember a plethora of vocabulary and rules. If you've already got a good memory, then here are some basic principles you should follow when trying to learn German...

(1.) Don't be intimidated by trying to learn a complex language like German: Both English and German are Germanic languages. That means they share similarities (aka cognates) that will make your initial exposure to German easier than other languages. German is similar to Spanish in that respect -- they have links to the word structure of English.

(2.) Associate nouns with their gender: In German, nouns change in reference to gender. It's just like in English with him & her or Spanish with amigo & amiga. They're slight differences, but very important when speaking to someone. You certainly don't want to address a girl using a male noun. That can be very off-putting. Understanding this basic rule will help you when trying to comprehend the more complex word formations and sentence structures down the line.

(3.) Study, study, study: I cannot stress this enough. When you're learning a new language, you must study everyday. I'm not saying you have to study five hours a day and have no social life. I suggest studying a half hour each day in small clusters. I call this "micro-studying" and it really works. Studying small amounts of information on a daily basis helps you retain the information and is much easier on your brain (and your schedule). The worst thing you can do is put off studying and try to cram everything into one all-nighter. This strategy does not work when trying to learn German.

(4.) Find a study partner and speak in German: Find a study partner, or study group, and speak German to one another. You need to become comfortable with the language and you can only do tthis by speaking the language regularly. You may be terrible at first, but give it time. You'll get it right eventually. Persistence is so important when learning a foreign language.

Summation: If you follow those simple principles, you'll be on your way to learning, and mastering, the German language in no time.

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