How to learn German
It is possible to learn German in several ways.
German language books, audio-visual materials, or a study group, presented by a tutor are a few possibilities. Online study is a more contemporary way in which a study of the German language may begin. More about that later on.
Is it difficult to learn German?
Try not to be put off by how difficult people say learning German can be. Some learners may feel daunted because the language includes male and female forms of words as well as compound words and linguistic cases they are not used to, but this is similar to many other (European) languages, and, ultimately, it is just a case of learning rules and vocabulary by rote.
What is the best way to learn German?
Arguably one of the best ways to learn the German language is to engage a 1:1 tutor or to learn in a small group or as part of an intensive course. In general, a mix of tuition and practice in real-life situations is the best way to learn.
Enrolling with a language school is a great way to learn if you wish to dedicate the time to a committed course program. See our page on The Best Language Schools in Germany for more information.
How can I learn the German language?
Here are some easy steps to learning German:
Master the alphabet
A good understanding of the basic German alphabet and how it’s vowels and consonants are pronounced, is essential. See our page on German Alphabet and Grammar.
Learn easy/important words
Expanding your vocabulary (Wortschatz) is important for both comprehension and speaking – from the very start of your learning. You can actually start to learn these right at the start, even before you know exactly how/why the phrases are formed how they are, just to get started with speaking every day.
Basic grammar: Study nouns, verbs and adjectives
Learning the parts of speech is important – a little more advanced is learning how they behave in different linguistic cases, conjugations, and contexts, which brings us to...
Learn how sentences are constructed
At first, the sentences you use will be very basic and limited in their expression of tense and ‘mood’ (e.g. subjunctive, conjunctive, etc.). Over time they will become longer and more complex.
Talk to German speakers… regularly
Socializing with a German speaker is an excellent way to put into practice what you have learnt in class and to seek further feedback on your speaking. By doing this, you’ll slowly increase your vocabulary – they will use plenty of words you don’t know, and you’ll absorb their habits concerning inflection and tone.
Try watching some German films or listening to German music
Once you have the basics, challenge yourself by engaging with authentic German-language texts and audio. Watch the news and weather to stay up to date with German current affairs while improving your skills.
Learning German Online
There are several online German tutoring websites and premium app services which help beginners learn German online. Some claim to give you the basics in just 30 days. Rosetta Stone offers a popular, tried-and-tested method of language learning which can be accessed online and using an app.
Some basic German phrases
- Please = Bitte
- Thank you/Thank you very much = Dankeschön/Vielen Dank
- You're welcome = Bitteschön (or, actually, just Bitte)
- How are you = Wie geht’s?
- I’m fine, thanks = Mir geht’s gut, danke.
- And maybe not so basic: I love you = Ich liebe dich