Bavarian sausages, beer and medieval castles… Mmm, beautiful! But how do you immerse yourself in all this at the proper level and begin to understand the culture of the Germans? That’s right, you have to learn their language! In this article we will learn how to learn German correctly and efficiently.
Now, it is much easier to learn German than twenty years ago. The most important thing is the desire, and you can find materials and services for learning in a matter of seconds on the Internet, giving you access to a vast number of resources you can pick up and boost your German.
How long does it take to learn German on your own?
Many German teachers we know say: “More than half of those who start to learn a language are likely to quit”. After all, if there are no results, the desire is lost. Let’s ask ourselves a few questions in this article and answer them right away, so as not to bore you with expectations.
- “So is it possible to learn German on your own?” – Yes, it’s possible. In this article you will learn how.
- “How can you avoid quitting?” – Use proper web-services and instruments for that purpose.
- “How much time will it take?” – 700-750 hours to reach fluency (more you can read in this article .
Now let’s go into more details.
Is it possible to learn German on your own?
Nowadays, when you can get on the Internet from almost every venue, self-education has become much easier than before. You can find all the information you need online: any rules in tables and in text form, exercises on any grammatical topics, training videos, recordings of native speakers, and so on. It would seem the philosophy is here: take it, please and use it!
But why are there so few people who have learned the language on their own? The answer is very banal: it’s complicated.
- Someone encounters the first difficult grammatical topic and immediately gives up on the original idea without even trying to understand it;
- Some choose the wrong method for themselves, and as a result, the topics in their head do not add up to the big picture;
- And someone simply lacks the self-discipline to make themselves devote at least fifteen minutes a day to learning a new language.
But the biggest difficulty of self-study is that there is no one around to point out mistakes and systematize the approach (to control you). Find your tutor or gain your self-control! After all, if you do not pay attention to the error or finish midway through training, it can be stored in the memory as a correct solution. But believe us, it will interfere not only in learning languages, but also in achieving other personal goals. 🙁
However, despite all these obstacles and difficulties, learning a language on your own is still possible. Now, let’s find out how long it will take us to learn German.
How long does it take to learn German?
In common cases it’ll take from 700 to 750 hours. But, you should remember an important rule.
Your learning time does not depend on how long you sit over your grammar book.
It may depend on the following factors:
- what level of proficiency that you want to achieve;
- whether you are learning all the necessary aspects of the language;
- whether you are learning with or without immersion in a German-speaking environment;
- and a variety of other factors that can help you learn faster or hinder you.
For instance, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages was invented to assess our skills and strengths concretely and clearly. It includes three levels, each of which is divided into two more sub-levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and, respectively, C2. And these sub-levels can also be divided into sub-levels.
A simple algorithm for learning German
Alphabet and letter combinations
For beginners in German, the alphabet and letter combinations will serve as a basis. At this stage, it is necessary to learn how to read. Of course, you will not understand anything written, but that’s okay. 🙂
It will come with time, and it will allow you to start working with the language in the future. To practice, you can take the easiest text, which is accompanied by an audio file. Read the text, then listen to the audio file, and you need to repeat this two or three times to check yourself, pronunciation and your understanding of lettering comprehension. It will allow you to accelerate the speed of reading.
For example, it took for one of our editors 2 days to figure out that German “sch” sounds like English “sh”, or German “tsch” sounds like English “ch”. And that’s absolutely okay!
Fundamentals of grammar
Everyone knows that to study German, you would really benefit from basic grammatical constructions. As for the level of difficulty for beginners, German grammar is not the easiest.
Here, it would be better to start to understand it with a teacher as we think. But of course, if you have the time and persistence, you can also throw yourself into the maelstrom. If you can handle the reading alone, you will need help with the grammar, where the teacher will play a key role. If you’re confident in your abilities, you can try to figure it out on your own and pick up a video or a grammar book. At this stage, if everything is done correctly, you can already learn to build simple sentences. Vocabulary is not affected here yet.
You will next need study materials from which you will systematically study, from which you will take vocabulary, audio, video, and, of course, exercises and start going through all the topics from the beginning (you can read a dedicated article about it here). If these textbooks have a workbook, this is an advantage. Here, you need to move slowly, work through each lesson, and be sure to write out unfamiliar words and their translation (the Langavia app is perfect for this, by the way). At this stage, try to set yourself the task of speaking as simply as possible; that is, to build simple sentences from words and rules with which you are already familiar.
Surround yourself with German
This is best done as soon as you have mastered elementary grammar and are getting down to textbooks. Start reading adapted books, which you can download or buy, borrow from the library, or read online. This will have a great effect on your language learning progress. Shoot for a perfectly matched book, one where you will understand 70-80% of what you read.
By the way, in the meantime, you can try to translate your phone menu into German and put stickers around the apartment with the name of objects in German (we previously described this method in this article). Start to correspond with someone in German, such as a German or German woman, and discuss with them the topic which will be interesting for both of you (for instance, culture, traditions or daily problems for Germans).
Many of us started this way. You can also write daily agenda notes in German and talk about your thoughts and actions in German. Surround yourself with the language as much as possible, as this is key to success in learning!
You should start accumulating vocabulary as soon as you start working with the textbook or your first comics in German. There will be a lot of vocabulary, some of which will be easy to remember and some of which will be very difficult. It is better to add these words in your personal dictionary and memorize them. Try at first to master the most common vocabulary such as “lernen” – learn, “deutsch” – German. Then compose simple sentences such as, “Ich lerne Deutsch online” – I am learning German online. And with such small steps, you will overcome the language barrier that many beginners have.
When learning a language, it is vitally important for you to speak it. Finding a companion is now very easy and fast; again, there are applications such as “Tandem” or “Hello Talk”. If you manage to find a companion there, try to take him to any messenger app for daily and more convenient communication. We may be repeating ourselves, but we want to draw your attention to the fact that nowadays it is much easier to learn a foreign language like German than 20 years ago. The most important thing – it is the desire, and the rest, as they say, will stick. Take advantage of the ability to use Internet resources and regularly use them. The main thing, friends, is discipline. While a German tutor is a good thing, you can do it without him, especially if you are determined and strong to speak! And that is to speak German, because that’s why many people start. The main purpose is to be able to explain what you need in a specific situation, especially for late immigrants who need the language like air to adapt to the new place.
It is important to learn the basics, and all the “tricks” will come later! We’d also like to add that listening to music helped many people VERY much. When you are passionate about the language, and you like the way it sounds, and you just like the song, then the memorization of the words (and sometimes some simple grammar) is in a replay! So to speak, you combine business with pleasure!
And remember, don’t forget to use helpful, practical materials and the right web services to learn a foreign language. In our modern age, this is absolutely necessary.
We here in Langavia designed a special guide for successful learning of any foreign language (including German, of course).
Click “get it now” to read and apply all the best practices in studying languages which will definitely help you to succeed in this area.