Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst. This classic German proverb—which, translated into English means “Starting is easy, persistence is an art”— is the perfect description of language learning for beginners.
German for beginners can be difficult. Only practicing during your scheduled lesson time simply isn’t enough. You need to find ways to incorporate regular practice into your everyday life. After all, gaining a deep understanding of the German language takes time, practice, and persistence.
Below are our favorite study tips that you can use in between your normal German lessons:
1. Label Your Surroundings
Start out by practicing simple German vocabulary words. Take a look around your home and label common household items. All you need is a stack of index cards, a marker, and a few minutes to create the labels. Suddenly, everywhere you look you’ll see German words. For example, Tabelle (table), Bett (bed), and Treppe (staircase), are just a few of the many labels you can add around your home.
2. Set SMART Goals
The amount of information required to learn a language may feel overwhelming. Instead of focusing on too many things at once, set SMART goals (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Perhaps you could commit to learning 10 new vocabulary words per week or reading one chapter in a beginner German book every week.
3. Talk it Out
Research has proven that students who are learning a new language acquire receptive abilities (reading and listening) earlier than expressive abilities (writing and speaking). A great way to boost your expressive German language skills is to speak and write in German as often as you can. Commit to speaking in German a certain number of times each day. Even if there is no one around, you can talk to yourself!
4. Put Your Family to Work
Learning a new language is always more fun when your family and friends are involved. Put your family or friends to work and ask them to aid in your studying. Flashcards, labeling, translation, and conversation are all better with help. Ask your family to participate in a “German-only” night at home, or ask a friend to attend a German film or museum with you.
5. Get Real
Studying German is a great way to learn the language, but the best way to become fluent is to practice the language in real life situations. You might want to consider joining a German Language Meetup group in your area. These groups often come together to speak German, swap study tips, and attend cultural events—all of which will help you practice.
Learning a new language opens up a multitude of opportunities and even helps students better understand the world around them. German for beginners, however, can be hard. So make sure that you’re practicing outside of lessons.
Photo by Jason