German is the native language of about 130 million people around the world and is one of the most popular second languages to learn.
But how do you go about learning it, and doing it effectively? Well, we’ve got a couple of ideas that, we hope, you will find useful. We will share with you what can help with speaking German fluently. Without any further ado, let’s dive in!
Find German tutors online
One of the best ways to get your German language going is by finding a tutor to learn it with. There are many online German tutors on LiveXP. You can see all the necessary info: their qualifications, their experience, and even get a glimpse of their personality through intro videos.
But bear in mind one thing. Many people are eager to learn with native speakers, as if being a native speaker automatically makes one a great tutor. It doesn’t. If it a native speaker that you want, make sure they have some teaching training and know about language acquisition. They must have some sort of certificate to prove they are qualified to teach others.
And generally, it is not a bad idea at all. But you must be prepared for learning with a native speaker. It all comes down to your current proficiency level, really.
If you are only starting to learn German or haven’t learned it for too long, you’ll likely be better off with a tutor who also speaks your native tongue. You’ll appreciate in moments when you don’t understand a particularly complicated rule or phrase, or word. This is especially important for those at the start of the language-learning journey.
Otherwise you run the risk of getting stuck with someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. They might not even be able to explain why they are saying what they are saying, what grammar is behind it. And then you will waste your time and money on someone who brought you no closer to where you want to be language-wise.
What’s worse, after such an experience, you may start thinking that all this learning is not worth it. With time, you may even start to believe that you are not smart enough. And this is something you should never ever think.
To avoid this sad scenario, be clever about tutors you choose. It will save you a lot of stress, disappointment, and self-doubt.
Another important thing: make sure you feel comfortable with your tutor. If you are nervous around them even after the first 5 lessons, chances are something is off. Such lessons will not bring you joy. What they will likely bring you is stress and anxiety. You won’t like it. And what do people do with something they don’t like? They stop doing it.
Do you want to stop learning German? Most likely, not. So don’t let it happen to you.
Surround yourself with German
Learning with German tutors online is a wonderful idea. But can you do anything else that will boost your German skills? Why, of course! You can surround yourself with the language as much as possible. Not everyone can move to Germany or Austria, or Switzerland, but, luckily, it is not compulsory.
For one thing, you can start googling in German. It may seems like a small step, but actually it’s helpful for getting into the habit of doing things in German. If you feel like you don’t understand much in German yet, repeat your search query in your first language.
You can also switch your devices and most often-used apps to German. Better start with the apps you already know well. On the one hand, you will still be able to use them confidently and will get your tasks done. On the other hand, you will be noticing the German words for all the stuff you’re used to.
When you go to the higher levels of German, you can try moving on to watching German movies and TV shows, and reading German books and articles. By the way, it doesn’t necessarily have to be content created in the German language. You can read books in German translation, for example.
If this sounds like a little too much for you right now, you can benefit from subtitles. They will help you understand more, and mentally it may be easier for you to know that there is always something to lean on if you feel lost in all that German.
Start with the movies and shows that you have seen before, maybe even more than once. The point is to watch something you know well at first. This way, you will be able to follow the plot and focus on the language itself.
Whether you’re still hesitant or shy, you try one more thing. You can go about your day normally but listen to German films or shows, or podcasts playing in the background. You don’t even have to focus on listening to it and understanding everything. The idea is to train your ears to perceive the native German speech.
Slowly but surely, you will start picking up on certain things, recognizing certain words, and understanding certain phrases. They can be very small and simple at the beginning. But as you progress, you will be able to comprehend more complicated structures and fluent speech.
By immersing yourself in the German language, you’ll be more likely to pick up new words, master their pronunciation, and wield grammar rules. If something remains unclear, you can always google it (in German).
Use language-learning apps
These are very popular nowadays and there is no shortage of them out there. Such apps usually help you memorize new words by repetition at different times in different formats and contexts. There are many different apps, and they can be a great way to broaden your vocabulary.
Try out a few of them and see if they work for you. Most of these word-learning apps are multilingual, so you can choose whatever language you want. A lot of them use gamification to make learning more fun, so you won’t get bored. Plus, they don’t require lots of time. Usually, they feed you content in bite-sized pieces so you have the time to take it all in and process.
You can also use German dictionaries and grammar materials online. They come in handy when you’re stuck on a particular word or phrase, or if you prefer a more academic approach in general. Or if you want to know more about the pronunciation and origin of words. Sometimes, learning some history can help you memorize the word.
Practice again, again, and again
If you want to start speaking German fluently, it is important to, well, speak as much as possible. You can do it with a partner or even on your own.
One great way to do this is to join a German discussion group. These groups meet online or offline, and they give you an opportunity to practice both speaking and listening.
What’s also great about such communities is that if you are not very confident about your German, you will meet people who feel just the way you do. You can support each other and maybe share your concerns. This can also help break the ice.
If you can travel or move to a German-speaking country and stay there for a while, that is wonderful. Do that! You’ll get so much language practice! Don’t be shy to speak to the locals. They always appreciate someone else trying to say something in their native language. If anything, you’re doing it out of respect.
But don’t become dependent in your practice on other people. It’s important to practice speaking German even if there is no one to talk to around. Make the German language part of your life, whether you’re ordering food or asking for directions on the street.
You can even speak to yourself. Before you say this is too crazy, let us tell you it actually isn’t. For instance, you can say out loud all the things you need to do in a day. Or describe what you’re already doing or have done.
You can also record yourself and then listen back. True, most of us don’t like hearing out own voices played back to us. But this practice can help you see what you need to work on. It is equally important, however, to know what aspects of the language you are good at. When you know you’re good at something, this will motivate you to keep going.
Or promise yourself a treat when you complete all the language exercises for the day or remember a new word. Just go easy on those treats 😉
Learning German can be challenging at times, but the results it brings feel so rewarding! Follow our tips and soon you will take your German to the next level. And if you’re looking for more resources to help you, check out German online tutors on LiveXP. You will not be disappointed.