Study with your GermanMind teacher wherever you are and bring a piece of Germany home.
How long does it take to learn German? What tricks can help you learn German and why does a language study trip make sense?
1. Create a learning plan and set goals
You don't just learn German in passing. Therefore, you should get an overview at the beginning and divide the learning material into small sections. Make a list of topics to work on and decide when you want to start. Try to remain realistic and not make too many demands of yourself. A study plan also serves as a kind of performance review and helps you manage the time you have available better. It is important to think about why you want to learn German in the first place. Write down your goals and motivation on a piece of paper. Whenever you don't feel like learning, you can always take a look at it.
2. Study regularly to improve your German
Who hasn't experienced this: Some days you just don't feel like studying. On others, you sit for hours in front of vocabulary and grammar. But it is important to study regularly. It's better to do shorter study sessions more often and try to concentrate only on your material. On the website www.germanmind-method.ie you can click through German explanations and online exercises (for free!).
3. Eliminate all possible distractions while learning German
Finally you have prepared all your learning tools and want to start learning German. But then your smartphone starts ringing again. Your best friend wants to know what happened at school today. Of course, you have to answer that first and learning is postponed. So don't let it get that far! Turn off your cell phone before studying and let your friends know that you won't be available for another hour. Eliminate all distractions that keep you from studying. Even if it's hard at first, you'll soon notice that a lot more of it sticks.
4. Always learn German nouns with their articles
You've probably noticed that articles are very important in German. Therefore, you should always learn them at the same time you learn vocabulary. So it's not just "Hund", but "der Hund". If you learn the words with their articles right from the beginning, you will be spared many problems later. By the way, it is recommended to learn the plural form at the same time. Then it is called "der Hund" and "die Hunde". Have a look at our Grammar lesson about German articles here.
5. Create practical learning aids for learning German
First, write vocabulary or important phrases on a piece of paper. You can use a Post-it or a large sheet. Then you distribute these notes in your apartment. Preferably in places where you often spend time. For example, next to the coffee machine, above the stove or on the bathroom mirror. Whenever you are in one of these places, you will automatically glance at the vocabulary you want to learn. You will be surprised how well this works!
6. Build mnemonic bridges and trick your brain with them
Often there are vocabulary words, rules or phrases that just won't stick in your head. No matter how many times you try to memorize them, you can't remember them the next day. Learning is easier with mnemonic devices. They are nothing more than simple mnemonic sentences or small linguistic detours that help us to remember what we have learned. You can also make up little stories about particularly difficult words that lead you to the word.
7. Use a highlighter and highlight important points
Highlighting important passages in learning texts is quite useful. This makes you aware of what is important and improves your memory. Repeating what you have already learned will be much easier - this also increases the fun factor. Who is not happy about faster learning effects? But be careful, because: Less is more! If you paint the entire German text, that's it for the faster learning effect.
8. Give your brain a breather, too
After an intensive learning session of 40 - 50 minutes, it is advisable to put everything aside and recharge your batteries. Don't think of a break as "lost" time, because what you've learned so far needs to be processed before your brain can be flooded with new information. Go outside for a few minutes of fresh air or open the window! This will supply your brain with oxygen and you will be able to concentrate better. Important: Don't forget to drink while you are studying.
9. Watch movies & series in German
Learn while watching TV at the same time? Yes, it works! In the age of DVDs and video-on-demand providers, movies and series can be used as a varied learning method. First check in which language they are available and then watch your favourite series in German. Set the subtitles in your native language. This way, the vocabulary moves into your memory - without you having to make any extraordinary effort. The best part is that you'll practice your listening comprehension and even your pronunciation, and get a feel for the foreign language.
10. Listen to German radio and learn from songs
Sure, you need textbooks and intensive grammar units, but to train your listening comprehension you don't have to sit at your desk all the time. It's important for your listening skills that you become familiar with the sound and pronunciation of the German language. Whether you're cooking, on your way to college, or playing sports, turn on the radio and get your ears used to the German language. If you can't find a German station on your radio program, use Internet radio. You'll find stations in just about every language. Most of them are even broadcast live and are free of charge. In the future, when you hear a German song that you like and are curious about, pay attention to what you already understand or what the song is about. Translate vocabulary or phrases you don't know and try to make connections. Over time, you will understand more and more of the songs or radio messages and thus understand more about the country and culture.
11. Exchange with people who speak German
Do you have someone in your family or circle of friends who speaks German as their native language? Then arrange meetings or start a pen pal relationship. If not, then take advantage of social networks. There you will surely find some groups or forums that deal with German as a foreign language. You might find other great opportunities to improve your German skills. What you can do is join these groups and become an active user. Ask questions or get helpful tips. The purpose of these groups is to exchange information and help each other if you don't have a solution.
12. Do not be afraid of making mistakes
When learning a language like German, it hardly helps to only learn theories by heart. You have to speak the language, and mistakes happen. When you were a child, you had to learn how to speak, and you often mixed up letters or gave terms a completely new name. People from other countries are happy about your interest in their language and will gladly forgive you for small language mistakes. The important thing is that you are willing to learn from mistakes - and next time you will know better.
13. Reward yourself after a German learning unit
Finished another chapter? Very good! Treat yourself with a piece of chocolate, a cup of tea, or a well-deserved nap on the couch. You're allowed to be happy about your accomplishment! This will link learning to something positive in your subconscious, and you'll be better able to motivate yourself to study in the future.
14. Make learning German easier with sketches and notes
Each of us has a different learning pattern and strategy for how we approach learning a language. However, it can often help to visualize things. Draw words or contexts and make notes on points that seem unclear to you. Feel free to work with different colours or index cards. This will stimulate your imagination and draw your attention to what is important. Visualizations make complex statements quicker and easier to grasp. They also give you a better overview.
15. Go on a language trip to Germany and learn from the locals
The best and most effective way to learn a language is to travel to a country where it is spoken as a native language. There you will be surrounded by the language all day long and experience it in its cultural context. Germany is ideal for this, not only because of its central location in Europe and the fact that High German is spoken here, but also because of its high quality of life and its diverse cultural and leisure activities. The great thing about a language study trip is that you are constantly interacting with people and thus get to know completely different cultures. It's a great opportunity to get to know yourself a little better, to learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses and to get involved in a different environment. And who knows, maybe it will open up completely new paths....
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