It is a good decision is to learn German for several reasons. But what are the next steps: How do you start learning German as a beginner? You may also be asking yourself, "How long will it take me to learn German?".
We have the solution for you: read on to learn 5 simple tips for learning German!
#1: Learn the basic German vocabulary to be able to communicate.
To learn German, you need to start practicing the German language as soon as possible - but how can you do that without knowing any German words? You don't have to learn the whole dictionary by heart to speak German with other people. It's okay if you make mistakes - just start speaking German and you will improve and perfect your German over time! Here are some of the things you should focus on to learn German for beginners:
It may seem like you never use the alphabet, but remember that you need to know the letters in German to be able to tell others how to spell your name, email, or social media contacts - which can easily happen when you make new friends! You also need to understand others when they spell their own contact information for you. In order to be able to speak German as quickly as possible, you should know how the letters are pronounced in German, and also know the specific German letters that don't exist in English, such as. ß (eszett or sharp S) or vowels with umlaut like Ü or Ä.
Now you have your new friend's name and email address, but what about their phone number? Numbers are another essential part of any language, including beginner German. Make sure you know how they're pronounced, and practice them so you can easily understand when people tell you their phone number in German - they often speak quickly without realizing it!
Greetings and phrases to introduce yourself.
Now you can get contact information for every new German friend you make - great! But before you can do that, you need to meet some people first! To do that, it's essential that you know how to introduce yourself in German and how to say hello. There are plenty of helpful videos, podcasts, and websites that will show you how to do this. Go for quality over quantity: there are maybe a dozen different ways to ask "How are you?" in German, but do you really need to know them all? It's better to say two things well than to learn 12 poorly.
#2: Study, learn and remember the basic rules of German grammar.
When you're learning German for beginners, grammar can seem a little scary, but don't worry! There are a few key grammar points you can start with to practice German in real life. If you love traveling, you can check out our article on the best local German courses directly!
Here are a few of them:
Formal or informal?
While English has only one pronoun for addressing - "you" - German has two pronouns. "Sie" is used to show respect to strangers or in formal situations, and "du" is used for people with whom you have a closer relationship. It is important to use the polite form "you" when meeting new German people (especially those older than you) to show them respect and start your relationship off on the right foot.
All nouns have gender-specific articles
If dogs, cats and horses had a gender, what gender do you think they would be? In the German language, a cat is feminine, a horse is neutral, and a dog is masculine! Yes, German nouns have three possible genders, and if you want your beginner language learning journey to be as painless as possible, make sure you have the correct articles for each word from the start. It can be extremely difficult to correct mistakes that have been burned into your memory after a few years of language learning!
Basic word order in a sentence
One thing that may surprise a beginner of German is that German verbs have a relatively fixed position: usually the second element of the sentence. If you have the sentence "I know that", you can also say it in reverse word order, i.e. "I know that". The important thing is that the verb is in the second position of the sentence. Once you become familiar with this principle of the German language, it will be much easier for you to put the words in the correct order to form simple German sentences.