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Study tips

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Create your own dictionary.

When you learn a new noun relevant to your life, write it down in a small notebook divided into sections for nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and phrases.

Use flashcards.

On one side, write the German word (without gender); on the other side, write the abbreviation of the gender (M = masculine, F = feminine, and N = neuter) and the translation (if necessary; avoid if possible).

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Colour coding for German genders.

Choose three contrasting colours for the masculine, feminine, and neuter. I use red, blue, and green. Write new nouns in your dictionary in the colour of the gender of the noun. For example, write "der Hund" in blue, "die Katze" in red, and "das Pferd" in green.

Alternatively, you can write words in the colour of the examples above and put the translation, or better, a picture, on the back.

For each noun group, memorise a small selection of words.

Example: imagine BLUE mountains while reciting some mountain names (which are masculine): e.g. der Himalaja, der Taunus, der Mount Everest.

Example: imagine RED numbers while reciting numbers (which are feminine): e.g. die Eins, die Zwei, die Drei.

Example: imagine GREEN letters as you recite the letters of the alphabet (which are neutral): e.g. das A, das B, das C.

To make this a useful visualisation exercise, you do not have to memorise the actual vocabulary. Just picture the different noun groups, e.g. rivers, hotels, transportation and see these items in the appropriate gender colour. For example, imagine walking down a street and seeing hotels, cafes, restaurants, and movie theatres that are all green because that noun group is neuter.

Memorise single-word examples of noun forms.

For each suffix or other noun form, memorise a word (that is useful to you or easier to recall for some other reason) that stands for that noun form. Then, when you come across another word with the same form, it is easier to know which gender to associate with it.

Think in pictures!

Several examples have already been given of why you should work with pictures and colours as much as possible.

Not only do colours stick better in your memory, but if you can train yourself to think in pictures instead of translating, you are well on your way to true fluency. E.g., associate the new German noun with a picture of the person/object in your head.

Example: When you learn "the table," you see a BLUE table in your head. Also, when you learn an abstract noun like "freedom", you can think in pictures - imagine you have been freed from prison. You are standing outside the gates (all in RED, of course), raising your arms in victory and shouting freedom!

If you think in pictures - a still image or a short movie clip - you can connect the German word directly to the concept and bypass the English altogether. By training yourself in this way, you develop a "German brain" that you can switch from your "English brain" as quickly as turning a lamp on or off.

 

As your language skills become more advanced, you will not be slowed down by tedious translating in your head before you can produce the German you want. Trust me on this point!

Learning a new language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Here are some study tips to help you learn German:

  1. Start with the basics: Begin with the fundamentals of German grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Practise listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises to build a strong foundation.

  2. Set achievable goals: Set specific and achievable goals for yourself, such as learning a certain number of vocabulary words or mastering a particular grammar concept. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress.

  3. Immerse yourself in the language: Surround yourself with German language resources, such as books, podcasts, movies, and music. Listen to German music, watch German TV shows, and read German books to get familiar with the language and immerse yourself in the culture.

  4. Practise regularly: Practise the language every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Consistency is key when it comes to language learning. Use language learning apps, websites, or language exchange programs to practise speaking with native speakers.

  5. Learn from your mistakes: Don't be afraid to make mistakes when speaking or writing in German. Learning from your mistakes is an essential part of the learning process.

  6. Get a language learning partner: Find a study partner who is also learning German or a native German speaker. Practising with someone else will help you improve your speaking and listening skills.

Remember, learning a new language takes time and effort, but with consistent practice and dedication, you can become fluent in German.

avoid these study mistakes when learning german

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Learning a new language can be a challenging task, and making mistakes is a part of the process. However, here are some common study mistakes that you should avoid when learning German:

  1. Not practising regularly: Consistency is crucial when it comes to language learning. Practising regularly, even for a short period, is much more effective than studying for long hours sporadically.

  2. Not focusing on the fundamentals: Grammar and vocabulary are the foundation of language learning. Ignoring them can lead to confusion and frustration later on. Make sure to devote enough time to understanding the basics.

  3. Not listening to German: Listening to German is an essential part of learning the language. Avoid relying solely on textbooks and grammar exercises. Listen to German music, podcasts, and news to get familiar with the language's pronunciation and intonation.

  4. Not making mistakes: Making mistakes is a natural part of learning any new skill, and language learning is no exception. Don't be afraid to make mistakes when speaking or writing in German. It's through mistakes that you learn and improve.

  5. Not asking for help: Don't hesitate to ask for help when you're struggling with a particular concept or vocabulary. It's always better to ask for clarification than to remain confused and waste time.

  6. Not practising speaking: Speaking is one of the most challenging aspects of language learning, and many learners tend to avoid it. However, speaking regularly is crucial to becoming fluent in German.

  7. Not immersing oneself in the language: Immersing oneself in the language can help learners pick up the language faster. Watching German movies, TV shows, and reading books in German can help improve comprehension and speaking skills.

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