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How to Start Thinking in German

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in German

Going through German lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of German, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in German. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between German and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the German vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in German

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through GermanPod101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with German

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with German constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a German radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of GermanPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then German words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in German.

GermanPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach German.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in German not only gets you in the mindset of German, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With GermanPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native German speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but GermanPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with GermanPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that GermanPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn German With GermanPod101 Today!

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for German Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 German Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

1. Schedule your time.

One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

Click here to get the German Word of the Day for FREE!

3. Make friends!

Make friends!

If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

4. Take a break!

Break time

If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

5. Don’t give up!

As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the German proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in German.

GermanPod101 Goes Mobile! Master German with One Thumb, No Squinting Necessary

Let’s play a game of Would You Rather?

Would you rather have this…
Over 300 German learning CDs (yeah, CDs…remember those?) piled to the ceiling in your bedroom next to stacks upon stacks of expensive, outdated textbooks that teach you dry, humorless German conversation.

…or this?
The same amount of content, shrunken down to fit onto your smartphone or tablet. And all those lessons? They’ve been updated to teach you vocabulary, grammar and culture so that learning German is actually fun!

The answer is clear. You’d rather have the GermanPod101 Mobile!

The biggest German course.
All on your tiny mobile device.

Introducing GermanPod101 Mobile Beta!
Take all of your favorite German lessons and lesson notes on the go, anywhere you have a WiFi or 3G/4G connection, anytime and on any device. That’s hundreds of German lessons from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, available at the touch of a finger. Optimized for any screen, you’ll navigate through our rich collection of lessons and resources easily and intuitively.

No more zooming. No more squinting. This is language learning on-the-go!

Exclusive New Feature for 12-month and 24-month Premium Subscribers!
Whether you’re an iOS or Android user, Beginner or Advanced speaker, you can swipe your way to German fluency as you go from lesson to lesson. Accessed through your device’s browser, once you log in and your 12-month or 24-month Premium membership has been authenticated, you’ll gain access to our entire lesson library including audio, video, lesson notes, line-by-line transcripts and vocabulary with audio.

Loading that many lessons onto your Phone would take up 20GB at least! With GermanPod101 Mobile, you get all the content without giving up all that storage space. Save that extra space for more Instagram photos of your delicious German lunch!

learn German online with GermanPod101 Mobile

Log On to Tune In
Using any WiFi-enabled device, log in at mobile.Germanpod101.com and tap on “Browse” to scroll through all seasons and lessons by difficulty. If you’d like to continue where you’ve left off, tap on “History.”

Most Lessons come with 3 Audio Tracks:

  • Lesson Audio Track – Listen to the complete lesson
  • Lesson Review Track – Review words and phrases from the lesson
  • Dialog Track – Hear just the German-only dialog to make sure you understand it all!
  • Plus, you get Lesson Notes and Supplementary Resources:

  • PDF Lesson Notes – Get the lesson in writing
  • Lesson Transcript – Read and listen to the dialogue again and again
  • Vocabulary List – The words, translations, and pronunciations
  • Expansion – Additional audio related to the grammar
  • GermanPod101 Mobile is currently available to 12-month and 24-month Premium and Premium Plus subscribers only. To access GermanPod101 Mobile as well as the unlimited GermanPod101.com access that comes with Premium and Premium+, click here to subscribe.

    GermanPod101 Mobile Launch Special: Save 20% on any 12-month or 24-month Premium Subscription until November 15th, 2012. Use coupon code MOBILE

    Click here to save 20% on 12-month and 24-month Premium!

    If you have questions or feedback for us, send us a message here.

    New German Resources Corner

    Hi there listener,

    When students start learning German, a ton of questions start popping into their brains like…

    “How’d the German language come to be?”
    “What are the top 100 German words I should know?”
    “What’s the deal with this crazy grammar?”
    “Where’s a good dictionary when you need one?”

    You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

    You’ll find them and a lot more at the newly redesigned German Resources Corner. It covers everything from language origins, the writing system, grammar, and must-know vocabulary down to extras like mobile apps and the dictionary. Best of all, you get access to FREE resources like:

  • About the German Language
  • German Pronunciation
  • Introduction to Grammar
  • German Dictionary
  • 100 Most Common Words
  • …and more!
  • The German Resources Corner is a master list of everything you’ll need to know about German. Jump in, master the basics of reading, writing, and grammar, and reinforce the material you learn from Audio and Video lessons.

    Click Here To Visit The German Resources Section!

    German Soccer

    Soccer is the most important sport in Germany. More than six million members are organized in the German Football Association (DFB). In addition there are about four million people who play soccer in hobby teams on a regular basis.

     

    In 2006 the soccer fever in the country reached a new dimension. The FIFA World Cup put Germany into a state of emergency. Houses and cars were decorated with flags. Even in companies television sets were installed, so that the employees did not miss a match of the national soccer team. Emotional higlights during that period were the fan parties. Thousands of people watched the matches together on huge screens and partied with the visitors from all over the world. The atmosphere was wild and peaceful. Also the weather contributed to the fantastic atmosphere. During the whole tournament there was perfect summer weather.

     

    Hopefully this party will be continued in 2011. Then Germany will host the Women’s Soccer World Cup. Of course the German women will try to defend their actual world champion trophy in their own country.

    Compared to the USA, women’s soccer still plays a minor role in Germany. There is an average of 800 to 1,000 onlookers at league matches. But the situation is slowly changing. Because of the two championship victories in the last World Cups, the regard is constantly increasing. In 2007 more than 20,000 excited people bid their welcome to the successful team in Frankfurt. With a total of eight championship victories at international tournaments, the women soccer team is even more successful than its male counterpart.

    Now you understand the importance of Soccer in German society! Next time you play the sport, you will have these key elements in mind!

    Bier

    The picture of the beer drinking Germans is well used abroad. Indeed the cliche of a nation of beer drinkers is based on real facts. With a consumption of more than 110 liters per head Germany holds the second position in Europe. Only Czech people drink more.
    But not only the consumption of beer in Germany is high, but also is the assortment of different kinds. Estimations say there are more than 5000 different beers.


    Of course you won’t find all of them on the shelves in the supermarkets. Many beers come from small breweries which sell their products regional or direct to the customers. Nevertheless there is an impressive assortment in a German drinks cash-and-carry. In addition to regional and national kinds of beer you will find many international ones. Popular brands are for example Miller and Heineken. With this huge number of beers it is not easy to keep track of all of them.


    The most important national kinds are pilsner, wheat beer, lager, dark beer and bock beer. In addition there are regional beers like “Alt” from the Niederrhein, “Kölsch” from Cologne and “Berliner Weiße” from Berlin. Some regional kinds of beer have loyal devotees. In the region between the big cities Düsseldorf and Cologne people are friendly arguing on the topic who enjoys the more tastefull beer. People from Düsseldorf swear by their “Alt”, people from Cologne defend their “Kölsch” emphatically. A special position on the beer market is held by the federal state of Bavaria. More than 50 percent of all German breweries are located here. Nearly every hamlet has its own small brewery.

    Ratingen

     Ratingen is located in immediate proximity to Düsseldorf. With more than 90,000 inhabitants the town is middle-sized. People who like being outside in nature, can explore the woods which surround Ratingen. There are many paths for walkers, bikers and people on horseback. Furthermore the recreation parc “Green Lake” and the open air theatre at the “Blue Lake” are popular destinations.The centre of Ratingen is the townplace with its fountain and the surrounding old houses. Three times a week it is market day. 


    Then it is possible to buy meat, cheese and flowers here. Extremely favored are fresh vegetables and fruits, which are mainly grown on farms in the Ratingen’s environment. In combination with “St. Peter and Paul”, the old church, the marketplace is a nice setting for many city festivals. A special experience is a summer evenig at the market place. If the weather is fine, it is barely possible to get a seat in one of the beer gardens. Nearly every chair is occupied, normally until 11 p.m. No wonder – the atmosphere ist fantastic. 
    It is best, when the sinking sun baths the historical buildings at the market place in a golden light. Ratingen is an old town. A settlement of that name was first mentioned in the 9th century. In 1276 the settlement gained its town charter. Shortly after that the construction of the city wall begun. Until today three towers and some other parts of the fortification survive. 


    On a trip to Ratingen you should not miss it. You will get an extremly good impression of the fortification and its construction at the “Big Tower”. In addition to the city wall you can see parts of the city moat there. Ratingen is located between three freeways. There is no place in the city from where one needs more than 15 minutes to reach a freeway entrance ramp. Furthermore the train connections to Essen and Düsseldorf are good and the airport in Düsseldorf can be reached in just a few minutes. Because of its good travel connections and the proximity to Düsseldorf Ratingen’s economically growth is good. Since local business taxes are less high than in other areas many companys from sunrise industries are moving to Ratingen.

    To Live and Work in Germany, You Have to Start Here!

    Every country and culture has their own unique way of defining what is proper behavior when meeting someone new. In Germany, you may have seen that people sometimes hug of exchange kisses on the cheek, like the French do. However, it is a recent trend, as  only young people will get as close as that. As a rule of thumb, most Germans will shake hands while bowing their heads a little, kind of like a nod.

    Another thing to be taken into consideration when greeting someone, is also the rank of the person. The older or higher-ranking person should offer his hand first. If you offer your hand to somebody ranking higher than you, a few will even snub it, but fortunately they are the minority. Of course, a general cultural rule is sometime not followed even by the natives in some cases, and being a foreigner might give you a bit of leeway, but in the case of , especially, a professional work environment, we recommend that you keep in mind the general customs, as first impressions are very important.
    Germans are known to observe the rules (in particular the uneducated may not), please try to observe etiquette when in Germany, as that will definitely help your career in Germany. We are sure that people will take into account your manners and you will be much more appreciated for your courtesy.

    Also, it is quite important you don’t forget to bow your head a little when shaking hands. If If you keeping looking straight ahead,
    people will instinctively perceive you as arrogant. And we sure don’t want you to give the wrong impression!

    Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

    Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

    One of the most important things to learn about a language, aside from introductions, is how to apologize in case you find yourself in the unfortunate situation that you need to do so.
    In the case of German, the most general word of apology is “Entschuldigung“. This literally means “apology“, and
    it’s used in most situations:

    • when you’ve accidentally done something bad
    • when you want somebody’s attention
    • when you want people to make room

    Keep in mind though, that you should not use it when somebody tells some sad news about themselves, because that is not something you
    should apologize for – unless you had any stake in it.

    If you need something stronger than “Entschuldigung”, use “Es tut mir leid“ (literally translates to ‘ it does me
    harm’ ).
    And you can make it even stronger by adding an adverb before the “ - leid”.
    For example,

    Es tut mir wirklich leid. - I’m really sorry.
    Es tut mir sehr leid. - I’m very sorry.

    And what to do in case that a friend is the one that is apologizing to you? In this case, the words used to accept an apology informally are:
    Es ist (schon) okay. - It’s okay (now).
    Kein Problem. - No problem.