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How Long Does it Take to Learn German?

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What dedicated language learner could pass up an opportunity to spend endless days studying German and all its nuances? Unfortunately, in our society, time is money and the reality of things can be quite different. Most of us just don’t have the time to study languages at our leisure. 

Because time is such a constraint, there’s an important question to ask yourself before beginning to learn this beautiful language: How long does it take to learn German?

Mark Twain said: “A gifted person ought to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years.” But it might not take quite that long!

I’m sure we all instinctively look for the fastest and easiest ways to learn new things. Being efficient with our time allows us to start practicing and using our new skills much sooner, so we can find a better job, travel abroad, or better communicate with a loved one. 

Learning a foreign language is always an amazing and fulfilling process, though often arduous. By learning to understand, speak, and think in a different language, we not only add a new skill to our repertoire but we also change the very way we see and interact with the world.

It’s understandable that you’d like to know for certain how long this marveolus language learning journey will take you, so that you could make plans and form solid expectations. The reality is, however, that there’s no one best way to learn German and there’s no set timetable for it! 

Everyone learns differently, and how long it takes to learn German will depend on many factors. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the factors that will affect your learning and how you can speed it up as much as possible!

Hourglass against a Dark Background
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Experience
  2. Learning Style
  3. Approach
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?
  5. How Our Website Can Help

Experience

One of the most important factors to take into account when considering how fast you can learn a language is your personal experience with languages

The Language(s) You Speak

What’s your native language? And what other languages do you speak? 

Yes, this might actually be a defining element in how quickly you’ll be able to pick up the German language. If you’re a native (or near-native) English speaker, you’re in luck! German and English actually share the same roots and forty percent of German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary!

If you’re a native speaker of a Semitic language like Arabic, on the other hand, it might be a little trickier to learn German—but all the more challenging and rewarding! So, don’t be discouraged. Just be aware that your native English-speaking classmates might have a bit of a headstart…but that doesn’t mean they’ll learn it better than you!

Several Language Learning Textbooks

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

Have you ever learned another language before?

If you already speak a foreign language fluently, or were raised bilingual, it may be easier and quicker for you to learn German. Several studies have now proven that bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language. This is because they already have experience learning and using a second language, and are thus more accustomed to the entire process.

Even if you’re not bilingual, having studied and learned a foreign language at some point in your life will help. Having fluency and skill in one language will help you gain fluency and skill in another, even if the two languages are unrelated! 

Your Previous Grammar Knowledge

One of the first steps in learning a foreign language is finding out how it’s built and how it works. This is usually done by studying its structure and grammar. 

If you already have some experience studying grammar and syntax, even in your native language, it will be much easier for you to study the grammar and syntax of a foreign language. 

So, if you plan to start learning German (or another language!), it’s a good idea to have some grammar foundations to build on!

An Asian Woman Studying German

Learning Style

The way you learn and study is another essential aspect that may affect how long it will take you to become fluent in German. 

Your Methods

If you limit your learning to a classroom setting, even if you show up every day, it will probably take you a little longer to learn and feel confident using your language skills. Try to expose yourself to German outside the classroom (or online lesson) and you’ll cut down the time it takes you to learn it! 

Try reading German newspapers, watching films and series in German, and even listening to German podcasts while you drive or cook. Of course, finding a language partner to practice conversing with will also go a long way toward making you fluent faster! 

Your Time

There’s another aspect we haven’t mentioned yet, but it’s the most important of all when asking yourself how long it takes to learn German: The time you dedicate to it!

If you want to learn fast, try to dedicate as much time to learning as you can. 

Daily practice is ideal, and research has actually proven that learners who dedicate an hour a day to language learning—whether studying grammar, memorizing new words, watching a film, or reading a book—learn significantly faster than those who just attend weekly classes. 

And of course, if it’s an option for you, full immersion is best. If you can travel to Germany and live there for a while, that will make a big difference!

A Christmas Market in Germany

Approach

This is quite possibly the game-changer that will determine how fast you learn German. It can really make a massive difference!  

Your Motivation

It really is no secret that staying motivated is essential for learning a foreign language. Why do you want to learn German?

Have this clear in your mind and set weekly (or even daily) goals for maximum efficiency. This will help you stay motivated and interested in learning, and you can remind yourself every day why you’re learning this beautiful language. 

Your Attitude

Keeping your motivation up will make you feel like you’re learning more efficiently, and it will help you maintain a positive attitude during your language learning journey! 

It’s key to see learning as a fun and interesting activity that you’re choosing to do, and not a chore that you’re forced to do.

A Man Expressing Victory

Remember that learning a new language will open your mind and your horizons, and it will give you a great set of skills you can use in your day-to-day life. 

When you think this way, you’ll feel like learning something new every day and the process will be more enjoyable and much faster! 

How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?

So, let’s get to the point. Even though it’s hard to say for sure, we’ve tried to make an estimate of how long it might take you to reach a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level of German. 

Beginner

A beginner speaker of a language will be able to introduce themselves, understand slow and simple spoken language, and ask basic questions (probably making some mistakes along the way!). 

This level is probably enough if you just want…

  • …to be able to greet people. 
  • …to order a meal at the restaurant
  • …to understand when someone talks to you slowly and carefully. 
  • …some basic reading skills. 

You’ll be able to do all these things after about 180-200 hours (level A2) of German classes. This means that if you’re motivated and willing to put in 10-15 hours a week, you can travel to Germany without any worries in just over three months! 

So get studying now, and you’ll soon be having some basic conversations with native speakers!

Intermediate

If you reach an intermediate level, you’ll be able to understand everyday conversation (if spoken clearly), even if you have to ask some questions here and there to keep up. This level will also allow you to… 

  • …watch videos and read the news without major problems understanding the main points. 
  • ask for and follow directions
  • …have basic interactions with locals about familiar subjects. 

We estimate that to achieve an intermediate level in German, you’ll need around 350 hours of study. This means that, if you dedicate around 15 hours a week to practicing your German, you’ll be able to reach this level in just six months! 

Advanced

If you want to achieve fluency, this is what you’re aiming for: advanced language skills. With this level, you’ll basically be able to… 

  • navigate any kind of situation that may arise in your daily life or while traveling.
  • …have in-depth conversations with native speakers. 
  • watch movies without subtitles.
  • …read books in German with no problem.

You’ll be fluent! (Even if there will always be something more to learn about this intricate and beautifully complex language…)

A Woman Studying Late at Night

So, how long do you need to learn German if you want to reach this level of fluency? 

According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), you’ll need about 750 hours of study to become fluent in German. This means that if you study 12-15 hours a week, you’ll be able to speak like a pro in just a year! 

If this seems like a long time, take into account that harder languages like Japanese or Arabic may take up to 2200 hours, three times longer than German!

How Our Website Can Help

What are you waiting for? The right time to start learning a new language is now! 

The sooner you start learning, the faster you’ll achieve your language objectives and start speaking German. 

As you consider your options (and the world’s ongoing pandemic), you might wonder how to learn German online. GermanPod101 is a great place to start! 

To keep you motivated and interested (and to make your language learning adventure easy to navigate), we offer all kinds of language learning content on GermanPod101.com. Here you’ll find lessons for all levels, as well as vocabulary lists, dictionaries, and blog posts. 

Above all, how long it takes to learn German just depends on how much time you’re willing to invest. Our courses and resources are specifically designed to give you all the right tools to learn German as quickly and easily as possible, so that your precious time is well-spent!

Whether you’re a beginner who wants a full immersion experience or an advanced speaker who just needs to refine your skills, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if this article helped you! Do you feel ready to tackle the challenge of learning German? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Have Fun Learning With These 10 German YouTube Channels

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The best way to learn German is by letting go and allowing your subconscious to do all the work. 

That might sound a bit too sci-fi for you, but it’s kind of true. 

Think about how German teens nowadays learn English—they sleep through English class in school, then come home and stay up late watching Minecraft videos in English on YouTube. 

Then the world praises Germany for being a multilingual country—but you can do it, too! All you need is a good recommendation. 

In this article, you’ll find ten different German YouTube channels covering a wide range of interests. At the same time, you’ll also see the Internet’s best free German educational resources to help give you a leg up when you’re not quite ready for late-night Minecraft binges.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. How to Learn a Language with YouTube
  2. The 10 Best German YouTube Channels
  3. Conclusion

1. How to Learn a Language with YouTube

A Woman Listening to a Video and Thinking

Just like we said in the intro, you just have to sit back and relax—for about three to five years.

German teenagers have that kind of time, but what about you? You almost definitely want results faster. And you’ll get them!

The secret is to balance a good course that keeps you actively learning new words and grammar with enriching content made by German speakers for other German speakers. 

As you learn more and more nuggets of grammar or vocabulary from your courses, you’ll see those same units pop up again and again in the “authentic” content, and they’ll stick in your mind far more than they would have otherwise.

Slowly but surely, the language will come to you. Here are the best German YouTube channels to keep it coming.


2. The 10 Best German YouTube Channels

1. Kurzgesagt

Category: News/Interest 
Level: Intermediate

Kurzgesagt is known worldwide for its beautiful animation videos in English—it’s the purple one with all the birds. However, kurz gesagt is actually a German phrase meaning “in a nutshell,” and the original YouTube channel was in fact in German. There’s not as much content in the German YouTube videos, and the channel doesn’t have quite as many subscribers, but it makes up for this in its usefulness for learners. 

First of all, the narration is absolutely gorgeous. The narrator has a great deep voice, and it’s soothing to listen to even if you don’t understand what he’s saying at first.

All the videos have captions in German so that you can follow along as you watch and listen. Really getting to know this style of speaking is perfect if you end up taking a standardized German exam, where you’ll have to speak persuasively about the pros and cons of a certain process.

2. Hallo Deutschschule

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLrCFqC2cks

Category: Educational
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Hallo is one of the more popular German learning YouTube channels, based out of Switzerland. The hook? It focuses rather uniquely on dialogues. 

Most people releasing German content for free don’t have the time or the talent to record lengthy dialogues and sync them up to animations, but that’s exactly what you can expect with Hallo Deutschschule

Interestingly enough, every single video available has subtitles in several different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. If you know someone who speaks one of these languages and is learning German, send these videos their way! The dialogue-based format means that learners can memorize a back-and-forth exchange at a slow pace and naturally acquire new vocabulary in an easy way.

3. Galileo

Category: Documentary 
Level: Advanced

Galileo has a reputation among Germans for being the network unafraid to take risks. They have a lot of fascinating documentaries about life in “hidden corners” of the globe, including prisons, factories, and shantytowns. If you’re into different world cultures or even lifehacks, you’ll definitely find something interesting to watch on Galileo.

One neat thing about their programs is that they usually begin with a presenter who gives a short summary of the segment. This lets you sort of warm up for what the topic is going to be. As your level improves, you’ll get used to some of the recurring hosts as well. 

Lastly, Galileo shows how Germans still enjoy dubbing, even while being famous for speaking English well. Every time the hosts speak another language, it’s dubbed over in German, giving you excellent immersion.

4. Get Germanized

Category: Culture and Language
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Domenic, the fellow behind this wildly popular German YouTube series, has made quite a name for himself thanks to his highly energetic personality. 

Once you see the intro a couple of times, it’ll be stuck in your brain forever. He’s got more than eleven hundred videos at the time of this writing, each one breaking down the language in a clever way. 

One of his most popular videos is a 90-minute full German course that lays a decent foundation for future reference—and he’s also known for longer videos (in mostly English) where he explains interesting points about German culture and throws in the odd German word. 

That’s great for someone not quite sure if they want to commit to learning German, but still want to pick up a few phrases here and there.

5. 24h Deutsch

Category: Educational
Level: Intermediate

Ida, your friendly host from 24h Deutsch, guides you through some fascinating points of Intermediate German in her YouTube series. Once you get to the intermediate level, you might feel that there’s so much to learn and so many little details to keep track of, but a good study resource like this will keep you right on track. 

Through a series of short skits and vlog-style videos, Ida explains things about German culture like the odd-seeming store hours mandated by German law. 

Most of her videos unfortunately don’t have subtitles, but she speaks relatively slowly and clearly. Ida is supported by the Goethe-Institut, so her videos have a great standard of production and they’ll keep you coming back to follow the story!

6. maiLab

Category: Science 
Level: Intermediate-Advanced

We’ll start off with the bad news: This German YouTube science channel is sadly on hold at the time of this writing. However, the good news is that it was excellent, and really one-of-a-kind when it came to exploring scientific topics in German. MaiLab was sort of like Kurzgesagt (they collaborated a couple of times) in that it explained difficult concepts about the natural world in a simple way. 

That’s exactly the kind of language that you’ll need for any academic German exam, and so watching Mai’s videos a couple of times will really lock in the advanced vocabulary and speech patterns expected on that kind of test. 

Plus, quite a few of her videos have captions in German for you to copy and paste somewhere else for later study!

7. LanguageSheep

Category: Educational  
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

The first time you hear the name LanguageSheep, you might think it’s a silly little channel for kids. However, take a look at the individual videos and you’ll see a fairly rigorous set of explanations of pronunciation points and grammar difficulties that foreign learners might have.

Particularly interesting here are the segments where a native speaker describes a picture. You’ll need this skill for taking some of the beginner or intermediate standardized German exams such as the A2 or B1 levels, and there are surprisingly few resources that give you examples like these.

8. Gronkh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFFZI8n-aVU

Category: Gaming
Level: Advanced

Gronkh is the name in the German gaming vlogger community. This is because he doesn’t seem to have any time to do anything except for gaming and editing his videos! He puts out content on a stunningly frequent basis, all with hilarious and thoughtful commentary.

For example, take a look at this video where he plays a remastered version of Skyrim, the 2011 open-world RPG in the Elder Scrolls series. 

You’ll get to hear the German voice dubbing for the game, as well as Gronkh’s commentary. Plus, it runs over 56 hours at the time of this writing, comparable to some TV series—and that’s just one game! He doesn’t add subtitles to his own videos, but you can see captions for some of the in-game audio, and his microphone is good enough to get a good transcription from the automatic YouTube captions.

    → If watching German YouTube gamers sounds like your thing, see our vocabulary list on Talking About Video Games to learn some vocabulary beforehand.

9. Die Merkhilfe

Category: Educational 
Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Getting good at German from hours of video games is possible in theory, but native Germans don’t just spend all of their time on games. The videos on this channel are made for native German students who need help with their ordinary school subjects, explaining what typical high school students need to know. 

These videos fit in the same sort of vein as those from maiLab and Kurzgesagt, but also include a lot of advice about how to write well in German, as well as explanations of concepts in the humanities (such as philosophy). The language used is never overcomplicated, but the subjects certainly might count as “advanced” if you find yourself watching a video about Wittgenstein!

    → GermanPod101.com has a vocabulary list all about School Subjects that you may want to study before watching.

10. GermanPod101 YouTube Channel

Category: Educational
Level: All levels

And here we are: practically the motherlode of German learning content on YouTube. Your schedule might not allow for detailed reading of the GermanPod101 website articles, and you might not yet have found a good time to listen to the GermanPod101 podcast. But surely you can set aside some time for the GermanPod101 YouTube channel. 

Aside from the expected grammar breakdowns and vocabulary lists, there are dozens of hours of listening practice videos where you can hear real-life German situations acted out slowly and clearly with an accompanying animation so that you can follow along. 

3. Conclusion

The best way to learn German through YouTube is to follow a balanced diet. You want to have something guiding you along, and something natural to keep as a goal.

It’s totally fine to watch German videos that you don’t yet understand—in fact, that’s a good idea since you’ll be constantly picking out the few words that you did get and looking for more. 

By studying with GermanPod101, you’ll notice those moments happening more and more frequently. Soon, German will seem like a total piece of cake, thanks to all the features available on the GermanPod101 website (like flashcards and grammar explanations). 

Once that happens, it won’t matter if YouTube recommends videos in German to you. It’ll all be fascinating just the same. 

Which of these German YouTube channels are you most interested in watching? Are there any good ones we didn’t include? Let us, and your fellow learners, know in the comments!

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Is German Hard to Learn? Yes – But in a Good Way.

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You might be one of those folks who wishes they knew German.

But wanting to know German is different from learning German or wanting to learn German. The people who just long for the day when they know German are usually the ones asking “Is German hard to learn?”

But here’s the thing. Every language out there is hard in one way or another, even the ones that are close to your native language. Whether the difficulty comes at the beginning of the journey or in the middle, you’re never going to get off easy.

The challenge is the fun of it! And besides, do you really have that much to worry about when it comes to learning German? 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning German Table of Contents
  1. Is it Hard to Learn German?
  2. The Hardest Parts of German
  3. The Easiest Parts of German
  4. Where Should You Start Learning German?
  5. Advice to a New Learner
  6. The Advantages of GermanPod101
  7. Conclusion

1. Is it Hard to Learn German?

Traditional German Tree Image

German has this bad reputation of being difficult. Centuries of students from all around the world have been stuck translating German back and forth from their native languages, usually long and dreadfully boring passages made up to illustrate some grammar rule or another. Hemingway himself studied German and wrote his experiences down in an essay, where he talked about the struggles that English-speakers face when learning this difficult language.

But what makes German so hard to learn?

The only reason that German seems so difficult to people is that it has grammar rules that other languages don’t.

German is a language with relatively high “inflection,” meaning that the words in a sentence change based on their grammatical roles. For example, you have to add different endings to the adjectives and the articles in order to show which part of the sentence is the subject and which is the object.

Like English, German also has a lot of set phrases and verbs that go with specific prepositions. Adding a different preposition or prefix to a verb can change the meaning completely. Just like how, in English, a business can “go under” if the rent prices “go up.”

There’s also the question of pronunciation. After a handful of spelling reforms, German is spoken much like it’s written, but there are some consonants and vowels that don’t exist in English. It’s especially tricky because some of them are almost like their English counterparts, but just different enough to cause confusion.

These factors definitely make it sound like German is a tough nut to crack. Don’t worry, though—with every difficult feature comes an easy one to balance things out. 

2. The Hardest Parts of German

A Kid Stressed about His Homework

Let’s go into a bit more detail on the things that scare people the most. 

Look up any information about why the German language is hard to learn, and the number-one answer is “the cases.” Those are the word changes we alluded to earlier. 

Interestingly enough, German is one of very few European languages in which the article is affected by the grammatical role instead of the noun. Look at any of the Slavic languages or Latin, for instance, and you’ll see that the noun itself has to change!

German has four cases: the nominative (subject of the sentence), accusative (direct object), dative (indirect object), and genitive (possession). Nominative is the “basic” case with the dictionary form of the word, so you can strike that one off your list of things to worry about right away.

The genitive is slowly being phased out, except in formal language and in set phrases, so you only really need to recognize it until you’re an intermediate learner. That leaves just two cases you have to choose from, and honestly, it becomes second nature to think in that sort of “framework” after enough practice. 

3. The Easiest Parts of German

Oktoberfest Decorations

It’s definitely not all doom and gloom here. German is related to English, and that means there are some delightfully easy things about it.

First of all, the verb system. Anybody who’s ever studied a Romance language (like Spanish) or a Slavic language (like Russian) knows that the verbal system in other languages can be very complex. 

In German, the tenses of verbs are made with helping words, like in English. English doesn’t really have a future tense—we just say “I will do.” German doesn’t either: ich werde tun. And although the word order changes around a bit, this holds true even for rarer and “more complicated” tenses.

  • Es wird getan sein.
    “It will be done.”

Also, there are quite a few words in German that are easy to guess the meaning of. English and German    share an ancestor language, so a lot of the basic, core vocabulary comes from the same root. 

Once you hear that Das Buch means “the book” and Das Schwert means “the sword,” these words are super-easy to remember when you see them again. You’ll even unconsciously pick up on the sound changes that connect German and English roots.

And even better, there’s now a second wave of common vocabulary: words loaned from modern English into German! Das Management and Der Computer are just two examples. They mostly come in the form of tech or business words.

4. Where Should You Start Learning German?

Someone Turning Up the Volume

The best way to start learning German is to begin with audio.

German pronunciation is a pitfall for a lot of people, because it has subtle vowel changes from English that are hard to pick up on your own. If you start by listening to German instead of reading it, though, you’ll hear the differences early on.

An easy place to start is with GermanPod101 or a YouTube German-learning series where you can see the German transcript of what you’re hearing. That’s a great way to match each word to its correct sound right from the beginning.

After that, you should go through a quick set of pronunciation drills. YouTube is fine for this, too, though you can just follow the instructions in a German textbook. 

This may sound like a lot of work before you really get going, but laying a proper foundation is absolutely crucial to achieving a good command of German later on. 

There are far too many people out there who started speaking before they were ready, and ended up hitting a wall in the intermediate stage where their constant mistakes continue to hold them back.

Avoid that fate—study methodically at first, and then let loose later on! 

5. Advice to a New Learner

A Woman Reading and Writing Late at Night

Now that you know what makes German hard to learn, have you decided it’s not too bad after all? Great! Here’s some advice for new learners:

Since German has a lot of little things that have to be memorized, just embrace it.

Take a two-pronged approach: set aside a bit of time every day to go over the declension charts and review the core grammar rules. You’ll quickly find that this stuff locks itself into your memory pretty easily. Be patient with yourself and slowly write out the charts over and over until they’re second nature.

At the same time, it’s important to work with real native German material right from the start. Again, GermanPod101 and YouTube are treasure troves for this. You can find interesting content, slow it down, read the transcripts, and break it down into chunks you can understand.

Understanding is way more important than being able to speak right away, because everything depends on your ability to know what’s being said to you or what you’re reading.

Your brain will subconsciously pick up the patterns of natural German speech. This means that when you want to actually speak or write, it’ll be easy because you’ll also know the theory of German grammar.


6. The Advantages of GermanPod101

Obviously, the flagship podcast series from GermanPod101 is the main attraction on our website. With hundreds of episodes covering hundreds of topics, there’s always something new to learn. Plus, it’s all broken down with clear explanations and advice for learners.

Also, don’t miss our excellent grammar and pronunciation guides, where each sound and each case is explained by experts so that you can follow along, no matter your current level.

One huge thing you can take advantage of right now is the GermanPod101 YouTube channel, which has a great series of videos designed for listening comprehension from absolute beginner to advanced.

Each of those videos has slow and clear native-speaker audio acting out dozens of realistic situations, such as buying things in shops, talking with friends, and interacting with people at work. Each dialogue gets played twice, once without subtitles and once with subtitles, so you’ll automatically make the connections you need. 


7. Conclusion

Honestly, the best way to find out if the German language is hard or not is to try learning it yourself. Although there are definitely things you’ll have to spend more time on than others, no language is really “more difficult” overall than any other.

With German, you will have the initial handicap of it taking longer to be able to form simple sentences, especially compared to a language like Indonesian, where the words just fall into place.

However, you’ll also have a huge advantage if you know English, because you have a great base of shared vocabulary and cultural knowledge. That advantage only grows if you know French or another Romance language.

When you get to the more advanced levels, you’ll see your vocabulary grow exponentially because you’ll already have learned all the roots you need to create those impressively long German nouns.

The path begins today. Take the right first step by checking out GermanPod101, and see how far you can go!

If you’re learning the language already, which parts of German do you struggle with most? What things are easier for you? Let us, and aspiring German learners, know in the comments!

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Guard Yourself Against These Common German Mistakes

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Make no mistake—people have been complaining about the difficulty of the German language for centuries. Mark Twain did it then, and you’re probably doing it now.

It seems like the harder a language is, the more pressure we put on ourselves to get it exactly right. That’s even more true when the locals tend to speak English quite confidently. 

But as the Europe of today becomes more and more multicultural, the stigma of “perfect German or bust” is slowly falling away. There’s no need to paralyze yourself with doubt concerning common German mistakes or creating the perfect German sentence, because others in your community are probably dealing with language struggles of their own. 

So if you want to improve your German, you can start first with the beginner mistakes in German that make you stand out the most. That’s what we’ve distilled right here for you in this article!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. German Pronunciation Mistakes – The Trickiest German Sounds
  2. Confusing Words
  3. Put That Verb Back Where it Came From
  4. Flex Your Grammar Skills
  5. The Mistake Grab Bag
  6. The Biggest Mistake
  7. Conclusion

1. German Pronunciation Mistakes – The Trickiest German Sounds

Woman Struggling with Complex Math Equation

German definitely has a stereotype of being a “harsh” language. Outside of World War II movies, though, there’s no basis for that! 

It just has sounds that English-speakers aren’t used to. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a matter of accent. Pronouncing German sounds wrong can lead to serious misunderstandings.

For many people, it seems that the most common German pronunciation mistakes have to do with the consonants.

German has two rather throaty “ch” sounds, one called the ich-laut and one called the ach-laut. To distinguish between them, think about where your tongue is placed when you say the vowel in ich and the vowel in ach

The “ch” sound in ich is lighter and made more forward in your mouth. It actually requires the same tongue position as the vowel—you’re basically just whispering that ich vowel. The ach-laut, in contrast, is made more in the back of the mouth, with your throat just a little bit tighter than when you made the vowel sound in ach.

You should know that in some German dialects, the ich-laut does become something more like the English sound “sh,” and people even spell it as isch

The throaty German “R” sound is another rough one for learners, and some even complain about sore throats when reading German aloud. 

If that’s happening to you, relax a bit, since your tongue shouldn’t actually be touching your throat when you make that sound. Do your best with audio or a native instructor, but the most important part is to get the transition sounds right.

That means you need to practice saying words that begin with R, end in R, and have R in the middle. Seamlessly moving from other vowels or consonants than R is a true mark of an advanced speaker. 

2. Confusing Words

Someone Getting Ready to Write in Their Journal

There are, unfortunately, quite a few German words that learners tend to mix up. 

The simplest ones are those that English doesn’t quite have an equivalent for, like machen/tun and wissen/kennen

Machen and tun both mean “to do,” but each word has its own separate collocations and set phrases. Furthermore, tun sounds a bit informal or even juvenile at times, and so you’ll rarely (if ever) see it in formal written German. There’s even a saying: Tun tut man nicht. (“One does not tun.”)

And if this wasn’t enough, the few times you do see tun written somewhere, it will very likely be misspelled. There are a few words in German that even the natives aren’t sure how to spell. That’s why you might come across variants like tuhn, tuhen, or tuen. Indeed, tun sounds like there could be an h or e in-between, but we guarantee that this word consists of only three letters.

Wissen and kennen, similarly, both mean “to know,” but kennen is for people and wissen is for knowledge. 

  • Ich kenne ihn nicht.
    “I don’t know him.”

Trickier still, are the many, many words with prefixes or reflexive components that otherwise sound quite similar. Native English-speakers never had to learn it consciously, but English does the same thing: imagine you’re a learner and you’re trying to keep the meanings straight between “throw up,” “throw out,” “throw off,” and “throw on”!

Writing in German is one of the best ways to master confusing words and avoid common German spelling mistakes in the future. This is because, in speech, it’s too easy to stutter and correct yourself in real time while losing the thread of what you really wanted to say. In writing, though, you can carefully consider each word and lock its meaning into your brain. 

Be careful, though, not to contrast similar-sounding words too much right next to each other. Don’t sit in your chair with your eyes closed and repeat betrunken (“drunk”) and ertrunken (“drowned”) over and over. People will look at you funny, and you’ll only make the mental links between the words stronger.

3. Put That Verb Back Where it Came From

Someone Going on a Hike

To a native English-speaker, German word order can seem like one of its quirkiest aspects. 

As you’re probably aware, the verb is the very last element of German relative clauses. 

  • Ich habe einen Ball.
    “I have a ball.”
  • Ich habe einen Ball, der schwer ist.
    “I have a ball that is heavy.”

We’ve put ist (“is”) in the very last spot in the second clause of the second example. That trips up even advanced German students, because when you’re composing a sentence in your head, it’s often unnatural to wait until the end to think of the verb.

Try out some online grammar quizzes in German for a quick refresher of the word order rules. Also, if you do some writing in German from time to time, you should try stepping away from your text and reading it aloud after a break. It will probably surprise you how many little mistakes you find!

Another type of word order mistake in German has more to do with comprehension than production. German articles have several different forms depending on the number and case, but in English, they all get mapped to “the.” 

Have a look at this, though:

  • Dem Mann folgte die Frau.
    “The woman followed the man.” (It was the man that the woman followed.)

In today’s German writing, you won’t come across sentence inversions like this very often, but crack open a book written before the 1920s or so, and this will be everywhere. This example shows that the cases do play an important role in allowing for free word order while maintaining intelligibility. 

4. Flex Your Grammar Skills

Male, Female, and Neuter Gender Signs

You probably already know that the single biggest problem German learners face grammar-wise is the grammatical gender and the word endings that go along with them. Here, we’ll cover common German grammar mistakes concerning this, and how to avoid them.

Although there are a couple of rules you can memorize to make guessing noun gender go a little faster, it’s truly just going to come down to memorization and exposure. Learning German isn’t a race. The longer you spend with it, the more natural the correct noun endings are going to seem.

One thing that can actually help a lot for learning adjectives and article declensions is making study guides. 

Take a selection of intermediate-level German text and explain it, word by word, to a learner who doesn’t know a thing about German. Explain why each word has each ending, and how it relates to the sentence as a whole.

This is the kind of exercise you only need to do a handful of times before you start surprising yourself with how accurate your grammar is.

5. The Mistake Grab Bag

Many learners aren’t quite comfortable with the concept of polite and informal pronouns. To tell the truth, tons of native speakers have a hard time knowing exactly when to siezen “use Sie” or duzen “use du” as well!

There’s also a general shift toward using du more, especially online and especially among young people. However, if you ever take a German standardized test, you’ll be specifically tested on your ability to effectively use both levels of politeness, so make sure you’re equally strong in both.

And although German is considered to be one of the easier languages to spell, there are a few words with irregular pronunciation. These mostly come from other languages.

For instance, the words Restaurant and Fond (“fund”) are from French, and so they end in nasal vowels. Also, Regisseur (“film director”) has a smooth French “zh” sound, but Region has a hard “G” sound.

Finally, the humble word vier (“four”) has a long vowel, but it actually becomes a short vowel in the related words Viertel (“fourth”), vierzehn (“fourteen”), and vierzig (“forty”). Keep a sharp ear out, and you may hear more irregularities!

6. The Biggest Mistake

Man with Tape Over His Mouth

However, all of these little mistakes pale in comparison to one thing that could ruin your German forever—not using it. 

German-speakers aren’t going to bite you if you use a few words wrong or forget an ending. If you force yourself to stay silent even when you hear a lost German tourist asking for directions in your home country, you’re missing out on unequaled practice and the opportunity to make new friends. 

You might have the preconception that German-speakers would be too good at English to ever help you with your German, but that’s really not the case. The more you put yourself out there, the more international friends you’ll make and the better your German will become.

7. Conclusion

Even though practice with native speakers is the only tried-and-true way to really feel comfortable with native speakers, you can still make a strong effort at home. 

That’s where GermanPod101 comes in as a complete solution to all of your German-learning needs—all inside two earbuds. 

Learning German is a slow road, but oftentimes, you look back and marvel at how far you’ve come. Daily practice is the key, and that’s made easy with the podcast episodes, video tutorials, and vocabulary lists you’ll find on GermanPod101.com.

So step right up, and try out GermanPod101 today to start speaking beautiful and correct German as soon as possible!

Before you go, let us know in the comments what German mistakes you make the most often, or how you’ve learned to overcome them. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Master Simple German Questions and Answers for Beginners

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to tonight’s round of German Questions Extraordinaire! 

Does that sound like a quiz show you would watch? It would certainly help out your German!

Perhaps you’ve realized that every time you have a German conversation, you’re kind of on a quiz show yourself. Conversations tend to be built around questions and answers—especially the kinds of conversations that you’re likely to have as a foreign student of German.

Therefore, practicing the following German questions and answers for beginners will provide you with the tools you need to sail through opening conversations like they’re nothing.

In a typical German conversation, questions and answers like the ones we’ll introduce today will come up all the time. Try them out now and see how you like them!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Contestant Number One
  2. You and Your Home
  3. Whose Language is it Anyway?
  4. Language Follow-Ups
  5. Travel Time
  6. Compare a Few Places
  7. All Eyes on Food
  8. What Do You Do?
  9. What’s Going On?
  10. The Price is Right
  11. Conclusion

1. Contestant Number One

Two People Shaking Hands with Each Other
  • Wie heißen Sie?
    “What’s your name?”

We begin the show today with the verb heißen, meaning “to be called.” As you can see, the pronoun here is the formal Sie, as opposed to the informal du. In general, younger people and people commenting online use du with one another (there’s even a verb for that: duzen), while one would use Sie with older people and in very formal situations.

To answer the question, simply use the same verb:

  • Ich heiße Martin.
    “My name is Martin.”

There’s actually another way to form this sentence that’s perhaps a little less common, but still familiar amongst native German-speakers. This one is a near-carbon copy of the English question:

  • Wie ist ihr Name?
    “What is your name?”
  • Mein Name ist Gloria.
    “My name is Gloria.”

The only difference compared to the English version is that German uses wie, meaning “how,” here instead of was, or “what.” 

2. You and Your Home

First Encounter

Log on to any online language chat room and introduce yourself as a German-learner; people will absolutely ask you where you’re from. It’ll happen in Germany, too!

  • Woher kommen Sie?
    “Where do you come from?”

The first word here, woher, is an interesting quirk of German grammar. It means “from where” because wo is the “where” part and her is a particle meaning “to here.” So literally, you’re saying “From where to here do you come?”

To answer, we’ll need a preposition:

  • Ich komme aus Ungarn.
    “I come from Hungary.”

Aus simply means “out,” so literally, you’re expressing coming “out of a place.” There’s no need to use the her particle because it’s already been established by the context and the preposition.

3. Whose Language is it Anyway?

Let’s bring ourselves back to the basics for a moment. Here’s a German question you probably heard in movies long before you actually started studying the language. 

  • Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
    “Do you speak German?”

Germans traveling abroad sometimes seem to have a sixth sense about who can speak German. You may end up getting this question even if you’re not in Germany!

There are a couple of good answers, depending on your comfort level.

  • Ja, ein bisschen.
    “Yes, a little.”
  • Ja, wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?
    “Yeah, what can I do for you?”
  • Natürlich!
    “Of course!”

If you find yourself lost for words in German-speaking lands, it’s a good idea to learn the names of other languages you can handle, just in case. 

  • Sprechen Sie Japanisch?
    “Do you speak Japanese?”
  • Können Sie Englisch?
    “Can you speak English?”

There’s another German quirk right there: it’s acceptable to say “I can English” without specifying the verb “to speak.” Don’t try that with other skills, though. That sentence structure is reserved only for languages!

4. Language Follow-Ups

Introducing Yourself

Once you’ve established that you’re not from Germany and are, in fact, capable of speaking the German language, people tend to get curious. After all, they’ve probably met at least one foreigner with pretty flawed German, and you, on the other hand, are doing quite well. 

  • Wie lange lernen Sie schon Deutsch?
    “How long have you been learning German?”

German doesn’t have a tense that corresponds to “have been doing” in English. Instead, Germans simply use the present tense. The answer works the same way:

  • Ich lerne Deutsch seit vier Jahren.
    “I’ve been learning German for four years.”

The use of seit, meaning “since,” instead of für, meaning “for,” causes confusion in both German and English. Look carefully for people making this mistake in English-language internet comments, and you’ll probably find a couple of Germans!

The use of schon, or “already,” is optional here, but it can be readily adopted into the answer as well:

  • Schon elf Jahre.
    “Eleven years already.”

5. Travel Time

Berlin, Germany

Let’s assume that you’re learning German at home in a country far away from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. If you happen to come across a native speaker and strike up a conversation, you may get tossed this question:

  • Waren Sie schon mal in Deutschland?
    “Have you ever been to Germany?”

Here, we’re substituting waren, or “were,” as the past tense instead of the English “have you ever been.” It’s possible to say that in German, of course:

  • Sind Sie schon mal in Deutschland gewesen?
    “Have you ever been to Germany?”

However, this is rather stilted and definitely a mark of older speech or writing. 

Also note the use of mal. This literally means “time” or “occurrence,” as in “one time, two times…” Here, it doesn’t really have a word-for-word translation; instead, it simply lends the flavor of “ever been.” You can think of schon mal as a set phrase in that regard.

  • Ich war 2015 in Berlin.
    “I went to Berlin in 2015.”
  • Ja, dreimal insgesamt.
    “Yeah, three times in total.”

Here, mal has its traditional meaning as part of dreimal, or “three times.”

6. Compare a Few Places

Germans are educated folks, and they tend to be quite open to traveling and new perspectives. Just go on YouTube and look for kultur shock (culture shock) to find a bunch of different vloggers talking about their experiences abroad. 

It’s not uncommon for a German conversation to include a genuinely interested question about what things are like in your country.

  • Und wie ist es in Amerika?
    “And what is it like in America?”
  • Gibt es so etwas in Mexiko?
    “Do they have this in Mexico?”

You can, of course, give as simple or as complicated of an answer as you want. In fact, some of the most high-level German exams ask you specifically to compare things in your home country to those in Germany.

So you have virtually unlimited options for description here. Let’s keep it basic with these sample answers:

  • Nein, so was haben wir gar nicht!
    “No, we don’t have that kind of thing at all!”
  • Ja, aber es ist bei uns anders.
    “Yes, but it’s different with us.”

Again, we can see some differences in the way that English and German use prepositions. It’s bei uns, meaning “by us,” instead of mit uns, or “with us.” 

7. All Eyes on Food

A German Christmas Dinner

Germans probably wouldn’t say that they’re particularly proud of German food, but it’s a common-enough conversation topic that it’s good to practice. Here are some good questions in German you can try out.

  • Was mögen Sie an deutsches Essen?
    “What do you like about German food?”
  • Mögen Sie deutsches Essen?
    “Do you like German food?”

This is a situation where telling a bit of a white lie doesn’t hurt (assuming you’re not a fan of the food, of course).

  • Ja, alles schmeckt sehr gut!
    “Yes, everything tastes very good!”
  • Ich esse gern Weißwurst.
    “I like eating white sausage.”

Here we’ve got the great particle gern, which can’t really be translated on its own, but instead is used after a verb to express enjoyment of that action.

8. What Do You Do?

People Working on a Creative Advertising Campaign

Everybody’s got to do something to bring home the bacon. How about you?

  • Was machen Sie beruflich?
    “What do you do for your job?”

If you haven’t already brushed up on the names for jobs and careers in German, definitely check out our vocab list. 

People aren’t going to need a complicated description of what you do, especially if you’re in a niche field like insurance or SEO marketing. 

Instead, stick to a general field:

  • Ich schreibe Werbungen.
    “I write advertisements.”
  • Ich bin Krankenschwester.
    “I’m a nurse.”

Remember, when you talk about job titles in German, you don’t need to use an article the way you would in English.

9. What’s Going On?

To be frank, an introduction question like this is much more of a set phrase than an actual inquiry into your well-being.

  • Wie geht es Ihnen?
    “How’s it going?”

The easy answer is Gut or Sehr gut, but your answer could also be the opening to any one of several classic conversation topics.

  • Nicht so gut bei diesem Wetter!
    “Not so well in this weather!”

10. The Price is Right

A Man Paying with a Twenty-Buro banknote

Germany isn’t really a country known for street markets or haggling, but a phrase for asking the cost of something is one worth knowing.

  • Wie viel kostet es?
    “How much does it cost?”

Even if you’re not haggling, you can still get use out of this phrase in cafes and restaurants that might not have all of the prices posted. 

  • Es kostet zwei Euro.
    “It costs two euros.”

Just as we’re wrapping up here, we get a nice sentence that perfectly maps onto English. The only thing to note is that wie viel, or “how much,” is sometimes written as one word: wieviel. But with the new spelling reforms of the 21st century, using two words is considered correct.

11. Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve won a ticket to German fluency! 

These common German questions and answers represent just the smallest beginning of the wide expanse of German conversations available to you. 

For more excellent resources to take you from the beginning all the way through advanced German levels, try out GermanPod101! Listening to real-life situations in podcasts and following along with the transcripts and vocab lists will help you pick up the German language smoothly and painlessly. 

Check it out now, and watch your questions about German disappear into thin air!

Before you go, why not try practicing these questions and answers in German straight away? Answer one or more of the questions in this article in German. We look forward to hearing from you!

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German Keyboard: How to Install and Type in German

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in German! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a German keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free German Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in German
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for German
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to German on Your Computer
  5. Activating the German Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. German Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing German

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in German

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and German language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find German websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your German teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for German

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in German. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to German, so all text will appear in German. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to German on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the German language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “German.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Deutsch (Country of your choice) with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Deutsch” > “Options” > “Download.” It will take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “German – Deutsch.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “German.”

4. Expand the option of “German” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “German.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “German,” and add the “German” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the German Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in German will greatly help you master the language! Adding a German keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “German” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Deutsch” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. German Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in German can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your German keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • Windows 10: Hot keys to activate the keyboard – “Windows + Strg + O”
  • Windows 10: Open the Start menu > enter “Bildschirmtastatur,” > click on “Bildschirmtastatur” among the available options. This will bring up the Windows keyboard pre-installed on your computer.
  • You have the Umlauts “Ü” (to the right of the “P”) and “Ö” and “Ä” to the right of the “L” available, as well as the “ß” next to “0” (zero).
  • Decimal separators in German and English are vice-versa(!): English – 999.50 EUR. German – 999,50 EUR. English – 1,000.50 EUR. German – 1.000,50 EUR.

2- Mobile Phones

  • To type the German umlauts ä, ö, ü, and the ß: Tap and hold the letter to which you’ll add the umlaut. For example, to type an ä, tap and hold the “a” key. Wait for the symbols list to open. Swipe your finger along the line until you reach the “ä” and then take your finger off the screen to insert it. Use the same process with the corresponding letters to create an ö or an ü. For the ß, use the “s.”
  • Decimal separators in German and English are vice-versa(!): English – 999.50 EUR. German – 999,50 EUR. English – 1,000.50 EUR. German – 1.000,50 EUR.

7. How to Practice Typing German

As you probably know by now, learning German is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your German typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a GermanPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your German keyboard to do this!

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Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Learning A Language on Your Own

Can You Really Learn German Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn German or any language without traditional classroom instruction: GermanPod101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is GermanPod101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning German or any language alone.

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Also, don’t forget to download your free cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Language Skills too!

3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learning Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn German alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn German alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study German and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning German Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with GermanPod101

Learning with GermanPod101

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of German Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual German conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. GermanPod101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real German instructors and every lesson is presented by professional German actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with German Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although GermanPod101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, GermanPod101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and German learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, GermanPod101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • German Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn German alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn German on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

GermanPod101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, GermanPod101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

And the best part is: With GermanPod101, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now and get a FREE ebook to help “kickstart” your dream of learning a language on your own below!

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational German well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real German conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple German greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational German as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak German faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real German people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more German conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational German. In fact, with just a couple hundred German words you could have a very basic German conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in German, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

GermanPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational German

Learning German

For more than 10 years, GermanPod101 has been helping students learn to speak German by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational German fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real German Instructors: GermanPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you German vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak German and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common German Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational German. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real German conversations or lessons is all it really takes. GermanPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak German and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like German. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn German in just a few short months! GermanPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master German or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways GermanPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

GermanPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master German in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by GermanPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, GermanPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of German.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of German. So every single day, GermanPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering German? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn German during your daily commute. At GermanPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, GermanPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, GermanPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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7 Outstanding Resources for Learning German

learning german

German is a beautiful, important and challenging language, but fluency is definitely within your reach if you go about learning it in an efficient and intelligent way.

Many people think they don’t have the time, money or dedication to learn a second language—especially a grammatically challenging language like German—but there are so many ways to avoid breaking the bank and reach fluency faster than ever before!

e-learning

Just by learning German through the intelligent use of these hand-picked online resources instead of paying for courses at a college or language school, you’ll save yourself literally thousands of dollars and also create the system that works best for you.

Ultimately, one of the biggest drawbacks to language study programs at schools is that they have to be a “one size fits all” method to help the most students.

This is a great way for many people to learn languages, but with these online resources you’ll sidestep the things that don’t help you learn and be speaking German sooner than you thought possible!

Below I’ve listed some great resources to help you get started on your self-taught language journey. They’re not arranged in any particular order, so make sure to check them all out and find which ones work best for you!

Speaking German

1. HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a fantastic language partner application that puts the world in the palm of your hand—literally!

Within minutes, you could be talking to native German speakers that will correct your German, help you learn in context and maybe even become your friends!

Establishing real, connected memories is half the battle in language learning, so why not start by making a new German friend?

The only payment necessary is that you share knowledge of your native language with the people you encounter in return. Not bad, right?

GermanPod101

2. GermanPod101

If you’ve been learning German for a while, you probably have previously stumbled upon some of GermanPod101’s widely-known daily podcasts or YouTube videos.

While doing dishes, slicing potatoes or driving to work, plug in your headphones and pick up an audio or video lesson from the whopping 1,400+ available at GermanPod101.

GermanPod101 shares only the finest German learning content on the internet. There you can find a variety of culturally relevant, fun and informational lessons.

Why settle for boring whiteboard, caveman-level lessons when you have free access to this up-to-date, fun and easy-to-understand German learning resource?

finding resources

3. Deutsch-Lernen

I don’t know if I’m the only one who has spent hours going from website to website trying to find just one or two helpful German sites.

If you’ve done the same thing, you know how good it feels to find a site where you actually have good learning materials. Deutsch-Lernen is definitely one of those “Aha!” moments because it has material that is actually helpful for learning, testing and exploring German.

You get access to free beginner and advanced courses as well as to tests that will assess your German level. No more wondering if you’re beginner, intermediate or advanced!

Each lesson has useful exercises for learners of all level that will help push your German studies to the next level.

4. FluentU

FluentU is probably the closest thing you can get to moving to Germany without ever leaving your couch.

Why?

On FluentU, you’ll find a collection of well-chosen, authentic content that will give you everything you need to advance to the next level.

There is a giant collection of videos, audio and other learning material in tons of different languages, so it’s the perfect place to go and jumpstart your German learning journey!

Not convinced? Then take advantage of their 15-day free trial and see for yourself. You’re going to love it.

talk

5. Babbel

If you’re looking for a one stop shop for everything you need to reach fluency from zero, Babbel would be a good place to start your search.

With the use of interactive conversations with the conversation bot, you can easily practice any new material at your own pace.

Essentially, Babbel does all the difficult leg work for you so you can take advantage of your lunch break to learn German without having to look at textbooks, boring grammar exercises or verb charts.

You can start learning German as it’s actually spoken and skip the difficult class work that you would inevitably run into in any university course.

6. italki

Whenever people tell me that they cannot learn a language because they don’t know anybody who speaks it, I always tell them about italki.

This is a website where you can hire language tutors that will connect with you over the internet to teach you their mother tongue.

Not only can you find a teacher that you like, but you can find one that doesn’t empty your wallet either.

There are hundreds of options for German teachers on the site, most of whom offer a discounted trial lesson so you can “shop around” before settling on a teacher.

If you’re trying to avoid paying to connect with a formal teacher, you can always just find a language partner and use italki’s messaging system to practice with each other and connect over Skype to practice your speaking ability.

With italki, you never have to worry about finding someone to talk to in German.

DW

7. Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle, a public broadcasting network in Germany, has actually developed a German course that is available completely free on their website.

This website is perfect for people of all levels who are looking for a different perspective on learning German.

By selecting your level at the link above, you can get material that is tailored for your level that will help you target the areas in German that you’ll most likely struggle with at each level.

What better way to start learning German than with an authentic German news station?

Whenever people tell me that they’re going to start studying German, I get excited about the prospect of having another German speaker in the world.

The German language is rich both culturally and linguistically and offers a genuinely interesting challenge for those who study it.

Hopefully, after seeing the plethora of available online sources, you’re convinced that learning German without enrolling in courses at a language school is definitely possible.

Using just the seven resources above you could reach fluency, but part of the fun of learning a language is experiencing the culture that comes with it.

So get out there, study German and find more websites. Give yourself the opportunity to grow linguistically and culturally that you would never get in a classroom.

Viel glück!

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.