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There’s more to Germany than just biergartens and schnitzel, and learning to speak German can be a fantastic way to connect with the people and culture of this incredible country. Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe, and is the home of many internationally famous brands such as BMW and Siemens. It’s also the most populous country in the European Union with over 80 million people. In addition to Germany, the German language is spoken in Austria, and parts of Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Belgium putting the total number of native speakers at about 95 million people.
German is also the language of art and science, with authors such as Goethe and Nietzsche as well as scientists such as Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun all originating there. In fact, German is the second most widely used language for scientific publication, and one tenth of all new books published per year are published in the German language. So if you’re a bookworm with a penchant for reading works in their original language, German would be a very worthwhile language to study.
Of course, Germany as well as Austria and Switzerland are incredible places to visit, and offer some of Europe’s most scenic locations. Germany is the 7th most visited country on Earth, and offers a wide variety of things to do from exploring the hip capital city of Berlin, to wandering the Black Forest in the south, or climbing the Alps in Bavaria. The same can be said for Austria, with its cultural capital of Vienna, and soaring mountains in the countryside. Although most younger German speakers are more than happy to speak with you in English, they do appreciate any attempts you make to speak their language, and will encourage you to speak more, improve your skills, and invite you to get to know more about their wonderful homeland.
German is often thought by English speakers to be a difficult language to learn, but actually this is not necessarily true. Although the grammar and pronunciation can be a bit tricky to get used to, many of the words share the same root as their English counterparts and can easily be worked out and memorized. Although you do sometimes run into very long words such as Straßenbahnhaltestelle which means “tram stop”, but once you learn to break the words down into their individual parts it becomes easier. For instance, Straßenbahnhaltestelle literally translates to, “Street train stopping place” which is quite literally what it is. Other fun words in German are:
Then there are the ridiculously long words such as “Schwarzwälderkirschtortenlieferantenhut” which translates to “The hat of the person who delivers black forest cake.” It might not be in your everyday vocabulary, but if you’re feeling lazy on your trip to the black forest and have a sudden urge for cake, it might come in handy.
There are a variety of ways you can choose to learn to speak German, and thanks to the Internet, a lot of them are even free.
The classic way to learn a foreign language is in a classroom, and most people have tried this method at one point or another. All 4 aspects of language learning are typically well covered (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) in the classroom, however, this can be quite a time commitment which many people find difficult to stick with, or can’t find time for this in their busy schedules.
Just like in a classroom, this can be a great way to get to know another language. Learning directly from a native German speaker allows you to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening to German the way it’s actually used. If you’re looking to master the language in the shortest amount of time, this one-on-one method is ideal. On the other hand, private lessons can be quite expensive, and a skilled, qualified teacher can be hard to find. Another equally good options is to find someone who wants to learn your language, and give each other lesson. After all, sharing is caring.
If you’re more into self-teaching, you might want to explore the world of audio/video, and book learning. This can be an effective method granted you have the willpower to stick with it. However, many people find it quite dry as it lacks the social interaction which learning a new language so much fun. Plus, you’ll only learn “textbook” German, which might not be as natural as the way Germans actually speak.
Computer learning is getting to be a quite popular way to learn a new language. Many programs utilize natural learning methods which help you associate words in your target language directly with the places, things, and situations they refer to instead of having to rely on translation. As with any solitary learning method though, this can lack a certain level of social interaction which is almost the whole point of learning a new language.
This is far and away the best method of mastering any new language. However, not everyone has the resources or the time to go for an extended stay in another country. And, unless you already have the basics of the language under your belt, you may find yourself scratching your head in confusion once you get there.
There are a lot of websites online where you can go to learn German online, and many of them are quite reasonably priced, or even free. This can be an excellent way to learn the basics of a new language without committing a large amount of time or money into something you’re not sure of. However, if you are a more advanced language learner, you might not find these to be very useful as they generally only cover the basics of a language, and can move at a slow pace.
One of the newest ways you can now use the internet to learn languages is with apps. All you have to do is login and connect with language learners and teachers around the world. Now you can practice German wherever and whenever you might happen to be. It’s a fun, easy way to practice speaking German the way it’s meant to be spoken.
Learning to speak German with Tandem Teachers is like putting the best parts of all the other methods together into one fun, easy-to-use system. Now you can get individual instruction from qualified language teachers anytime, anyplace. With Tandem you can:
Download the Tandem App from the App Store to get your first free lesson with the Tandem Teacher of your choice. You can be taking lessons in just a matter of minutes! Your language learning journey begins today. Get started now!