Learning the German language is no easy task — every noun has a different gender, requiring a myriad of different rules to follow and just when you were finally getting your head around it, another exception bursts your language bubble. It might be difficult, however, once you show it some patience, you will see how the language is riddled with quirky traits and poetic descriptions, making German a fascinating experience for language lovers.
It's natural to think that the German language is purely spoken in Germany. It is estimated that around 105 million people around the world speak Deutsch as a native language, with an additional 80 million people speaking it as a second language. Germany is indeed the largest German-speaking country, however, Austria and Switzerland take on a German language variation and dialect in the form of Swiss-German (Schweizerdeutsch) and Austrian German (Österreichisches Deutsch). Standarddeutsch or Hochdeutsch is the standardized variety of the language used for administration, higher education, literature, and the mass media in Germany, and is normally the German taught to language learners.
German has a reputation for being a difficult language for English speakers to learn. This may be because of the complex grammar rules with their numerous exceptions, the pronunciation, or just the length of the words themselves. In any case, practicing with a native speaker is one of the best ways to quickly become fluent in German.
When learning German, most people begin by studying Hochdeutsch or ‘High German.’ This is the standard official German used in government, and schools all across Germany. However, a trip across various German-speaking regions such as Bavaria, Switzerland, and Austria will quickly demonstrate how different spoken German can be. If you want to learn German the way people actually speak, as well as learn slang terms and regional dialects, the best way to do it is by practicing with native German speakers from many different places.
Thanks to the internet, finding a German language partner is easier than ever. You can find a German conversation partner on Skype, but of course there’s no way to search specifically for people who are trying to learn your language as well, and who are looking for an exchange partner. There are various language exchange sites as well, however, most of these simply show you other users’ profiles but they might not be active at the moment. You have to set up a time to chat, then call each other using a separate program.