I recently did a posting wherein I recommended some online German courses and an excellent app for iPads walled Duolingo. In my quest to increase my German knowledge and to help you guys along with it too, I have since discovered a website called “How To Learn German” which can be found here. Written by a 25 year old Danish guy, Peter, who speaks no fewer than five languages, this site offers plenty of no-nonsense advice on how to learn the language with limited resources.
Peter recommends immersing yourself in the language as much as you possibly can, and he has some great suggestions on how to do that – perfect if you do not happen to have anyone German close by or do not wish to run the risk of making a fool of yourself publicly, although that is often the fastest way to learn. He gives links to plenty of German movies, TV channels, newspapers and he even suggests listening to German music, which is a really enjoyable way of learning a few words whilst increasing your street cred with the local teenagers. Just remember to download the lyrics from the internet – bluffers can be spotted a mile away. Suggestions are also provided on how to be more productive and there is even section a devoted to the lazy ones amongst us – perfect for me.
One thing I recommend, and Peter does talk about this, is downloading lists from the internet of the most frequently used German words and concentrate on learning those. I think a fundamental weakness of many German courses and teachers is too much time is dedicated to teaching us words we are not likely to use, and not enough on those we are certainly going to encounter. If you are a beginner, concentrate on the top 50 or 100, and as you advance, move on to the top 1000 and so on. Of course, you will also need to learn the grammar, but knowing the most commonly used verbs can speed up that process.
Oh, and before I forget, there are a couple of books that I can also suggest. Both seem to have ambitious titles as they suggest that you can be speaking the language well in around three months. For most of us that is a bit of a tall order, but to be fair to the authors, if you follow their instructions and immerse yourself in the language as much as you possibly can, then you will pick it up much faster than just doing a few evening classes or using the odd website here and there. The books are:
- “Fluent in Three Months” written by an Irish guy called Benny Lewis who speaks dozens of languages, all self taught, and he gives some great tips on how to learn pretty much any language, and he has a website too.
- “How to Speak German in 90 Days: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners” by Kevin Marx
I downloaded both on Kindle but I believe they are also available in paper format through Amazon.