Have you recently moved to Germany and find yourself faced with the challenge of speaking the language?
Here are 5 easy ways to help improve your German:
1. Read Children’s Books
We are all pretty familiar with the books read to us as children in our native language, so reading those same books in German is a great way to practice translating relatively simple and short sentences. It also gives you a chance to build some vocabulary and the illustrations are usually very colorful and help with context.
2. Watch Disney films in German
This is a great way to enhance your auditory skills and uses the same idea as the children’s books— Disney is well-known and their storylines are familiar. You can start by watching a movie in German with English subtitles, or English with German subtitles, and eventually switch to all German and maybe even subtitle free!
3. Practice at a local market/café/bakery
You’ll find that most people in Germany do speak some English and it is possible to get by at a café or market without speaking German. However, everyone appreciates it if you try and when in Rome…or should I say when in Deutschland....
I suggest writing down a couple of questions and/or phrases you use daily when ordering vegetables at the market, coffee at a café, or a pretzel at a bakery and go practice in real-time.
Some examples are:
Wie teuer ist…? = How expensive is…?
Was kostet…?= What costs…?
Wie viel kostet? = How much does it cost?
Wie viel macht das? = How much does this…?
Dann nehme ich… = Then I will take…
Stimmt so = Keep the change
Darf's sonst noch was sein? = Is there anything else? (something you might hear the vendor say)
Gleich hier vorne = Right here in front
Ich denke, ich nehme ein… = I think I will take a…
Ich hätte gerne noch… = I would like to have a…
4. Sign Up for a Language Course
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to practice daily, signing up for a language course can be a great way to hold yourself accountable. There are many schools out there that offer different intensities and levels. It is useful to be in a classroom with a teacher who can answer those tough grammar questions you have and it's also a great way to meet other language learners.
This is a free online platform where you can learn a foreign language. Each lesson allows you to read, listen, and speak in the target language and Duo the owl motivates you by keeping track of your daily learning streak.
Does anyone have any tips they would like to share on how they’ve improved their German language skills? Comment below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire currently lives in Bonn, Germany. She is a freelance English teacher. She holds B.A. from the University of Montana in English-Creative Writing and a minor in International Development Studies. Claire also runs an English book club and hosts weekly meetups for her students to practice English in the Bonn area.
For inquiries please contact:
Facebook: @bonnenglishbookclub Instagram: claire.venery