Best Way to Learn German – 10 Expert Tips

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Have you just started your German lessons?

It feels very difficult and you’re afraid you’re simply not good at languages?

Don’t sweat – learning German is not an easy task.

But it’s also not as hard as most people think. Especially if you know how to approach it.

To be honest, it’s not simple to determine the best way to learn German. That depends on your learning style, time commitment, goals…

However, there are some steps you can take to make your learning process more efficient.

These learning tips and tricks are golden, especially if you decided to learn German by yourself.

So, if you’re wondering how to learn German at home, these guidelines will certainly come in handy.

10 best Ways to Learn German

When you see a word like Freundschaftsbeziehungen, you probably want to turn around and forget about learning German.

But long German words shouldn’t scare you – even native speakers find them difficult to pronounce. Or spell.

German vocabulary is gendered, but it will all make sense once you grasp the basics.

Also, German is a phonetic language, and that makes pronunciation much easier.

Nevertheless, there are several things you should pay attention to during your German learning journey.

Best way to learn German

1. Set goals

First of all, you need to set goals.

But saying you want to become fluent in German isn’t enough. You should set simple, short-term goals first.

Short-term goals are more attainable and realistic.

You can even set small daily goals. For example, you can decide to learn common words first.

You can also make a monthly study plan.

That way, you will feel accomplished and satisfied more often.

Learning a new language is a slow process, and it’s important to keep yourself motivated. And this is one of the ways to do that.

Luckily, many language-learning apps are designed to teach you German step-by-step. They can help you add structure and continuity to your learning.

2. Use a German learning app

If you want to find the best way to learn German on your own, using a language-learning app would be a great idea.

The best German language apps are well-designed, effective, and easy to use.

And they will help you focus on what you really want and need.

Some apps are created to teach you practical vocab useful for traveling.

Others feature fun games and interactive exercises.

And some apps offer full language courses that can take your skills to the next level.

One such application is Rocket German by Rocket Languages.

Rocket German

You can use Rocket German on any device – so it could be categorized as an app as well as an online course.

Nonetheless, it’s a popular language platform that combines audio tracks, video clips, interactive exercises, and cultural lessons.

It’s focused on the development of all main language skills: writing, speaking, reading, and listening.

Rocket German lessons are designed to be taken in a linear manner, but you can also jump back and forth. So, the app will provide you with structure as well as flexibility.

But more importantly, an app such as Rocket Languages will allow you to study anytime, anywhere. And that’s a huge advantage for people who don’t have much free time and want to learn on the go.

Everything is possible, even taking language lessons when you have a super busy week. And portable, user-friendly apps will definitely help you keep up with your study plan.

3. Find an online tutor

Some language learning apps and online courses will offer you a chance to have virtual one-on-one German lessons.

If you really want to make progress or work on a specific language skill, online tutoring is a great option for you.

Online German courses

Virtual lessons are usually more affordable, and they will allow you to take lessons from the comfort of your home.

Also, your online teacher will create a study plan based on your level, goals, and needs.

You will also actively work on your German speaking skills.

And you’ll get valuable feedback, corrections, and suggestions.

Virtual German classes can also be only one of the ways of learning German.

For example, if you’re taking a self-study German course, you can book a virtual lesson once in a while. That can help you check how much you’ve progressed or find out what you need to work on.

Your tutor can tell if you have good pronunciation and it can give you tips and tricks on how to improve it. Every learner has unique learning habits and abilities, and having personalized guidance from a qualified (and preferably native) teacher is truly precious.

4. Take it step-by-step

Whether you want to find an online tutor or take app-based German lessons, you shouldn’t rush.

Most language apps will allow you to skip ahead. But you can’t skip the basics – you need to build a solid foundation.

It’s like learning how to play an instrument. Of course, you want to play songs right away. But it doesn’t work like that.

Even if you learn how to play a simple song without learning notes or any music theory whatsoever, that’s the only thing you’ll know. And if you learn how to read sheet music, you can play any song you want.

It’s similar to language learning. You can learn how to say certain stuff in German, but if you learn how the language works (basic grammar), you’ll be able to structure sentences and express yourself.

Best ways to learn German

When you learn the German alphabet (and how the letters sound) and memorize the most commonly-used words and phrases, you can start expanding your vocabulary with verbs, nouns, and adjectives.

As you progress, you can start to structure sentences.

Over time, you’ll realize you can almost think in German; in a sense that you won’t have to translate something to English first. You’ll simply think about an idea and be able to say it in German. And being able to speak German in that way should be your ultimate goal.

And when you know the basics and you feel ready, you can start practicing with native speakers.

5. Talk to native speakers

One of the best ways to learn German is by talking to native speakers.

Of course, it would be ideal to spend some time in a German-speaking country. That way, you would not only have a chance to meet locals but you would be literally surrounded by the language.

You would find yourself in situations where you have to speak German because you have no other choice.

If you’re planning to visit a German-speaking country, use that opportunity to improve your conversational skills. Order food and drinks in German, read a menu in German, and try to memorize new words.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk to locals. It does feel a bit strange to talk to someone who is fluent in a language you’re just beginning to understand. That’s normal.

And that’s why it’s great to go out there, travel, and meet native speakers in random situations. You will feel more confident and relaxed.

Learning German

That way, you can also learn a lot about German culture and way of life. You can hear fresh opinions, unknown facts, and interesting stories. You’ll probably learn a lot about the city you’re in.

And you’ll naturally pick up new words and learn the slang.

If you don’t have a chance to travel right now, you can find other ways to talk to native speakers.

You can check forums, German learning websites, and language exchange opportunities.

For example, if you find a language partner, they can teach you German and you can teach them English or your native language.

It’s a fun and engaging way of enhancing your communication skills.

6. Prioritize

When you talk to native speakers, you’ll notice that most of them keep repeating some words. These are probably the most common German words and popular expressions.

If you want to learn how to speak German easily, you need to focus on the most common words and practical vocab.

This might seem like common sense, but some learning resources and traditional language classes will teach you some words you probably won’t use in everyday situations. Unless you’re an advanced learner, that really isn’t necessary.

Learn German at home

You should also pay attention to phrases, expressions, and lexical chunks rather than individual words.

That’s arguably the fastest way to learn German at home.

Also, if you’re taking a self-study course, you should focus on your goals.

But prioritizing doesn’t mean skipping important elements because you believe you don’t need them. And you can always consult other learners or teachers if you’re not sure what to focus on next.

7. Immerse yourself in German

Apart from talking to native speakers, the best method to learn German is definitely immersion.

Any kind of immersion.

If you can’t spend some time in a German-speaking country, you should at least surround yourself with the language.

If you already know the basics, try to watch a German movie or a TV show. You can do it with English subtitles in the beginning, and then try it without the subtitles.

You should read German magazines, books (children’s books, if you’re a beginner), newspapers, and so on.

If you read a short story or your favorite book in German translation, you can write a summary in German for practice.

If you’re reading a magazine, underline all the words that repeat over and over.

And if some of them are unfamiliar to you, you can write them down and find them in a dictionary. The same goes for online articles.

Best way to learn German easily

Apart from reading and writing, you can also work on your listening skills.

For example, you can listen to German podcasts. Even if you don’t understand everything, you’ll listen to the natural speed of the language as well as increase your comprehension in a natural way.

Contextual learning plays a vital role in acquiring language skills.

If you hear the language used in real life, you will have a better understanding of how the German language works.

Memorizing German grammar rules makes no sense if you don’t see grammar in action.

Also, contextual learning will help you guess words from context, and that’s really important in getting to know any language.

8. Use language hacks

One of the ways of learning German more effectively is by using language hacks.

They will help you speed up the process.

But more importantly, these learning tricks will help you memorize everything properly.

One of the popular memory devices is mnemonics – this learning technique is used to add meaning to certain information.

For example, you can come up with a weird but simple sentence to remember something (a popular mnemonics for the order of planets is: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles.)

When it comes to learning languages, you can use mnemonics to remember complicated words, phrases, or rules.

Visual cues are also important.

Many popular language apps use visual representations of new words. That way you can memorize the word more easily, especially if you’re a visual learner.

Spaced repetition is another technique that many apps use.

It’s an effective technique based on recalling certain words at specific time intervals. Time intervals are increasing each time. That’s how new information will be stored in your long-term memory.

However, it’s important to add variety to your learning. If you stick to only one method, that method will eventually become less effective.

Apart from using language hacks, you should try to make the best out of your lesson time.

You should study in an environment and time of the day that suits you the most.

Moreover, it’s better to study for a short period of time every day than to spend hours studying once a week.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, learning a new language shouldn’t be rushed. And if you take short, bite-sized lessons, you’ll memorize everything more easily.

And you will feel more confident.

Learning German can be a whole lot easier if you learn how to study smarter.

9. Keep it interesting

Since achieving proficiency in German doesn’t happen overnight, it’s normal to feel discouraged from time to time.

German grammar can seem complicated, and some words are just so hard to pronounce…

But if you follow the steps we mentioned today, you shouldn’t come across too many obstacles.

However, knowing how to learn German easily isn’t only about language hacks and contextual learning. Of course, all of that is very important, but you also need to keep your motivation high.

And one of the ways to do that is by adding fun to your learning process.

In other words, keep it interesting!

You can play online games that can teach you German.

Take part in an online challenge or challenge your friend who is also learning German.

Check if there’s a German meetup in your area.

Join a conversation club or organize your own.

There are many things you can do to make your study routine more versatile.

10. Remember the benefits

If you need an extra boost of motivation, think about all the benefits that learning German can bring you.

You can travel around Germany with confidence and talk to local people with ease.

There are so many great places you can visit… From charming Christmas markets in winter to beautiful natural places in summer. Then there’s also the famous Oktoberfest, Berlin nightlife, fairytale castles…

Traveling to Germany

And let’s not forget about Austria. Austrian German and standard German is considered to be the same, despite their minor differences.

German is also an official language in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

So, if you speak German, you can get around many European countries.

Moreover, German is a go-to language in academia.

Plus, knowing German also enhances employment opportunities.

As you can see, German language skills are very useful. And you never know where learning a new language can take you.

You can meet people who will change your life.

You can get to know another culture and group of people and become more open-minded.

One thing is for sure: learning German is undoubtedly rewarding.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article encouraged you to start learning German right away.

With so many great learning resources, learning German has never been easier. And it would be a shame not to take advantage of that.

There are online German courses, online tutoring, German learning apps…

All of these sources will make your learning process smooth and easy.

By the way, mastering German isn’t as hard as some people claim. Of course, it will take you some time to figure it out, as well as any other language. But you shouldn’t be scared of German grammar or vocabulary.

The important thing is to find a way that fits your learning style and goals.

There are also some things you can do to make your learning more effective. Mnemonics, spaced repetition techniques, and flashcards are the most popular methods.

And you should immerse yourself in German. Listen to German podcasts, read German books and magazines, watch German movies…

Finally, keep reminding yourself why you want to learn German in the first place.

And without a doubt, you’ll achieve all your goals!