Learning to speak German can be a valuable skill. There are many great reasons for learning German. You may have German relatives or business associates, be planning a trip or relocating for work, or just want to learn for your own enjoyment. Whatever your reasons, these basic steps can help you learn the German language. As you follow this road map, I strongly recommend you use a language program like Rocket German.
- Identify your goals. You may want to learn basic travel German if you're planning a trip to Germany, or business jargon to converse with business associates, or have a variety of other goals in mind. Be sure you know what you want to learn before you begin so that you can take the appropriate steps to learn German.
- Learn pronunciation and grammar. German pronunciation and grammar can both be tricky for English speakers. A German-English dictionary will help you, as will a textbook or software program like the one I mentioned above. Learning to pronounce the letters can help you sound out unfamiliar words. Books or software also provide the added bonus of opportunities to practice your new skills. You can also choose from a variety of classes available at colleges and universities. Check out your local community college, because they may offer night or weekend courses in German.
- Add to your vocabulary. Read every German-language publication you can get your hands on, and don't just gloss over the words you don't know. Look them up in a dictionary so that you'll know both what they mean and how to use them in context. You can also find vocabulary word lists based on various themes, which can be particularly helpful if you're learning German for a specific purpose. Of course, textbooks and other learning aids also contain plenty of German words to add to your vocabulary.
- Practice your skills. You can practice using books, software programs, audio tapes, or videos. Anything where you are exposed to the German language will help you get used to it. Don't forget that the internet has many German-language resources. Also, you can possibly find a real-life conversation partner in your town, so that you can practice your German and your partner can either practice their German or, if a recent immigrant, their English skills. Nothing can substitute for actually speaking, hearing, and reading material in the German language.
- Travel. Absolutely the best way to increase your German language skills is to travel to a German-speaking country. While this is obviously also the most expensive way to learn German, immersing yourself in the language and culture is proven to be the fastest way to learn. Consider traveling to Germany for your next vacation, particularly if you are greatly enjoying your German studies. Visiting the country you have been reading about as you study the German language can be an enlightening experience, besides the language help.
German can be a very difficult language to learn, and it takes patience and dedication. Practice makes perfect, so keep at it, and before you know it you'll be able to converse with German speakers.