https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MCGBlij

10 tips: How to start learning German?

I did 10 tips for learning French on another account and I wanted to do the same with German on this account. To explain this: I am learning German now for 2 years. I am a Dutch native speaker and I live in a village next to the German border. I had to deal with German since I was born. (Not that I could understand anything) These tips will be useful for people who want to start learning German, but also for people who recently started.

  1. Learn something about the German culture as well. It will help you with understanding some subjects.
  2. Don't be intimidated of the pronunciation. Who thinks at German, will possibly think about its rough and angry pronunciation. But don't be scared! You can also speak German very softly and friendly like I do. (And there are also natives who do that)
  3. Use a notebook. Keeping a notebook is very useful for learning with Duolingo. Sometimes, the grammar explanation will be a bit too short. In that case you can write some extra notes in your notebook. You can also use it for some extra vocabulary.
  4. Act like you have a conversation with someone on paper. Just take a pen and a deep breath and try to write as many sentences as you know about a specific subject. (I always do: Person 1 asks questions and person 2 answers them. In this way, you learn how to ask questions and how to answer questions in a conversation.)
  5. Use a lot of German in your daily life. Try to read a German newspaper (www.bild.de is a good one), try to think in German, watch German video's on Youtube or watch a movie on Netflix with German subtitles. Just to immerse yourself in German. It will be difficult in the beginning, but it wil help you a lot.
  6. Always use Sie instead of du to strangers and older people. Germans can gat really mad if you call them du when he is a stranger to you. Last year, I ordered a drink in Germany. I said du and the waiter was mad af! So I'll try to warn you: Don't make that little mistake!!!
  7. Sing if you want to learn a new verb. It sounds weird but it is really useful. Put the forms in a rhythm that fits and sing along. (For people who speak Latin: It really helped me with learning o,s,t,mus,tis,nt ;D)
  8. Be patient. German has its well-known cases and they are really difficult to learn. Just start with the beginning (Basic verbs, words and sentences) Difficult grammar will come later. First, get comfortable with German!
  9. Do not race through the course. It is not smart to do this because on sites like duolingo, they put very much information in 1 little skill. If you do 10 skills a day, you will forget it faster.
  10. Don't expect to be perfect. EVERYONE makes mistakes! It is human! Have fun and keep motivating yourself. This is one of the most important things, when you learn a language. When you start, write down: Why do you want to learn this language?, What do you want to achieve in a year? and How do you want to do that? When you have to lean somthing difficull, just look back at what you have written down and try to achieve your goal.

There are probably a lot more useful tips, so if you have some..... Drop them down below, so we can help each other with learning a language.

April 26, 2019

12 Comments

Sorted by top thread

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Some really good tips here! Thankfully I haven't had any horror moments here in Berlin with the Sie/du matter, but I've got a bad feeling it'll sneak up on me when I least expect it! :P

I would just say, you can certainly mention the Bild Zeitung, as the more resources the merrier (I think at least :P), but calling it a good German newspaper? I'm not sure it even qualifies as a newspaper to be honest :P If you were to ask me, I'd go more in the direction of dem Spiegel, der Süddeutschen or Welt if you want to recommend some 'good' German newspapers, because they're not as reliant on digging up dirt on celebrities to sell copies; but both styles offer different areas of German vocabulary, so I don't want to say it wouldn't be of any use to check out the Bild website—I just think we don't want to be too careless with the word "good" ;P

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alpha3099

I love the tabloid-like newspapers. They are normally quick and somewhat easy reads, even if they are not the most in depth stories. I may be biased though, because my industry is the celebrity type stuff. But I also enjoy the headier stuff like the views that are published on world politics, to get different points of view on what is happening in the world.

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I have to confess, I've skipped to the bottom of more than one article on the Spiegel online app on my phone because I saw the magical word "Zusammenfassung" under the sub-heading, and—in a similar vein—I've tapped out of more articles than I'd like to share after scrolling for what feels like hours, only to find I'm a third of the way through the article.

So the readability of the Bild Zeitung is certainly a plus (and like I said, if it's toward the common goal of bettering one's German, why not!); I just feel like the main content offered is somewhat distanced from what one might consider "good" :P

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zia177448

I also had to wince when I saw the Bild mentioned, but I do guess it can be good for language learners. I do recommend switching to the other newpapers as soon as the language level permits it.

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Hehe that's a nice idea.
"I'm only here for as long as I need to be!"

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hm437e

Good Choices, Adam!
My favourite has always been Die Zeit with Spiegel being a close second.

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Thanks! I can't believe I forgot die Zeit! Great mention!
Unfortunately I can't be impartial when it comes to my favourite German newspaper because an Austrian friend showed me the Spiegel app on his phone, so since then that's been the German newspaper for me! :P

April 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterPan173079

www.heise.de is a news source about tech and computer topics. The advantage is, that a big part of the jargon is already in English. That enables you to read texts on a pretty advanced level with the worst of obscure vocabs selfexplanatory since English.

April 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yves--

I'll upvote that. Good advice.

April 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnAdamClark

This seems aimed at English speakers who have made a move to Germany or other German speaking countries, so I'll add a tip which helped me alot...

Try and find a Sprachencafe in your area. In the region I am living in (Vorarlberg, Austria) there are Sprachencafes in each town. So, I try and visit a different one each week. It helps you get more confident speaking, as there are other German learners struggling along with you, and generally one native speaker to guide the conversations.

April 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heloinesav

Hello, i started German from Spanish and I reached Level 21 the highest The Owl congratulated, but i didn´t get any Lingot, Crowns, Points or Crows, I must say I was quite dissappointed, because Spanish isn´t my mother tongue, and when I committed to a 7 day non-stop I didn´t get the promised rewards that meant so much too me, specially at that point because I was really struggling with so little time to devote to DL. I stopped for sometime, but I was missing the effort I had to put into it, and I restarted, this time German from English, and hope to be able to reach Level 25 before the end of the year, since I have to stop it for a while due to a surgery in the wrist and the fingers on both hands, but I Will restart as soon as I can. DL please don´t take away my 119 crown or my 686 lingots they´ve meant a lot to me, someday I´ll tell you in German!!! why. Good luck to you all my DL learners some already Friends others Friends to be someday. Have a great night.

April 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MCGBlij

You are so motivated. I bet you can reach level 25 before 1 jan. 2020. Good luck!

April 29, 2019
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.