If you want to learn any new language the very thought of it can be quite daunting. It's such a strange and wonderful thing people speak different languages, yet we all breathe the same air and on a very esoteric level we all need and want the same things (and at the same time we don't). German is not only one of the oldest language, but arguably one of the most interesting. Learning to speak German can be one of the most enriching learning experiences that will give you so much more than just another language to converse in.
When you learn a new language you learn much more than just a new skill. A language reflects a culture and there are a lot of things that simply cannot be translated from one language to another. Language is not just a means of communicating, but a means of understanding a group of people's way of thinking and way of 'being'. When you learn a new language you learn to see the world from a different perspective and it causes you to even look at your own world with fresh eyes ( and to see that we don't all look at things the same way). Learning to speak German will open your eyes to this incredibly interesting culture that you can only truly access by learning the language.
German, as a language is not that far removed from English. Many everyday words with Anglo-Saxon origins are almost exactly the same as the English words - although the pronunciation is slightly different. Consider these words and you will see what I mean:
arm ~ der Arm |
mouse ~ die Maus |
name ~ der Name |
finger ~ der Finger|
Since there are a lot of similarities, it's not that hard to learn German. If you are English speaking you can actually read German text with little difficulty - even though you may not understand any of it. The real challenge in learning to speak German is with the pronunciation and vocabulary. Vocabulary is quite easy to learn as you can memorize a lot of it while pronunciation is much more difficult as you are accustomed to English pronunciation. There is no quick fix for learning to speak German, but there are some basic things to keep in mind that will greatly improve the pace at which you learn the new language.
If you can, you should spend as much time as possible with German speaking people. If you can't, then you should watch German movies, listen to German music and tune in to your favorite German radio station online - even if you don't understand it yet. Scientist claim that 90% of what we learn happens subconsciously and this is especially true for languages.
It is also vital that you enroll in a good German course. There are many excellent courses available online that utilize some of the new learning technologies that can greatly enhance the speed at which you learn German. It doesn't have to take years to learn how to speak German. Some people, believe it or not learn German in as little as 8 weeks. The important thing is to work yourself up to a level where you can start conversing effectively and meaningfully with a German speaking person. This would allow you to get out there and speak the language in the real world and this is when you greatly increase the speed at which you learn to speak German.
German people are profusely proud of their language and any effort from you to speak their language will be met with respect and appreciation. Most German people will gladly help and encourage you. German is not just some 'little' language. It's extremely popular and is widely spoken all over the world. From Switzerland to Liechtenstein and even as far as Namibia, German is alive and whether you are learning to speak German for business or pleasure, it will greatly enrich your life.
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Article by Deon Du Plessis
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