From the moment Kevin told me that we were moving to Germany, I knew that I would need to learn the language. This was all very exciting for me because becoming bilingual has always been something that I have wanted to do for myself and here was the perfect opportunity! Now, we have been living in Germany for six months and I can say I have successfully made it through my first beginners German course. After going through my first language class I figured I would share a few things that have helped me considerably along the way. The first day of my German class my professor said that "Learning a new language has nothing to do with intelligence, but everything to do with work." I have never been a star student and I have the world's worst memory, but if I can do it, I know that you can too!! I had so much fun in my first language class, however I am not even close to being finished and plan to enroll in an intermediate class in the fall.
1. TAKE A CLASS:
These days we are bombarded with different methods of learning, especially when it comes to learning languages. There are computer softwares, audio tapes, books and even apps on your phone. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe that the best way to learn is face-to-face, in a classroom, with an instructor and other students. Check out your local community college or university, there is bound to be a class to take. I was able to find a local university and enroll as a "non-degree seeking" student and started from there.
2. Make it part of your daily routine:
I think this is why I feel so strongly about taking an actual class. If you are taking a class to learn a language you are required to use your new language every day by meeting for classes and by doing your homework assignments. If you are not taking a class, or you are in between classes, try to find a consistent time and place to work on your skills. You could practice while eating a meal or while on the treadmill at the gym. It doesn't have to be complicated, just make a point to work it into your daily routine!
3. MAKE NOTECARDS:
My German Professor says that "A new language has to be drilled into your head." Repetition, repetition, repetition... When you first start speaking in a different language it sounds weird and feels different. After constantly saying these words over and over, they become familiar and sound more normal. With me and my horrible memory, notecards are the perfect way to quiz myself. I went to the store and bought two multi-colored packs of cards (I bought the half sized cards... I always try to save paper when I can - plus they are cheaper!) I bought multi-colored packs because it helps me organize the different categories of words (verbs, pronouns, nouns, ect.)
4. Make a playlist:
Do you have an iphone, ipod, or mp3 player? Good! There are countless language audio files out there just waiting to be downloaded. Make yourself a playlist and listen to it while you do chores or while you drive to work. I have a German playlist that I have downloaded onto my phone and I play it when I am driving my car. I make sure to talk loud and clear when I am by myself so the neighbors think I'm crazy...
5. There's an App for That!!
Sometimes you just need a little help remembering a word or a phrase. For me it's ALWAYS der, die or das? - those learning German can I get an Amen?! Whatever language you are learning, there are dozens of apps to enhance your learning experience. Check out your app store and see what is available for you!
I hope these tips help you in your new and exciting learning adventures. I will be posting more tips by the end of my next Deutsch class. Until then....