8 tips for learning German quickly

Here are 8 tips to help you learn German quickly!

Are you planning a trip to Germany, or have you just landed your dream job with a German company? The problem is that you don’t (yet) have a good command of German. You may have acquired some rudimentary knowledge during your school years. But that’s far from enough. So you’d like to quickly learn the basics you need to be able to understand and make yourself understood in German.

German may have a reputation for being a difficult language, but it’s one of the most widely spoken in the European Union. Learning and mastering it will undoubtedly open many doors for you.

There are many ways to succeed. Generation Voyage reveals eight tips for learning German the easy, effective and fun way.

1. Take courses to learn the basics

Apprendre l'Allemand : Prendre des cours pour acquérir les bases

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Rido

Unlike other Latin languages close to French, German has its own specific characteristics that can’t be improvised (grammar, sentence structure, declensions). So, whether you’re a polyglot or a language nerd, you’ll find it hard to avoid learning the basics of the German language.

Among the many resources available, the French training organization Lingueo, certified by Qualiopi and OPQF, offers many advantages, both educational and economical, for learning German at your own pace and according to your own desires:

  • Private videoconferencing lessons, available whenever and wherever you want (24/7);
  • A selection of native and certified language teachers;
  • A certificate at the end of the course;
  • Up to 100% financing of your training with your CPF account, if you are employed or looking for work.

2. Practicing German while traveling

Conseils pour apprendre l'allemand : voyager

Photo credit: Shutterstock – sebra

Travel is undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. Why not combine business with pleasure by planning a trip to Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, to boost your German?

What’s more, did you know that the affective dimension influences our learning process? In other words, the greater your affinity for the German language, the greater your chances of making rapid progress in German. Choose total immersion stays to optimize your chances of practicing the language and discovering the local culture more authentically and in greater depth.

Whether you’re staying with a local, sharing a flat or couchsurfing, there are plenty of ways to meet up with locals without breaking the bank. To help you make the most of your trip, here are 24 German words and expressions to learn before you leave.

3. Find a German-speaking tandem

Trouver un tandem germanophone

Photo credit: Shutterstock – fizkes

Is your budget or schedule not compatible with organizing a trip to Germany? The tandem is THE solution for practicing and learning German from the comfort of your sofa or the local café.

Based on cultural discovery and reciprocity, the « tandem » principle is simple: enable two people with different mother tongues to practice each other’s language, through regular exchanges.

You have several options for finding the German-speaking tandem of your dreams:

  • Networking platforms such as Meetup ;
  • Language exchange applications like Tandem ;
  • Social networks (Facebook groups focusing on travel and/or cultural exchanges).

4. Watch movies in German

Regarder des films en allemand

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Andrey_Popov

Fans of cinema in its original version know: watching a film in V.O. is the best way to grasp the cultural and linguistic subtleties of a work. It’s also a fun, enjoyable way to make progress in the target foreign language, without too much apparent effort.

Are you already having a Kopfkino (imagining the worst about a situation, in an exaggerated way) at the thought of watching a film in German? Start by selecting the French subtitles, then move on to the higher levels (German subtitles, then the German version without subtitles) as soon as you’re more comfortable.

Our neighbor on the other side of the Rhine has produced a number of cinematic nuggets worth discovering. To find out more, discover our selection of the eight best films for learning German.

5. Listen to German podcasts

Ecouter des podcasts allemands

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alex SG

Listening to podcasts is another great way to train your brain to understand the German language. The short format of podcasts allows you to immerse yourself in the German language on a daily basis, on your way to work, during your lunch break, or comfortably seated in a deckchair when you’re on vacation!

Give yourself a moment of relaxation every day by listening to a podcast. You’ll train your ear for a long time to come, and your initial apprehensions will be a distant memory. The following podcasts are particularly geared towards learning German:

  • Coffee Break German combines German lessons with anecdotes about life in Germany, its culture, gastronomy and traditions. For beginners;
  • A Flavour of German focuses on idiomatic expressions and German phrases associated with all kinds of subjects. Perfect for intermediate learners in a hurry who want to improve their conversational German;
  • The Easy German Podcast, aimed at more advanced levels, aims to introduce non-native speakers to everyday German, through discussions and micro-trots on a variety of entertaining topics.

6. Reading in German

Apprendre l'allemand : Lire

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Eigenblau

Thanks to your regular and assiduous practice of the language, you’re (finally!) beginning to express yourself in German with the confidence you’ve been lacking. Sehr gut! But what about your writing skills, which are essential for day-to-day communication with your tandem, friends or German-speaking colleagues?

As mentioned above, the German language differs from French in its structure, grammar and notorious declensions, which may not be obvious to non-German speakers. To understand how the language works and improve your writing skills, there’s nothing better than reading regularly in German. Why not?

  • Reread your childhood classics in their original version, such as the Grimm fairy tales (Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood…), if you’re a beginner;
  • Discover the German versions of leading online magazines;
  • Follow the websites of popular German bloggers or influencers (such as Marie Nasemann – blog on ethical fashion, Anna Schunck and Marcus Werner – webzine on sustainable living or Faktastich – webzine on « useless knowledge »);
  • Read the German press and/or « devour » the various volumes of the detective story Kommissar Kluftinger (« Klufti »), as famous and popular with Germans as Colombo was with Americans.

7. Progress through applications

Apprendre l'allemand : Progresser grâce aux applications

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NicoElNino

Apps have been revolutionizing foreign language learning for several years now. Interactive, educational and fun, they have the advantage of allowing users to learn while having fun. They will be particularly useful for learning German if :

  • Learning German is a chore for you;
  • You’re not receptive to traditional language courses;
  • You don’t have much time to devote to learning German on a daily basis;
  • Through other learning methods, you’ve reached a « plateau » that you’d like to go beyond.

For example, the following applications will help you improve your German quickly, if you use them regularly:

8. Relax: learning German is within your reach!

Keep calm

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Khakimullin Aleksandr

To master Goethe’s language, forget any preconceptions you may have about German. As with any other foreign language, learning German requires motivation, consistency and practice. No more, no less!

Take a positive approach to this new challenge. Adopt methods that respect your pace, your goals and your interests, bearing in mind that a few minutes of learning every day will be far more effective than half a day at irregular intervals.

Dare to take the first step towards your German-speaking interlocutors, starting with short sentences, and without focusing too much on your accent or grammar. A brief exchange, even a rough one, is always better than an embarrassed silence. You’ll see that the Germans – who tend to be French-speaking – will appreciate your efforts enormously!