How to speak German like a native
German counts around 220 million speakers and is the 11th most-spoken language in the world. Did you know? Unlike English, the German language capitalises every single noun.
Converse expertly in German
With approximately 220 million speakers worldwide, German is one of the most widely-spoken languages on the planet. Plus, it's spoken in more places than you might think: not only is it the official language of Germany and Austria, but it is also one of the official languages of Switzerland, too. There are even numerous German speakers in destinations as far flung as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay! It's not surprising then that it's a popular language choice for Brits who want to travel and do business all around Europe and the world. But, it is a tricky language to learn, with a complicated case system full of gendered adjective endings and a vocabulary based on ever expanding compound nouns (the word for science is Naturwissenschaften, for example). Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list recommendations to help you speak the German language.
Looking for tips on how to speak German?
- Start with useful words and phrases
- Start speaking it every day
- Watch German films or listen to German podcasts
- Use an interactive learning tool
- Be prepared to make mistakes!
Tips to help you speak German
Learn German all day, every day On the subject of smartphones, you might not realise how easy it is to switch your language settings. Most people pick up their phones around 100 times a day, so you might well be pleasantly surprised at how many new words you learn just by changing your notifications to German. Pro tip: as well as your phone's internal settings, why not see if you can set your social media, games and other apps to German language too?
Watch German TV series You heard correctly. Many people think learning a language means spending hours poring over textbooks, but that's far from the only way to improve your knowledge. You can make learning fun by incorporating it into things you enjoy, like watching TV or movies. You could add German subtitles to your favourite shows, or even better, watch German programmes or listen to a radio station to help you master your German pronunciation. If that's not your thing, you could flick through a German newspaper or magazine. You could even try a novel, although you might want to start off with a children's book or young adult fiction.
Follow German language-learning podcasts Podcasts are another invaluable tool when it comes to learning how to speak German. There are many educational podcasts available dedicated to language learning, made by professional teachers and other experts, including the BBC. These allow you to listen to real German conversations but at a slower pace, allowing you to get to grips with the language. If you're out and about and don't want to practise your German out loud, putting on your headphones and listening to a podcast instead is the ideal alternative.
The power of post-its Never underestimate the power of the post-it note. Whenever you learn a new word in German, write it down on a post-it note and stick it somewhere you will see it regularly, like on your bedroom wall. These visual cues are very useful as they jog your memory every time you see them, helping you to better retain your new knowledge. If your whole house ends up a sea of yellow sticky paper, that's even better - your brain will subconsciously take the information in, even if you don't realise it at the time!
Conversing with a German native It’s well known that listening to and speaking regularly is the best way to improve your language skills. This can be tricky if you're studying by yourself, but it's far from impossible. These days, a German conversation partner is just a click away! Language exchange websites are places where you can find a native speaker to practise your language with, usually on the condition that you help them with their English, too. This quid-pro-quo style of learning is easy and fun, and you might even make a new friend out of it. Think of your German buddy as a pen pal, but instead of writing letters to each other, you can talk on Skype or chat over the phone instead.
Discover German with Babbel
Not everyone has the time to attend classes, but that doesn't you can't learn German - Babbel allows to you take language lessons at home, in your own time. Why Babbel? For one thing, your course will be customised just for you, based on your interests and native language. It's been developed by language experts, using cognitive techniques that are proven to help you remember German words and phrases as you learn them. Using real-life conversations, Babbel also encourages you to start speaking from your very first lesson - the Babbel method is one of the fastest ways out there to get speaking another language with confidence.
- Content crafted by 150 expert language teachers.
- Flexible German lessons designed around real-world situations.
- 15 hours of Babbel is equivalent to a semester of German at university.
- Voice recognition technology that guides your accent and pronunciation.
Babbel is excellent value for money, too - you can enjoy a professional learning experience for less money per month than you'd spend on a latte with a flexible subscription of 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. The Babbel app is available for both Android and IOS, meaning you can learn on the move, and all of your lessons and learning progress are synced to the cloud, so you can pick up where you left off on any device.