German Language

6 Reasons to Learn German Language.

Learning a new foreign language has some obvious advantages, but why should you choose German? This particular language can be an excellent choice for variety reasons (economical, cultural, political and even person) and some of them are listed in the article bellow.

1. Large Number of Speakers in Europe.

large-number-of-german-speakersIn terms of numbers, German doesn’t have as many speakers as languages like Chinese or English. However it is very significant language in Europe where it is the second most spoken and also a language with the most native speakers. A total number of speakers is close to 230 million (101 native and 128 million second language), which makes German the 10-th most spoken language in the world. Due to a large number of speakers in EU, German is quite commonly considered as Lingua Franca in Eastern and Central Europe.

It has an official language status in eight different countries including Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and a few others. So if you are planning to study, live, work or travel in Europe, German should definitely be in your list of foreign languages to learn.

2. There are a lot of Similarities with English.

The other reason to learn German is that it is relatively easy to learn. Some of the most commonly heard stereotypes about German is that it has very long words, grammar is very complicated and difficult to learn and etc. All this is more or less true; however there are quite a lot of aspects that make learning this foreign language an easy task too.

German is part of Indo European language family and it belongs to West Germanic Branch. There are a total of three languages in this branch – German, English as well as Dutch. German is considered to be the closest to Dutch (~75% of vocabulary is similar), while English is considered to be not as close (~40% of vocabulary). Since quite a lot of words in both German and English have the same Germanic roots it is quite easy to learn new vocabulary. In most cases English speakers can easily guess the meaning of German words.

Also as you might know German doesn’t have specific alphabet (like Arabic, Hindi, Chinese and etc.) so you will be able to read and write in this foreign language without too much trouble. Of course there are a few additional letters in the alphabet like ß and letters with umlauts, but it won’t take too long to learn.

3. More Business and Job Opportunities.

learn-german-for-jobSince Germany is the 4-rth largest economy in the world (1-st in EU), learning this foreign language can be very beneficial for business purposes. Not only that, but Germany is among top countries when it comes to imports and exports. Based on 2015 statistics, Germany imported goods worth of 1050 million USD (third in the world after USA and China). The same year exports of this country accounted for 1329 million USD, which made it the 3-rd largest exporter in the world. Some of the most commonly exported goods are pharmaceuticals, machinery, industrial equipment and etc. Due to the fact that businesses in Germany are highly dependent on exports, knowledge of foreign languages is very important in the job market too. As it was mentioned earlier German is spoken in other countries that have large economies too, which makes this language even more important when doing business or seeking for a job.

It is also worthwhile to mention that quite a lot of German companies (Bosch, BMW, Siemens, Bayer and etc.) create a large number of jobs in US. Also USA companies do the same in Germany. Close business relationships between these countries create more job opportunities for people who study German. It is quite obvious that knowing this foreign language can be a great advantage when seeking for job in German based company over the candidates who doesn’t.

4. Tourism and Traveling.

german-touristIf you work in an area that is closely related to tourism, most likely you have encountered travelers who speak German. As it was mentioned earlier Germany (and other countries speaking this language) has one of the strongest economies in the world so it is quite normal that people in these countries tend to travel a lot. So learning German can be very beneficial for people those job is associated with tourists. It is always a great advantage to communicate with tourists in their native language and ensure that their visit is pleasant.

Learning German can be also advantageous for people who like to travel for themselves. Since German is one of the most widely understood languages in Europe, knowing this language can be very helpful when traveling in this continent. You would be able to communicate with local people more efficiently, learn more about their traditions & customs, find friends and etc.

5. Access to Rich Culture Heritage.

Throughout the years quite a lot of achievements in literature, science, music and etc. were conceived by Germans. Some of the best classical music from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven was created by people who speaks this language.

When it comes to science probably one of the most well-known German scientists is Einstein who among many achievements created the General Theory of Relativity.

You are probably also familiar with books from Herman Hesse, Goethe, The Brothers Grimm and etc. Nowadays book market in German is considered to be the third largest in the world. So by learning German you would be able to read plenty of literature in its original language.

6. Ability to study Abroad.

study-in-germanyGermany, Austria and Switzerland are attractive and favorable places to study for most students. These countries offer high quality education and quite a lot of universities in these countries have high rankings in the world. Many students choose to study in Germany because this country is one of the leaders in technology industries and science.

Also it is worthwhile to mention that Germany makes subsidies available for students who study abroad, which makes it even more favorable destination for studying. So if you want to study in Germany, Switzerland, Austria or other German speaking country learning this foreign language becomes almost essential.

Best ways to learn German Language.

How to choose a best way to learn?

Due to the fact that German is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn you can find plenty of ways that you can start or continue learning. What is the best way for you to learn will depend on a few things. First of all it depends on what level you need to achieve with this language. For those who are learning German for traveling purposes it might be enough to find free lessons online like on YouTube. It will be enough to learn some phrases that are the most needed to get around in a foreign country. The other option would be to buy, rent a book for beginners or one level of online course that are mentioned in this website. For people who are learning this language for job opportunities, studying abroad it might be a good idea to look for classes, language schools or advanced online course.

While choosing the best way for you to learn it is also important to know what type of learner you are. This is crucial factor since if you don’t know your learning style you might choose the wrong way to study and you might get frustrated soon and even abandon German learning fast. So for example if you are an audible learner look for audio lessons, podcasts or courses that includes them as one of the components. And in case you are a visual learner avoid audio based material and find some video or written material like flashcards, video lessons, books, games, software’s and etc.

There other thing to consider while choosing the best way to learn is of course your budget for learning and time you can dedicate. Language classes & schools and private tutors can help you achieve more advanced level with German; however they are also very expensive. Also not everyone has the time to attend classes regularly or go abroad to study. For people who doesn’t have huge budget or simply can’t dedicate much time for learning the best way to study might be online courses, books and free resources.

Ways to learn German language.

Study via books.

There are quite a lot of books that can help you start learning German easier especially if you are just starting. You can find plenty of them on Amazon cheaply that are aimed at teaching you speaking, grammar, phrases or words. If you don’t have a budget for studying I am quite sure that you can find some books to borrow from a library.

1. German grammar (Quickstudy: Academic).

This is a quick study guide to German grammar. It is only 4 pages long so it’s not a complete book on grammar, however it is quite useful to have somewhere around you if you want to remember something quickly. It includes alphabet, numbers, nouns, pronouns, passive voice, imperative, rules on word order and etc. There are additional tables for learning vocabulary too, which you can also find on Amazon.

2. The Everything Learning German Book: Speak, write, and understand basic German in no time.

This book is aimed at everyone who is just starting to learn. It has a total of 304 pages that include easy to understand lessons, workouts to practice what you have learned and a CD to practice your pronunciation. It is a great self-study book that you can use in addition to classes or online courses. When you finish this book, there is also a second phase which can take your learning to a next level.


3. German: How to Speak and Write it (Beginner’ Guides).

This is also a great beginner book that can teach you basic grammar rules, vocabulary. As well as that there are quite a lot of interesting facts about this language and native people along with photographs included. It has a total of 384 pages, so it’s a good value for money too. However it is a bit outdated and some learners might find it not appealing.

Although these books are quite cheap they are also quite limited too. So if you want to achieve more advanced level with this language it might be a better idea to consider an online course from the beginning.

Study via free resources.

There are also a few free websites that can help you with your learning. The first one is Memrise. It is a free website where you can find short courses for different languages and topics. The lessons are quite interactive and fun, since they come along with pictures. The thing that I liked the most about it that you learn points when you complete a lesson. So it is great for keeping your motivation high while learning. The second one is Duolingo. It is also a free website that is similar to Memrise and can help you learn some basic vocabulary; improve your pronunciation and etc.

Also you can look for beginner lessons on YouTube. There are quite a lot of video material available, simply search for keywords like German lessonsGerman lessons for beginners and etc. In addition to that you can look on Google search engine for some material. There are quite a lot of free websites offering grammar explanations, lists of vocabulary along with pronunciation and etc.

Learn via online courses.

When it comes to online courses there are quite a lot of them available for German language. The prices range from $50-$400 depending on how many levels you will need. One of the most popular ones are Rocket, Fluenz, Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur. All of them offers different features and are aimed for different type of learners. So if you are interested in finding more about each of them you can find detailed reviews in this website.

Learning German: is it difficult?

What you should know about German language.

German is considered to be the most popular language in EU with almost 100 million speakers and it’s an official language not only of Germany, but also of Liechtenstein and Austria. In addition to that it’s one of the official languages of countries like Luxembourg and Switzerland. There are also quite big speaker communities in some parts of Italy, Belgium as well as South and North America. It belongs to West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family, just like Dutch and English.

The written form of this language is quite similar in all speaking countries. For example the difference between Germany and Austria written form, could be compared to USA and UK (English). However when it comes to speaking there are many dialects, which either belongs to High or Low German dialectal groups. The official written language is based on High dialect and it’s spoken in the central and southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Low dialect is mostly spoken in northern Germany and has no official written form. The main difference you will notice between these dialects is in the sound system (mostly in consonants).

How difficult it is to learn?

In general it is considered to be quite difficult to learn for English speakers. What makes it difficult is the fact that there are quite a lot of long words, which requires much effort to pronounce them correctly. For example the longest word in everyday use, according Guinness book is “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften“, those meaning in English is “insurance companies providing legal protection”. Also numbers in German makes very long words, for example to say or write 4254 you would need to use a total of 36 letters – “Viertausendzweihundertvierundfünfzig“. Watch a short humorous video bellow about how some German words are different compared to other languages.

Other aspects that contribute to being it a hard language to learn is that it has 4 cases for nouns, pronouns and adjectives (nominative, genitive, accusative and dative). In addition most Latin languages usually have two genders; however German has a total of 3, which are masculine (der), feminite (die) and neuter (das). However don’t be confused it’s only grammatical and in some cases doesn’t reflect a real-life object gender. For example “das Mädchen”, which is a “girl” uses neuter form as well as “das Weib”, which is “female”. When it comes to tenses there are a total of basic 6 verb forms. The two simple verb tenses are called present and simple past. The other 4 are considered to be compound and needs a helping verb and an infinite or particle to make them. These are: future, present perfect, past perfect and future perfect. So we could say that when it comes to tenses it’s not that complicated as with languages like French, which has a total of 17. German also has so called moods, which are used to show a speakers attitude. These are: indicative, subjunctive, imperative.

Although it has quite complicated grammar don’t get discouraged yet, because there are a few aspects that makes German also easy to learn for English speakers. Due to the fact that both of these languages belong to the same group of Germanic languages they share a lot of similarities. You will find quite a lot of vocabulary that is almost the same. There are a lot of words that have the same pronunciation and meaning although they have different spelling. A couple of these examples are: mouse – maus and house – haus.

Also learning German might be easier for people who are familiar with Dutch language. These two languages have a lot of similarities so on the contrary by knowing English and German together you would also be able read and even understand a little of a spoken Dutch too.

Some additional facts about German Language.learn-german

  • The alphabet includes a total of 30 letters, where some of the additional letters are ä, ö, ü and ß. The dots on the 3 first letters are called umlauts. The umlauts aren’t optional like in French therefore they are considered as unique letters in the alphabet. You could say that the ß is not a real letter, since it’s just a way of writing lowercase double “s”.
  • The letter “R” in the alphabet has a very distinct pronunciation from other languages, where “R” is pronounced from the back of the throat.
  • “W” sound in the alphabet is more similar to English “V” (“W” sound doesn’t exist in German)
  • It is the second most used language of the internet and the third most thought in the world after English and French.
  • At some point in the history it almost became an official language of USA (English won by only vote).
  • Be careful taking gifts from native people. A word “gift” in English has a totally different meaning, which is “poison”.