Each German lesson centers on a practical, real-life conversation. You’ll hear this conversation at natural native speed and then learn carefully selected vocabulary and grammar concepts in context.
Most German nouns have a masculine, feminine or neuter article and require the appropriate gender ending. There are some guidelines that can help you choose the correct article 9 times out of 10. Learn these together, and they’ll become second nature.
German grammar can be intimidating, especially when you’re just getting started. But the good news is, that doesn’t have to be the case. The key is to learn grammatical concepts in small, manageable pieces so they can stick. Then, you can apply them to your daily conversation and reading.
For example, the first hurdle for most English speakers is understanding German’s four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. These are a necessary part of sentence structure in German, and they affect the articles (a/an/the in English) as well as word endings. It’s also important to memorize the genders of nouns, as well as their grammatical forms.
Another challenge is that there are many conjugations for German verbs, and they’re often learned by heart. Fortunately, there are some tricks to help you remember these, including using a die made of cardboard or wood labeled ich, du, er, sie, es for a quick reference guide.
As you get more practice with each of the four German skills—listening, speaking, reading and writing—you’ll notice patterns and start to understand grammar rules naturally. This makes it easier to incorporate German grammar into your daily conversations and make it feel like second nature. With a little effort, you’ll be surprised by how much of the essential grammar you can pick up in just a few lessons.
A key part of any language is the vocabulary, and German is no exception. Many learners are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new words they must learn, but focusing on learning those that are most useful and relevant can help you move forward faster.
Many of the new German words you will encounter are cognates — those that sound very similar to English words with the same meaning. Taking advantage of these words can help you understand conversations and figure out pronunciation more quickly.
Another way to build your vocabulary is by watching movies, TV shows and listening to music in German. These can also be helpful in familiarizing you with the pronunciation and intonation of German, as well as helping you practice your speaking skills. Many online language learning programs, such as FluentU, use authentic videos (from movie trailers to music to news to inspiring talks) as German learning lessons.
You must also pay attention to the differences between singular and plural forms of nouns, verbs and adjectives. The word for “you” in German is either “du” or “ihr,” depending on whether it is used in the singular or the plural. There are precise grammatical rules for conjugating verbs that use these pronouns.
Other common words to learn are nouns such as blau (blue), grau (gray), weiß (white) and grün (green). Pronunciation-related vocabulary includes the German r, which sounds very different from the English r, as well as the hard and soft ch sounds that can be combined into one sound that is similar to an x or z in other languages.
Nouns and Articles
German articles are words like “a”, “an” and “the”. They precede nouns that can be people, places or things. These words tell you a lot about the noun they precede, including its number and gender. German articles are often confusing, but it’s possible to learn them.
The first step is to always remember the article alongside any new noun you’re learning – this will make it much easier to remember. For example, when you learn the word for book (Buch), always say das Buch to yourself. Secondly, try to use the noun and its article together as frequently as possible, especially in sentences. This will help you form patterns, which are a great way to learn anything.
Another great trick is to look at the noun’s ending. If it ends in -chen, -ium, -tum, -lein or -o, then the noun is neuter and agrees with the article das. This will solve approximately 50% of your article and noun gender problems!
Lastly, don’t forget that compound nouns often determine their own gender. For example, the noun ’Hund’ is masculine, while the noun ’Geschirr’ is feminine. It’s important to keep this in mind when learning German, as it can help you understand the rules governing the gender of words and articles.
Many German learners struggle with pronunciation. This is mostly because German has some sounds that aren’t familiar to English speakers. For example, the German r has a different sound to it than the English r and there are several German vowels that sound quite different from their English counterparts. There are also a few special letters like umlauts and the German CH (in words such as chat, cheeseburger or checken) that can cause problems for learners.
The good news is that with a little practice, you can overcome these difficulties. It’s a matter of creating new pathways in your brain and for these to become habitual, you have to repeat the correct sounds often. It may seem boring, but that’s the best way to learn how to pronounce German words correctly.
Learning German with video lessons is a great way to improve your pronunciation as you listen to native speakers speak and imitate their sounds. Some video language learning programs, such as FluentU, even use authentic German movies, music and inspiring talks to provide you with lessons. This allows you to hear the sounds of German in a natural context and helps to keep them fresh in your memory. Additionally, you can watch video lessons again in PDF format using Time Spaced Repetition to help improve your retention and recall.German lessons