5 fun and playfull ways how I study German

Posted on July 11 2024 by Katja in Language Studies / 0 Comments

Learning a language can be a lot of fun!

I like learning languages, but I never really liked the way we studied it at school. I’d rather not spend my time with my nose in a study book. It depends on the study book however, but most of the time it’s a no from me. In fact, when I took English in high school, I didn’t understand what I was learning. After class I didn’t remember anything the teacher told me and I got low grades. The low grades only changed when I started taking up English myself. Watching TV shows in a pre-Netflix era, so no subtitles, and then not understanding half of it. But hey, then I would simply watch that season again. I picked up English children’s books, listened to audio, and had conversations with people who had already mastered the language. Within a few years I was fluent and now it is my second language. I even work for various international companies and volunteer for an organisation in the UK.

It’s my dream to become fluent or close to fluent in five or more languages! German was the first language I learned after Dutch and it is crazy that I still don’t master that language as well as you would expect from someone who has lived in Germany twice in her life, and spent most of her life living right next to the border. Although I must say that my reading skills are at C1 level, I understand at B2 (the dialects and accents sometimes make it difficult for me), writing (if given the time) is between B1 and B2 and finally speaking… Sometimes I throw out B2 lines, but for the most part I get stuck on B1.

However, as long as I put in the effort, I know my language skills will keep on improving. In this blog I present the five ways I study the German language.

1. Listen to an audiobook and read the book at the same time
I started doing this when I wanted to see my pace increase (quickly). Within one chapter I was reading German much more smoothly than before. I started at a speed of 0.5, not much later I picked up the language well and was able to go to 0.75. After two chapters I was at 1 aka normal speed.
After this session I picked up a manga in German and read it without audio, the speed I suddenly had was nothing compared to how I read German before that study session. I had trained my brain to read German faster, but also to read with better comprehension. It ensures that you become familiar with the sounds and rhythm of the language.

2. Watch German movies with German subtitles
Germany releases a lot of films and series, so there is always something I like to watch. Watching German movies with German subtitles was actually the first way I picked up the language before I started with audiobooks. I’ve been watching German films and series all my life, so it felt logical to continue with that. Plus it’s so nice to see the difference between American, British and even Dutch productions compared to German productions. But that might be the culture nerd in me.

3. Reading manga
Did you know that comics have a higher unique word count than the average novel? There are several studies that confirm this. It’s great that manga have been published in German for a long time and are often even faster in translation than the English ones. In fact, in Germany the comics can be found in bookstores and you do not have to go to a comic book store (I mean you can, and I assure you, they are a lot of fun!). I now read several manga series in German and have acquired a higher vocabulary this way. 

4. Having conversations with my German friends
At the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 I lived in Berlin and there I made German-speaking friends. Depending on the setting, only German was spoken and I learned so much from that. Particularly in the field of listening skills. One of my friends made me summarise the conversations in English to check whether I actually understood the conversations that were being had. She helped me when I was completely confused and taught me new words. I picked up the different accents and here and there my answers were in German. It takes a lot of time, but it is so worth it and it actually adds to your speaking skills. I think the German language is so stiff in a textbook, which is such a shame because the German language dances to a delicate rhythm.

5. A trip to Germany
I am very aware that this is not feasible for everyone. That is why there is “I” in the title of this blog. But I try to plan trips to Germany on a regular basis. From day trips to holidays. Visiting friends or going out on my own.
I learn a language well when I am surrounded by it. I will never forget the time I spent in Paris and after a few days I picked up French without any difficulty.
From small German villages to big cities, they all have their own charm. And there is also a lot to discover in the country thanks to its diverse landscape and subcultures. In addition, I really like that life is a little less “on” compared to the Netherlands. So I also like to go to Germany for some rest and in that rest I learn a lot in the meantime. There are plenty of moments to practise the language and most Germans also take the time when they notice that you put time and effort into the language.

You can learn German in a lot of ways, but these are some of my favourites. The only thing missing is listening to music. I have a number of favourite artists and that also helps me to hear the language regularly without having to deal with the language directly.

How do you prefer to learn a language?


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.