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Ich möchte meinem Deutsch praktizieren

This sentence is apparently wrong because it’s practice like a doctor. So do I need to use üben? Is it correct to say the following?

Ich möchte mein Deutsch üben?

And does üben govern accusative? Does praktizieren always govern dative?

  • Note that Deutsch is neuter and it is thus mein Deutsch. – Jan Nov 8 '16 at 12:54
  • "to practice" and "praktizieren" are false friends. Use "üben" instead. "praktizieren" is almost exclusively used in the sense "exercise a profession", where profession is Physician, Laywer or some such. – Ingo Nov 8 '16 at 19:35
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If you want to say something like: I want to practice my German, in the meaning of read/speak/write German in a realistic context as opposed to studying German in class, I don't think there is a direct equivalent for the word "practice" in the German language.

You could say specifically what you want to do, for instance: Ich möchte mein Deutsch verbessern, indem ich Tatort schaue (I would like to improve my German by watching Tatort). Or if you want it a bit more general, something like: Ich möchte Deutsch im Alltag verwenden, um meine Sprachkenntnisse zu verbessern. (I would like to use German in everyday life in order to improve my language skills.)

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As you already figured out yourself (and the others pointed out as well) praktizieren does not mean to practice but merely to simply do something.

Besides verbessern (improve) I suggest trainieren as in

Ich möchte mein Deutsch trainieren.

It covers all of improving, practicing and preventing it from getting rusty.

  • Will your German be able to jump high or run fast afterwards? – Carsten S Nov 7 '16 at 22:51
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    @CarstenS LOL. Both. Are you telling „trainieren“ is inappropriate in this context? I doubt that. – PerlDuck Nov 8 '16 at 12:08
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Ich praktiziere etwas

Etwas praktizieren steht also immer im Akkusativ

Praktizieren ist zu vergleichen mit ausüben, man praktiziert also eine Tätigkeit

Ich glaube, das Wort, das du suchst, ist verbessern

"Etwas praktizieren" is accusative, you can compare it with "to do something", you might want to use the word "verbessern", which is practically a verb for getting better at something

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    "Ich glaube, das Wort, das du suchst, ist verbessern" - what is wrong with üben as suggested by the OP? While the intended effect is certainly an improvement of skills, the activity that causes this effect is simply üben, and it is completely idiomatic to say "Ich möchte Deutsch üben." (without the possessive pronoun, though). – O. R. Mapper Nov 7 '16 at 14:14
  • In this case, the possesive pronoun is right (Ich möchte mein Deutsch üben), when talking about Deutsch without the pronoun, one is normally talking about the school subject "Deutsch", which is why it's usually combined with "lernen", because one is learning in school. Anyways, üben is usually used when practicing for something (for example a competition), which is why it kind of sounds weird saying "Ich möchte mein Deutsch üben." You will rather hear phrases like "Ich übe für den Test morgen" or "Hast du schon für deine Präsentation geübt?" – DLIK Nov 7 '16 at 14:48
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    As a native German speaker, I disagree with most of your points. "Ich möchte Deutsch üben." sounds like practicing German as a foreign language, not necessarily related to the school subject. "Ich möchte mein Deutsch üben." sounds weird not because it would be related to a competition of some kind (it isn't - not sure how you get that idea), but because it's the language you practice, not your skill. When you improve something, it's not the language German, it's your [mastery of] German. When you practice something, on the other hand, it's [the language] German. To me, "Ich möchte ... – O. R. Mapper Nov 7 '16 at 15:02
  • ... mein Deutsch üben." sounds like something between "got carried away while trying to build a well-phrased sentence" and "They want to practice their personal fantasy variant of German." As for your examples, "Ich lerne für den Test morgen." works equally well, and the only reason why "Hast du schon für deine Präsentation gelernt?" sounds a bit weird is because "learning" (the assimilation of knowledge) is not normally the primary concern for giving a talk. – O. R. Mapper Nov 7 '16 at 15:04
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Practising something to get a better grip of it, e.g. playing a musical instrument to be prepared for the concert, solving mathematical equations to perform better in your exam or memorising your part in a play, is always translated by the word üben. Üben implies doing something repeatedly to perform better. Thus, if you want to practise your German, the verb is the correct choice:

Ich möchte mein Deutsch üben.

Etwas üben always requires accusative.

Instead of using üben there are other, similar words with slightly different connotations such as etwas{Akk} trainieren, etwas{Akk} verbessern and others.


The verb etwas{Akk} praktizieren also governs accusative. Thus, a more correct version of your first sentence would be:

*Ich möchte mein Deutsch praktizieren.

I marked this with an asterisk because while it may be grammatically sound it is not idiomatic in any way. Praktizieren in German only means to practise in the sense of to perform, to pursue. Thus, perfectly idiomatic usage would be:

Ich bin praktizierender Arzt.
I practise medicine.

There is also a non-loaned word that has the same meaning: ausüben.

More strictly than in English, praktizieren (or ausüben) are almost exclusively used to refer to professions. And the usage of etwas praktizieren (i.e. with the accusative object) is even more rare.

Ich praktizieren meinen Beruf schon seit zwanzig Jahren.

(I am still somewhat inclined to add an asterisk here.)

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