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What is a good way to start learning German?

What is the best way -in your opinion- to learn German on my own? I have been trying a lot to learn but still suggestions from native German speakers or people who are fluent in German may help.

  • i was born there. probably the best way ;)
    – Baarn
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 15:02
  • on a serious note: try to find someone to talk to
    – Baarn
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 15:02
  • 1
    Hallo und Willkommen auf GLU! We do already have quite a few questions on that topic (e.g. this one). Maybe you also find good answers in other related questions that you will find in the list on the right side or by searching for the tag "learning".
    – Takkat
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 15:14
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    @WalterMaier-Murdnelch I've been living n studying in Germany from 2 years now, but the problem is I dun need german for my studies or whatever.. So everyone talks in English.. n I'm not so confident as well, so I prefer speaking in English.
    – carora3
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 15:51

5 Answers 5


Usually German natives have a tendency to speak English when they get the chance...

Watch films, try to meet poeple and don't be shy to remind them that you want to train your German. If you know German natives, go to movies with them (after a good film hardly anyone talks English about what they've seen)

Not being confident is natural try to speak German as often as possible - you always have the safety-net of using english.

Wird schon schiefgehen! Alles Gute!


I learned German on my own (or better say, I have been learning it already for 10 years).

The best way to learn any language is to forget all other languages you possess and start thinking directly in this language. Don't try to memorize German words by their similarity with the English ones (German "ich darf" and English "I dare" might seem similar, but in the reality they are not!). Don't try to find some similarities in grammar (German perfect tense "Ich habe gelesen" is similar to English "I have read", but it is often used in cases where in English you'd never use a perfect tense, like "Gestern habe ich meinen Bus verpasst" != "Yesterday I have missed (??) my bus").

The best way to learn any language is to be forced to speak this language at all times, when you are tired, drowsy, sitting in the dentist's chair with you mouth wide opened and after 4 bottles of beer. When during small operation at a dentist it suddenly started to bleed frantically my doctor, most likely because of anxiety, just fell back into his local German dialect (Schwabisch) trying to explain me what to do. It was a real challenge for me to keep understanding him, for I couldn't say any word back due to local anesthesia and immobilization of my jaw.

The best way to learn any language is to have a high motivation to do it. As long as you have a German girl- or boyfriend (who also refuses to speak any other language but German) you'll learn it with speed velocity. Apart from flirting the German friend can also be useful to correct your language mistakes. If this not not an option find something you'd love to get via German: the book of a famous German author, famous German film etc. You can boast later to your friends that you managed to read Nitsche in original.

This is how I learn languages. English was my 3rd language to learn. German was the 7th language I started from scratch when I was 23. Just be motivated and you'll master everything.

  • Thanks for the motivational words.. Oder Soll ich sagen "Danke für dein motivational wörter"..
    – carora3
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 23:09
  • Ich würde schreiben "Danke für Deine motivierenden Wörter" oder noch besser "... für Deine ermutigenden Wörter", oder einfach "Danke für Ermutigung!", so klingt es besser auf Deutsch ;-) Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 23:13
  • I like your sentence 'The best way to learn any language is to forget all other languages'. Unless you start thinking in that language, you can't succeed i believe. Translating everything is ok if you want to understand the meaning but don't look for translations to all sentences. Personally I have the gift of 'not worrying about translation' and thinking of the meaning of a sentence in the same language. I believe it helps a lot. I have seen people who think in English and talk German and i don't find that cool. Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 13:50

From my experience, I would recommend german-flashcards for learning, I found this really useful as you receive a word-of-the-day with an example sentence everyday.

good luck

  • Great for vocabulary development.
    – user508
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 12:57

Anything "immersion" is best, where you can only speak and hear the language in context like you learned your native language as a child (your parents spoke to you rather than explain grammatical rules).

If you can't talk to people, there are some audio series you can buy or get from a library, such as ImmersionPlus! or Dr. Blair's "German In No Time" or the Pimsleur method or other learn-in-your-car methods. Computer programs are great but can be pretty expensive. And some German websites like Deutsche Welle even offer online training. Maybe even find the nearest Goethe Institut. And listen to German music (many people have learned English by listening to American music).

Just some other options to consider. :-)


Living in the United States, I've had to try really hard to learn and get better at German. I got a hold of a set of audio CDs and listened to them in my car while I drove to work. That helped quite a bit. I've also done little things like install German versions of computer software at home and at work, and put myself into positions to have to use it.

Someone suggested watching films. While that helps, you might have to watch the same one a few times to make sure that you're getting it all. My wife is sick of me watching "Das Boot."

Best of luck to you!

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