By: Alexandra Dittmann www.alexandradittmann.com
<ul><li>So, why are YOU learning German? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it out of a burning desire to master this fascinating language? </li></ul><ul><li>Or is it because you must? Maybe you are here in the German-speaking part of Europe for work - and your job requires you to interact with the locals. </li></ul><ul><li>Or maybe your partner has been offered a position in Switzerland – and now, here you are, without any clue as for what people around you are talking about! </li></ul><ul><li>Whatever the reason: Relax! Settle back in your chair and let me tell you why learning German can be quite easy! </li></ul>
<ul><li>Well, at least for the moment. Especially if you have only just started your " learning German " project. </li></ul><ul><li>Unless you are dying to learn all the little details, all the exceptions in grammar and spelling the German language has to offer (yes, there are plenty of them!), IGNORE them. </li></ul><ul><li>- You are most likely not going to write your first novel in German tomorrow! So, for the time being, let‘s focus FIRST on something most teachers focus on LAST: </li></ul>
<ul><li>First of all, you want to be able to SPEAK German! </li></ul><ul><li>Sadly enough, in the past, entire generations of intelligent language students have been led in the wrong direction: Their teachers fed them with so much grammatical knowledge that they never actually got to SPEAK the language! </li></ul><ul><li>Or, if they did, it took a looong time for them to feel comfortable in talking to people in that foreign language. </li></ul><ul><li>Even after years and years of studying it at school (if you were taught French at school, you probably know what I mean). </li></ul>
<ul><li>What applies for health, fitness, self-development and their likes, is also true for learning a new language: If you want to be highly successful in what you are trying to do, hire your own personal trainer! </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in private lessons, thus avoiding the mistake made by most frustrated language students: wasting time and money in group courses or trying to figure it out with only the help of books and CDs. </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring a language trainer is the way to make progress quickly – the fast lane to speaking German in only a few days! </li></ul>
<ul><li>As some of you already may know, most inhabitants of German-speaking countries are only too willing to switch to English when it comes to talking to foreigners. </li></ul><ul><li>- While this is nice of them, and quite useful at times, it is also a potential threat to the German student: Every day, their best efforts to learn German are being jeopardized by well-meaning locals! </li></ul><ul><li>This is why I strongly encourage you to follow Susan‘s example. Susan is a British client of mine who has become fluent in German in as little as one month. </li></ul><ul><li>And here is how she did it: </li></ul>
<ul><li>Susan was adamant in insisting that everyone she was talking to speak German back to her instead of English! </li></ul><ul><li>And no matter how hard it was at times to see this through - Susan kept her focus on her major goal: To speak German in as little time as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>And as her personal language trainer at that time, I was stunned to see what an amazing difference that approach made: Not only was Susan fluent in the language in only four weeks, but she was also the happiest student I ever had! </li></ul><ul><li>So, believe it or not, " the Susan method " is the key to your success! </li></ul><ul><li>Take every chance you get to speak to locals, even if it‘s nothing more than asking for the time. I promise, it will pay off beyond your expectations! </li></ul>
<ul><li>" … people mistake me for being already fluent and unleash an avalanche of German words on me? " </li></ul><ul><li>Trust me, this is a GOOD SIGN. The thing to do in such a case is: Giving them your most charming smile, together with a friendly „Entschuldigung?“ or „Entschuldigung, ich kann noch nicht so gut Deutsch.“ </li></ul><ul><li>People will love you for it! </li></ul><ul><li>I mean, yes, we German-speakers do usually gladly take any chance we get to practise our English. But we also really admire foreigners who bother to learn our language! </li></ul>
<ul><li>Loose lips sink ships. </li></ul><ul><li>Well, with regards to German, saying too much will most likely not bring about such tragic results. But it might cause you a headache or at least it might dampen your enthusiasm. And we would not want that to happen! </li></ul><ul><li>Now, you might think: " What??? But only a minute ago, you told us to focus on speaking ! " </li></ul><ul><li>This is true. </li></ul><ul><li>However: In their laudable efforts to build correct German sentences, many students tend to get in their own way. </li></ul><ul><li>My advise is – skip the perfectionism! </li></ul>
<ul><li>Remember " the Susan method " ? Remember, Susan‘s major aim was: </li></ul><ul><li>To speak German in as little time as possible! </li></ul><ul><li>She didn‘t care about the ideal of the perfect German sentence. At least not until whe was far better at speaking the language. </li></ul><ul><li>So, I am not telling you here to be careless with regards to grammatical correctness – but don‘t let it get in your way! </li></ul><ul><li>Doing the first steps in a new language is always a bit scary. Especially when it‘s done " in the field " , outside of the comfort zone of the lessons you have had together with your teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>So, leave that comfort zone! And don‘t listen to this inner voice that keeps on telling you things like: " No, you can‘t say that- the verb‘s in the wrong place! " </li></ul>
<ul><li>It‘s vital for your success to ignore that judgemental inner voice for the time being. </li></ul><ul><li>Seems hard? I know! But it‘s actually quite easy. Let me give you two examples to illustrate what I mean. </li></ul><ul><li>Someone asks you how you are doing. Instead of answering: " Mir geht es gut, danke, und wie geht es Ihnen? " you might want to say: " Gut, danke, und Ihnen? " </li></ul><ul><li>You are standing in the queue at the local bakery. Suddenly, you realise it‘s your turn. Now, instead of saying: " Guten Tag, könnten Sie mir ein Roggenbrot geben bitte? " , why not just say: " Hallo, ein Roggenbrot bitte. " </li></ul><ul><li>See – easy. Innocent little sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>And grammatically correct ones as well. </li></ul>
<ul><li>... is the key language in the European Union </li></ul><ul><li>... creates business opportunities for you </li></ul><ul><li>... increases your job opportunities in your own country and abroad </li></ul><ul><li>... is the second most commonly used scientific language </li></ul><ul><li>... is the language that 1 out of 10 books worldwide is published in </li></ul><ul><li>... is required by many undergraduate and graduate programs </li></ul><ul><li>... is not as hard as you think! </li></ul>
<ul><li>And indeed, simple is the word to remember when dealing with a foreign language – any foreign language, and German is no exception. </li></ul><ul><li>By applying the six simple rules presented here, you will make progress fast. Guaranteed! </li></ul><ul><li>And now, go and enjoy your experiences out there, in the field! </li></ul><ul><li>Yours sincerely, </li></ul><ul><li>Alexandra Dittmann </li></ul><ul><li>P.S. I would love to hear about your experiences with learning German. Mail me under: [email_address] </li></ul>
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