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5 Habits of successful language learners

Did you ever hear someone moan about the necessity to clean the teeth every day? Well, kids will do so for sure. But for adults like us it has become second nature: a habit that we don’t even think about.

On the other hand, taking out the garbage can seems annoying, even if it only takes half of the time. It’s not something we do automatically and therefore seems like a burden– unless we got into the habit of taking it out every day at a certain time.


This is why it’s such a great idea to turn your language learning into a daily habit, too. And this is exactly what successful language learners do.

In this blogpost I’m going to share with you the 5 daily habits of successful language learners that will boost your German, too.




1. Speak German every day


Why not start by talking to your neighbours or someone in the gym. You will find that lots of Germans are very happy to have some small talk!

Just smile and ask a question like: “Und, wie geht’s?” - and if they have time and feel like it, they will take it as an invitation to talk about the weather, their upcoming weekend, how they feel at this moment … whatever.


The sales assistant in a shop might also be happy to have a little conversation. This might be while they are scanning the things you bought in a supermarket or in a shoe shop, while your kid is trying on new shoes.


Simply start by talking about the weather “Es ist wirklich heiß/kalt/schön/ungemütlich/ … heute“ (It's really hot/cold/beautiful/unpleasant/ ... today) and you might have a really nice conversation.


I’ve got the impression that since Covid people are more keen on talking than ever before, so you will even do something good for them as well! And of course, it will also help you to feel more connected and less lonely.


You can easily practice speaking German, even if you don’t have any German person or anyone else learning German around you. It might sound weird, but simply speaking to yourself can be really helpful as you still need to form the sentence you want to express.

Try not to tell yourself only simple things like “the table is brown” but rather

  • go through a process or task you need to fulfil.

  • What your plans are for the day

  • About how the day was so far.

  • About a book you’ve just read.

Maybe you can even find a tandem-partner, i.e. someone who wants to learn your language. You can agree to talk some time in your language and some time in German.

Only by forcing yourself to do this on a daily basis you will get comfortable with it and really start improving your German.


2. Listen to German every day

If you have spoken to someone (habit 1), then you will (hopefully) have listened to him or her as well.






If there isn’t anyone, find other ways like listening to

  • a German audio book

  • a podcast in German

  • a song or

  • a Youtube video

  • or watch a German movie.

If you are doing a German course, it will be really useful to listen to the audios of your course book over and over again to automize new phrases and structures.


3. Read something German every day


Finding something to read should be really easy.

If you are doing a language course, you can go through the texts in you book. But you can also read an article in a German newspaper or an online news channel like www.heute.de or www.tagesschau.de.

Obviously there are also books for every level of language, even for beginners.


Another thing that you could read is a German Blog for language learners. In my weekly blogposts on www.charlingua.de you will find topics about life in Germany and about language learning. Usually it comes both in English and in German (with all the vocabulary you might need), so you could even read it in English first and then, knowing the content, try it in German. Or you could set a goal: only go to the English version if you feel stuck.



4. Write something in German every day


Maybe you’ve got a friend who is also learning German. Then it is a great idea to write a WhatsApp or an Email to each other every day.


You could also start writing a diary that might also become a great memory for the future! If you’re new in Germany, there will be a lot of things that you find weird at the beginning but that will become so familiar that you won’t notice them anymore after a while. Wouldn’t it be nice to be reminded of them in the future?


Or you could write down what you’ve told yourself in German before.


Of course: if you are doing a course you can simply do your homework.


And what if you’re on a holiday? That shouldn’t stop you at all: Anyone loves receiving postcards – so why not writing one to a German or a German-learning friend?


5. The final habit is consolidation

Throughout the day you may come across new words. If don’t understand them, you can ask:

  • Entschuldigung, was bedeutet das? (Excuse me, what does that mean?)

  • Entschuldigung, kannst Du / können Sie das bitte wiederholen (Excuse me, could you (informal/formal) please repeat that?)

If you want to remember this word or phrase, just put it on a list on your phone. Go back to this list in the evening and revise them.


You might also have a list of vocabulary that you want to learn. 5-10 new words in total per day is a good number. You should revise them at least three times during the following days.


 

Now you know the 5 daily habits that will help you improve your German.


If you manage to keep up doing these five habits intentionally, language learning will become so much easier and you will see a huge progress very soon!



If you want to take up the challenge and give your language learning a boost, download the free habit tracker, especially designed to keep you motivated:



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