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How to learn German Words

Learning vocabulary is important... but of course it's not as fun as speaking or watching a german movie.

That's why you need strategies and routines that will allow you to learn a lot of words efficiently and in a short amount of time.

Vocabulary card for learning German

I have compiled the best tips here:

  1. "Learn out loud!" Languages are made for speaking! That's why it helps if you say the new words and, of course, listen to them as well.

  2. Repeat the German word and the meaning in your language several times in a row. Even better: make a matching movement to the word. For example, with the verb “to cook” you can stir an imaginary saucepan. Or with the verb "to jump" … exactly, jump.

  3. Very important: always learn - Nouns with their article (der, die, das) and plural form. - Verbs with their tenses!

  4. Maybe your textbook comes with an app that you can use to learn vocabulary. This can be very handy - especially if the word is spoken to you correctly in German.

  5. Vocabulary cards (flashcards) are also a great help:

  6. Write the German word on one side and the word in your language on the other side. So, if your language is English, it will have the German word on one side and the English word on the other one. That way you can easily quiz yourself - from German to English and from English to German

  7. Sometimes it's easier if you learn a sentence and not just a single word.

  8. You should also learn standard sentences or idioms as a whole sentence. Example: Entschuldigung, was kostet das? / Ich hätte gerne ein Bier./ Wir möchten bitte zahlen. Meiner Ansicht nach …/ Weiterhin ist zu bedenken/ …. Mit freundlichen Grüßen Just write the whole sentence on your vocabulary card.

  9. Write the opposite of a new word on the vocabulary card: Example: hoch - tief / teuer - billig aufwachen - einschlafen ich habe Hunger - ich bin satt

  10. If you can't remember a word, use mnemonics. For example, you look for similar words in German or in your language and think of a sentence or an “image” in which both words appear. The more absurd the picture, the easier it is for you to remember it!

  11. Apply the new words: use them in a conversation or write sentences.

  12. Many language learners find it helpful to write down word families or words about the same topic. On the topic of kochen (cooking), for example, comes: Küche - Essen - Teller - Kochtopf - Herd - Ofen - …

  13. Always learn about 5 words together. So if you want to learn 15 new words, you group them into 3 groups of 5 words each. First, you will learn 5 words. If you know them all, the next 5 words come up. And if you can do those last 5 words. At the end you repeat all 15 words.

  14. It's more efficient to learn a few words a day than a lot once a week. The brain can't memorize a lot of new vocabulary at once - so small portions are better.

  15. Review the vocabulary for the first time after a few hours - ideally before bed.

  16. Then you repeat the new vocabulary every day. If you've known them 4 times in 4 days, you can put them aside. Once a month you review all older vocabulary. Of course, you can sort out words that you find particularly easy.

  17. A vocabulary box is very useful for monitoring your learning progress: you have the new vocabulary on the front. If you knew them, they will be tucked back one compartment. And if you don't know a word after three days, the card comes back to the front. You can buy a vocabulary box or just take an empty box (e.g. from tea bags).

  18. Everything is better together: Find a learning partner and quizz each other. That helps both of you, because you also learn the words when asking questions. And, of course, it's more fun together.

More tips for learning German:

How do you learn new words? Which strategies are helpful for you? Write them in the comments - this way you will also help other German learners!


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