Tips about German, especially for you

In these videos German teacher Ida Kahlo answers your questions about learning German and has a lot of tips for you.

Ida Kahlo teaches German as a foreign language
Ida Kahlo teaches German as a foreign language

When learning German, don't be put off by the pronunciation or the grammar. It's easier to learn something if you don't get worked up about things. “Don't be shy, mistakes are allowed,” says German teacher Ida Kahlo, whom you might know from her YouTube channel “24hDeutsch“.

In our video series she offers tips about learning German exclusively for users of deutschland.de. On twitter we had asked you what you found difficult about learning German. One particularly frequent response focussed on German in everyday situations such articles, prepositions, word order and understanding what people are talking about. Now, in these videos Ida provides you with individual tips.

Just join in and have your say!

You don't have to understand every word of German in order to be able to take part in a conversation. “Just join in and have your say!”, advises Ida. Make a mental note of the words that other people use in this particular context and use them as well.

For many language students, the correct pronunciation is a hard nut to crack because this isn't always clear from the dictionary. “Don't get too fixated on the German book, instead, listen to how people really talk.” And this can sound very different depending on region because the many German dialects colour local pronunciation.

Just one example is “ch” at the beginning of a word, as in “Chemie”: In northern Germany what you actually hear is “Chemie” with a “ch” sound; in Bavaria it sounds like “Kemie” with a “k” and in Hessen like “Shemie”. It is actually correct with the “ch”, but you can also fit in with regional pronunciation.

Just trying using a “die”

Der, die or das? Many readers have written to us on twitter that it is difficult to remember the right article for every noun. The best idea is to learn every word with its article straight away. Listen out for the article that native speakers are using. And otherwise daring to take a risk can be a help. Ida has a trick that might help you: “Just try using 'die'.” The chances of your being right are quite high because almost half of all German nouns are feminine.

Read, read, read!

Ida has another piece of advice for all those who are already in Germany and want to improve their knowledge of German here. In everyday life spend less time looking at your smartphone and start “reading, reading, reading!” Pay attention to your surroundings, try to decipher the words and texts that you encounter as you go – traffic signs, advertising posters on the underground and menus in cafés. This is a good way to expand your vocabulary along your way.

Ida Kahlo teaches German as a foreign language
Ida Kahlo trained as a German and art teacher in Munich. She has been teaching German as a foreign language for ten years now and since 2017 has, with the assistance of Goethe Institut, been running her own YouTube channel, “24hDeutsch”.

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