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German: how NOT to get stuck in that 'post-beginner' stage?
Hello, here is a problem for every language learner.I think this is a problem that divides the language learning community in half! Almost everyone can go up to a point where they know some basic grammar rules and words, and till then everything goes very fast!But there it ends, and any new advancement becomes way too slow.. until half (or more) simply gives up!I am sure many of you have experienced this, this is the thing with me and my German for like last 3-4 years, and I have tried several times to crack forward but lost patience...
So tell me what you think? How to go out of this crucial 'post beginner BUT pre-intermediate stage' ??Is it about attending a real course? Group learning?Talk to speakers of that language?Or just will power and lots of time for memorizing new formulas??How to go climb this last hurdle... Have your say :)
I find German hard. It's maybe my 6th language by fluency and 2nd by hours of learning put into it, so not really a great investment for me personally. There are no shortcuts in German. You have to write, you have to speak, you have to do the grammar. And repeat ad nauseaum. When you see a new word I find that I typically can't deduce its meaning. 70% of noun gender isn't logical, neither are really the prefixes for example.
For getting into the intermediate waters I'd say a group course will be the best bet. It will give you the confidence to actually speak to people, and that way you can learn your strengths and weaknesses compared to others. Afterwards you can work on weaknesses on your own and organize your own studying.
Thanks for your reply @milesgeiger! Guess you have the oppertunty of speaking to German speakers too, being in Switzerland. And very good suggestions you made. I also think at this stage it is not a good idea to try self-teaching at home. Hoping others would pitch in and have their say too...!
Is not to memorize, but to learn, there's a whole lot of difference there... And read a lot.
There were two things which worked for me very well when I was in this phase with a foreign language. I am learning Dutch, and as a German I am automatically an intermediate beginner in Dutch without having learned anything, because the languages are so close related. I could read easy Dutch texts without having learned anything. So I bought a childrens book. I bought it as a dutch audio book, as a dutch printed book and as a German translation. Then I read a chapter in the dutch book. If there were things I didn´t understand I looked them up in the translation instead of bothering with a dictionary. Then I listend to the same chapter on the audio book several times. This way I could memorize the vocabulary at least passivly without really having to learn it. After doing this for several chapters, I could follow the audio-book without having to read the text in the printed book first. I always do this with cordless earphones. So I can do other things while listening, brush my teth or do the dishes or whatever. Now I listen to and read books for grown ups. I can understand dutch quite well now, but my activ dutch ist pretty basic. A good book for beginning would be for example one of the "Sams" books by Paul Maar. (The first volume is: Eine Woche voller Samstage) They are funny and very popular and exist as audio-downloads.
My other learning experience which worked was many years ago. Then I had a very rudimentary french knowledge and learned the language while corresponding in french with a friend. In the beginning I had to look up nearly every word and also the conjugations. I did this, and after writing and receiving perhaps a letter per week for a year I was quite fluent. I hope, that I will make a similiar experience here by writing dutch texts into the "notebook".
I wish you success with learning German, which certainly istn´t an easy language
I finished two German language courses (A1 and A2 ), then I bought the B1 books and am now learning alone at home. I try my best to spend 1-1:30 hours everyday studying and doing exercises from the books. When I'm done, I pick any topic (preferably new) and write a few paragraphs about it. That helps me talk about different topics and learn new vocabulary. Writing takes around 1-2 hours depending on the topic, so I do it every other day if I don't have the time. I also read 2-3 news articles in German eeveryday. I either look up the new words in the dictionary or use Google Translate to check my general understanding of the whole articles. And whenever I'm in the car or doing something that doesn't require too much attention, I listen to German radio. And on weekends, I try to watch a German film or at least some Youtube videos. However, what helps me the most is talking to Germans and emailing them every week. That's when I get the chance to practice my German.
Learning a second language is very demanding, and sometimes I feel like giving up. But if you're having fun and trying to make language learning enjoyable, it won't feel like a chore. You just have to commit and practice practice practice.
I am at the very beginning stages of learning German, but I think I can still help you. Learning a language (not only German) requires constant self-initiative. Once you have learned the basics (say, your first 500+ words and some basic grammar rules) it is up to YOU to go about advancing your skill as much as possible. This means that further reading/studying more and more grammar could potentially waste your time and get you 'stuck' in the language. Instead, you should start being proactive by practicing it in your everyday activities.
I had the same problem with French, but was able to tackle it with the following:
1) Speak your target language everyday. Doesn't have to be a three hour discourse, but little by little make the effort of speaking it. The more your mind gets used to it, the more comfortable you will be with the language. When I was learning French, I would always speak it (mostly alone) when I could - while walking home, while in the shower, doing the dishes, etc. It came to a point where my roommate thought I was crazy for speaking alone all the time, lol.
2) Speak it with a native (or someone who is fluent). This is obvious, but not many people do it. You have to challenge yourself by finding someone who can teach you and correct your mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn!
3) Watch youtube videos. I spent hours looking for any French video I could find, that of course had some interest to me. I would youtube French actors/actresses doing interviews, movie excerpts, songs, etc.
There's a lot more, but I think you get the point. Constant, everyday practice is the best. At least it worked for me.