My Experience of Learning a New Language - German
A Brand New Languages – Don’t Know Where to Start…..
Like most people, it’s always hard in the beginning to start something new. Well…even I’m a professional Mandarin teacher, doesn’t mean I know how to learn German. So I Googled a bit of how to learn German and where I can find a German lesson in my city.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any good German teacher in my city, only in Taipei. (The capital city of Taiwan, which is 1.5 hour by train from me)
So I started to study by myself by a book I purchased in a bookstore.
I started in February 2017 by the book and some YouTube videos. I knew that I was going to just learn some basic conversations and vocabulary. I tried to learn some sentences in German by the book.
Then I soon realized that, GERMAN IS NOTHING LIKE CHINESE OR ENGLISH!!!!!!!
I can’t form proper sentences without knowing the grammar of German, because German grammar is very complicated, you need to know subject (Nominitiv), object (Akkusativ) and Dativ (a different kind of object), not to mention there are feminine, masculine and neutral differences with the nouns of German.
Let’s take a quick example to see the difference between Mandarin and German.
Example : I would like to give him a book. (English)
我想要給他一本書。（Wǒ xiǎng yào gěi tā yī běnshū） (Mandarin)
ich möchten ihm ein Buch geben. (German)
In Mandarin, if you know all the vocabulary, then you can form a sentence.
Because Mandarin doesn’t have any changes with our verbs or nouns.
So in Mandarin we just say “ I would like to give him a book”. EASY!
In German, on the other hand, that’s a totally different story. The structure in this case would be “ subject + would like to + Dative for indirective object + Akkusative for directive object (also need to check the gender of the noun) + verb”
Okay…if you don’t understand what it means above…as least you understand that German is much more complicated than Mandarin in grammar, right?
I basically wasted a whole month learning the wrong way.
Like most people, I felt frustrated then I stopped learning for a few months until I found an online course…
In July 2017 I restarted learning since I found a teacher online and he offers online video lessons which is basically like what I do with my Mandarin course on my website. In case you are curious where I learn my German, here is the website where I learn it.(http://www.bismarck-besmart.com.tw/)
I got sooooo excited that I found this teacher and his German course.
For many reasons….
1. He’s doing the same business as I’m doing with German. And I want to see how it works for me as a student.
2. I finally can start learning German properly with a professional teacher with a good guidance!!
3. I can learn German with videos 24/7, I love studying with my own pace. And I sometimes feel pressure practice with a teacher in class since I always think I need more time to digest what I learn then practice.
Now, I’ve just finished A1 level of German!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And here is how I learn German with video lessons.
l I watch the videos and take notes.
l I review after each lesson, if I’ve got any questions, I can mail or text my teacher to ask my questions. It’s very convenient!
l I asked my German friend to help me record the German conversations or sentences I learned from the videos. So I can listen to the recording audio and review with my smartphone.
l When I listen to the recording from my friend or CDs, I always repeat a few times myself to make sure I pronounce it correctly.
How do I know if I pronounce things correctly or how do I have more oral practices without a teacher?
I know it’s very important to find someone who can correct your pronunciation or
practice with you regularly. But you can also do it without a real teacher, just like
me ;) How?
Okay, when I repeat after the teacher on the video or practice with my friend’s
audio, I always listen to my friend’s pronunciation very carefully!!!! You have to
really open your ears to listen!!!!!!! So you can pronounce better.
As for speaking or practicing to have a conversation…
I think I’m now only repeating and learning the sentences from the conversations of
my textbook or the material which my teacher gave me. If I make any sentences and
I’m not sure if it’s correct, I just send it to my German friend or teacher and let them
correct me or sometimes I use Google Translate. Hahaha)))) :P
You can try doing the same with studying
One of the reasons I chose to learn German with video lessons was because I want to
do an experiment on myself and see how it works on me with German. So I can share
my experience to my students who is learning Chinese with my video lessons!!
Now, it’s been 3.5 months and I’ve finished A1 level. So I would like to give you some
suggestions on how to learn Chinese with video lessons by yourself! J
1. Watch the video lesson at your own pace, be patience and take notes.
2. Review the lesson with the PDF file after each video and read the sentences aloud!
3. If you find learning with one resource is too boring, please go to a bookstore and find some other interesting materials, as long as it makes you happy! But remember, you need one MAIN material to help your learning step by step!!
4. Any questions about learning Chinese, just mail me!
5. Find a native speaker of Chinese to listen to you and help you with your pronunciation of Chinese. He or she can do some recording for you.
6. Please DO NOT ask your Chinese friend any questions about grammar!!! Random Chinese native speaker can’t explain grammar!! Please ask a professional teacher your grammatical questions!!
7. Finally, if you feel more confident speaking Chinese, please find a language exchange partner and keep watching Chinese video lessons to learn new structures and vocabulary of Chinese!
by Katrina Lee
- online audio & video lessons
- Skype Chinese lesson