So you want to learn German? You’re going to need some resources…
Yup. I’m still at it. The last installment of this series was back in June. I’ve spoken a great deal about the hurdles faced by people learning a new language. From women trying to conceive to just trying to find a minute to complete the day’s lesson, learning can be a challenge.
How do I measure my progress, when I am learning on my own?
As mentioned in previous articles, I have friends who are from Germany. Their posts on Facebook are often in German. Certainly, you can hit the translate feature, but if you take the time to look at what they’ve written, you can gauge your progress. One of my favorite ways to test myself is when a meme pops up. At first, it was a little disheartening, because I could translate very little, and it wasn’t telling me anything near what I should be able to read. More recently, however, the memes have been getting increasingly clearer. Most of what I struggle with lately is the lost in translation phrases.
How is using memes going to help? They’re just another tool to test your learning level. If you’re at the point that you can point out the mistakes (because I am sure they’re not better than English memes that are riddled with typos), then you know you’re fluent. If you’re identifying I, you and she, along with ands and some other basic vocabulary, then you know you’ve got a long road ahead. I gauge my level at the transition between beginner and intermediate. I’m very pleased (even though someone made the comment to me: You started two years ago but you’re only this far? Well, it’s a whole other language, and I work full time and have a writing career—so…).
I recommend testing yourself with more real life opportunities to use the language, instead of relying on classes or software. If you can start using short phrases with friends, you’ll start picking up more of the language from them, and learning functional phrasing/phrases. The language you learn in class and on your software is almost always the formal version of the language. This is how we were taught English in school, and will be of great use to you in your professional and even personal life. That said, among friends and on the street, formal language can be off putting. Don’t sweat it though. People understand the process. They are thankful you try.
Do google searches in German. Get on a German language news site. Play German scrabble to practice vocabulary. Use Children’s Books! Once you’ve gotten better at reading and quickly translating, it will become second nature.
Then, you can tackle listening to native speakers via YouTube and other online video sources.
Can you interpret the following memes?
Stay tuned for more tools, tips and discussions on Learning German.