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How to Speak German (Complete Beginners Guide)

What's the secret to learning how to speak German fluently? Well, it's not exactly a secret anymore since we've revealed a step-by-step guide in this post.

Learn How to Speak German

Ah yes, Sprechen Sie Deutsch?  We hope you will! German is one of the most useful and colorful languages in the world, and it’s relationship to English gives you a big advantage as a language learner. But what’s the best approach to learning it? If you can’t simply move to Germany and be fully immersed, what is the best pathway to fluency? One great sign is that you’re here. You’ve found this page. And whether you know it yet or now, you’ve found an amazing resource. Here at Rype, we’ve put together the best tools and team for helping you speak German. Let’s get into it.

Common Obstacles Holding You Back from Speaking German

Each time we start a new journey or project, we tend to start it with optimism. It doesn’t matter whether it’s learning German or getting in shape, we visualize the end result. There we are, speaking fluently, being in great shape. But then reality hits hard. This won’t be a quick journey. Things that are meaningful take time. There’s a big climb ahead.  Far too often, these initial doubts and fears slow down or even stop people from ever taking action.

How do we overcome this? The key is putting things in perspective. You have to look at the common obstacles to becoming fluent in German and hit them head on. From there you’ll realize these obstacles are universal. Each of us faces them with any new learning journey.

  • Resources – The toughest part is always getting started, figuring out which method to use, deciding how much it costs and how that fits into your budget.
  • Time – Then there’s time. How is your schedule looking? Is there room for classes? When? Where? What’s your availability?
  • Accountability – Once you’ve thought about resources and time, what about motivation? Are you truly a self-starter or do you need a tutor or accountability partner? A coach?

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, take a breath. Know that we considered every element of learning when we created Rype. Although these obstacles may feel huge, our learning model helps you smash through them by teaching you German online. Our German teachers at Rype are amazing,  carefully vetted for their exceptional teaching skills.  You can connect with them around your schedule and choose just the right teacher to help you stay accountable, on track, progressing beautifully through the language.  And finally, compared to private lessons or a group language school, Rype is so much more affordable than either option, and much faster in terms of how long it will take you to speak German fluently.


The Benefits of Speaking German Fluently

This one is very personal. Each person has his or her own motivations for wanting to speak German fluently, and will discover their own benefits.  For some it’s about travel. German language fluency opens up culture and place in a way that’s not possible only speaking English. For others it’s about the enhanced cognitive benefit about being bi- or multilingual. Here are just some of the common benefits we like to people’s attention to:

  • Your attention span increases.   It’s been proven that learning a second language increases attention span.  In a study pioneered by Scottish scientists, the benefits of speaking a second language were demonstrated in all sorts of cognitive tests.
  • You’ll have new career opportunities. The world’s marketplace is increasingly global. What does this mean? Multilingual people are more sought after, more valuable as job candidates. Look for more business connections and opportunities.
  • You’ll have increased confidence. Why? When you learn German, you’re learning to express yourself. You’re learning to communicate, to connect with people.  Over the years we’ve found remarkable side effects to this: increased confidence.
  • You’ll have deeper relationships. When you’re able to connect deeply with people in their native language, it opens up a relationships that simply aren’t accessible without being fluent.

Speaking German Fluently: 10 Quick Tips

These quick language tips will help you get started today with speaking German fluently.

1. Stop Being a German ‘Student’.

More than any single tip, the most important thing is mindset. You need to let go of the overused model of “student” and “teacher.” These are worn out concepts when it comes to language learning. They can even be counterproductive.  Who are the world’s greatest “students” of language? The answer is babies!  They don’t think of themselves as students. And when it comes to language, they don’t really “think” at all. Their acquisition is faster than anyone else’s because they fully inhabit all sounds, words, and rhythms around them. This is your model. Let go of thinking like a student. What’s more valuable, finishing homework exercises in German or going out with an all German crew in Berlin? You goal is to “live” in German as much of the time as you can. Immerse yourself in it.

2. Let Go of Perfection.

Consider how most “students” own dedication to learning grammar rules or pronunciation can slow them down, and get in the way.  Ever notice how kids make mistakes when they speak?  Ever heard them conjugate verbs incorrectly? Of course. It’s for this exact precisely for this reason (they’re not slowed down by these errors) that they blow adults away in terms of how fast they acquire language. When you speak, think of yourself as a little kid having fun. Don’t worry about perfection. Just keep trying to communicate.  Keep up the flow.

3. Overcome the “Mistake Fallacy.”

Here’s a different way of saying this: Overcome the mistake fallacy. This is the concept–the mistaken concept–that your success equals your ability to use the language without making errors. But here’s the thing: Nobody cares if you mess up your pronunciation or incorrectly conjugate a verb. What matters is that you try, and that will not only supercharge your learning but endear you to locals.

4. Speak Aloud.

To speak German fluently you have to SPEAK! You must find and take every opportunity to speak aloud. Contemplate any possible way you can practice speaking. It doesn’t matter whether you listen to and repeat what you hear in German speaking podcasts or watch and role play, “acting” out scenes in German shows or movies. What matters is that you’re speaking aloud and having fun doing it.

5. Study native German Speakers in Real Life.

Similarly, you should take every opportunity to listen to native German speakers in real life.  The easiest place to do this is in a cafe or restaurant.  Any time you hear a native speaker ordering food, etc. study exactly what they say. It might not make perfect sense, but try to just imitate their order, their intonations, and order the same things. Doing so bypasses that built in instinct to translate everything before you speak, and works as a shortcut towards training your mind to speak German fluently.

6. Practice with a German conversation partner or teacher.

Following up on #5, the biggest benefit of a tutor, teacher, or conversation partner is that it forces you to speak. It forces you out of a passive learning mode. With a teacher or conversation partner you have to engage an interact in real time. This proactive approach to learning is at the core of Rype’s model. You can’t fake how much you know to a coach.

7. Switch Your devices to German.

When we talked about fully “inhabiting” the language, did you think we’d let you off the hook with your phone? Definitely not! Your brain should be constantly working and processing information in German, and to reinforce that, switch your phone’s system to German language.  You’ll be surprised how quickly this begins to feel normal.

8. Watch Netflix in German.

This next one is a no brainer. Once your phone is set up, the next step is getting finding German options for your Netflix and HBO accounts — either in German or set to German subtitles. Absorb as much of your entertainment in German as you can.

9. Learn about German culture.

You have to have context to truly reinforce what you’re learning. So ensure that part of your journey is taking in German culture! By adding in German literature, music, architecture, philosophy, cuisine, and poetry, you’ll get a much more rounded feel for the language and deeper insights into how native speakers express it. You even get a new sense of how Germans approach, humor, life, and relationships, which is one of the most joyful aspects of learning the language.

10. Travel with an All-German Crew.

Does this make travel a bit more challenging? Probably. Does this push you further out of your comfort zone? Likely. But isn’t this the point of travel in the first place? 100%. If you travel in a crew that’s all 100% German speakers, with zero other native English speakers, you’ll ramp up your German fluency faster than any other way. It couldn’t be simpler.

Classic Learning Tools for German

Now that we’ve looked at 10 quick tips for speaking German fluently,  let’s examine the classic learning tools and formats.  Once you’ve reviewed them, consider which are the best fit for your particular learning style and situation.

Private German Tutors

The most effective way to learn anything is via immersion. This is proven by extensive studies. Immersive learning means interacting directly with real people in real time.  On the other hand you can still be with other people in real time, but if you’re only passively learning (i.e. listening to a lecture, not interacting), your learning is 5-10x less effective than if you’d been immersed in a situation where you were forced to engage and interact with other people. Learning via coaches and live tutors creates higher retention levels and additional benefits, including guidance and accountability.


German Learning Apps

Another learning tool for learning German fluently is one (or a combination) of the various language apps out there, including Babbel and Duolingo, which we’ve both reviewed. While we believe apps are effective tools, they’re truly most effective to supplement working with a teacher, not taking a teacher’s place.

German Audio Courses and Programs

Listening to Berlitz tapes and other audio programs is the old school way of learning. Yes they’re convenient, and as you listen you can memorize various useful phrases for travel, but this is not a proactive way of learning the language.

Conversation Partners

Conversation exchanges involve pairing up with a native speaker of the language you want to learn and you teach each other. It’s an interesting prospect and can be effective with the right match, although this takes time and patience. With conversation exchanges, you split teaching and learning 50% – 50%, so it takes more time than other methods.

Learn to Speak German Online

Let’s consider Rype now that we’ve looked at all these methods and tools. To speak German fluently, you need an immersive approach — that’s proven by research.  Through the benefit of learning with private teachers, we’ve helped 10,000+ members speak a new language around their busy lifestyle. And best of all, our rate is way more affordable than a private language school. Here are the highlights of the major benefits we offer to our language students:

  • You can enjoy German speaking lessons from anywhere you are in the world (no commuting).
  • Your experience is with a native German teachers that you choose, (all of whom are handpicked and pre-vetted).
  • You’ll learn German online at any time of the day, any day of the week.
  • You’re only paying a fraction of the cost of a private language school.
  • You’ll be retaining more information and learning German faster.
  • You’ll be part of an exclusive community of fellow German language learners and global citizens.
  • Start with a risk-free trial

If you still have any questions about how Rype works or want to share any feedback, feel free to reach out at help@rypeapp.com. Activate your risk-free trial now and start learning German online today.

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