Getting Started in German:
Why You Need to Learn the Language

See also: Lifelong Learning

Intricate, complex, tricky, and especially difficult to learn--these are the most common stereotypes about the German language. Well, we love to break it to everyone, but this is hardly true. In fact, if you are a native English speaker, or you happen to be well-versed in it, you are not far from being fluent in German. All you need is just to brush up on your German vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation!

That’s right. Since German and English sprung from the same Germanic root, there’s about 40% of German lexicons that look and sound almost exactly like their English counterparts. For instance, foto is just the German word for photo, haus is for house, and fisch is, you guessed it right, for fish. Now, does that sound so complicated at all? Not in the slightest, right?

“Hold on, why should I learn German?”

What are the benefits of learning German? This is the question hovering before many non-European people. After all, the thought of learning a new language can easily set off anyone who doesn’t know what to gain from it.

Plastic pieces spelling 'glück', the German word for happiness.

So, let us get straight to the point. The German language can open new career opportunities. Here’s why:

  1. German currently ranks as the second most used language in the field of science and research.

    This shouldn’t be too hard to believe, especially since many spectacular contributions and developments trace their roots to Germany. Whether it be in physics, chemistry, medicine, or engineering, plenty of awards and accolades have already gone to the country’s best and brightest. Meaning to say, if you want to bolster your knowledge or want to work with top scientists across the globe, it pays to have a strong grasp of the German language.

  2. German is a ticket to the world’s top-ranking universities.

    Yes, one of the major reasons that Germany has become a haven for award-winning scientists is that the country has always put a premium on quality education. Cases in point: The Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. These two universities have produced notable graduates such as Joachim Frank and Wilhelm Röntgen. If these people ring a bell in your head, we are willing to bet that some of you would want to follow in their footsteps. In that case, learning their language is just the first step.

  3. Germany has a strong and robust economy.

    And that is an understatement because the truth of the matter is that the country has the third-largest economy in the world and even plays a major role in the European Union. Apart from that, it also takes pride in being the biggest player for exports. This alone makes German one of the best languages to learn for business. So, a piece of advice to business leaders out there: If you want to import German goods into your country, at least do it smoothly through their vernacular.

  4. Speaking of business, German brands like BMW, Volkswagen, Adidas, and Audi are known far and wide for their exceptional products.

    And in keeping with their goal to expand, they need more partners and employees who can speak and understand German among other things. If this sounds like an opportunity that is hard to pass up on, then now is a good chance to study German for work.

  5. Lastly, German is simply the most widely spoken non-English language throughout Europe.

    It’s true that Italian is a beautiful language, French is undeniably attractive, and Spanish definitely makes one sound smart and cultured. But one thing is for sure: German can really build your network. First, Germany is the second most populous European country after Russia. Second, German is the official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Factor in all the native German speakers residing in other parts of Europe and the number would just be close to insurmountable.

Now that you know the advantages of learning German, you’re ready for the next step: actually learning it.

As they say, Hallo and Guten Tag won’t get you so far. To get you started, we’ve come up with a few tips to get familiar with German.

Here they are:

  • Expose yourself to the language.

    You’re probably tired of hearing every language expert say this, but it’s the best one to make sense. The most effective way to learn German is to experience and immerse in it firsthand. Try to watch movies and shows in German (with English subtitles). Over the course of a few watching sessions, you’ll be able to pick up words, phrases, and sentences that are common in German. You’ll also learn a few cues and nuances that make utterances distinct from each other.

  • Find a tutor.

    If you're looking to supercharge your German learning journey, consider hiring a German tutor. It's like having a personal language coach by your side. A Listen & Learn German tutor in Birmingham, if you're from Birmingham, can offer you one-on-one lessons tailored to your needs. They'll help you with pronunciation, grammar, and those tricky German idioms you won't find in textbooks. And if you're from Japan and want to learn German before your trip, there are many native German tutors in your area who can offer cultural insights in addition to language lessons.

  • Stay motivated.

    In a fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget what matters most. And that applies to when you are learning German. To overcome this, you always have to remember why you wanted to study it in the first place. Once you have that ultimate reason back in your mind, set your sights on it and keep moving forward. It sounds such a sappy piece of advice, but it’s important to really stay committed.

  • Keep practicing.

    Once you are acquainted with the basics of German, there’s no sense in becoming complacent or you’ll just forget what you learned over time. As cliche as it sounds, practice makes perfect so better keep that in mind.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

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About the Author

Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.