Why learning German is so important – and a matter of mindset
So you are wondering whether you should learn German? Or should we say whether you have the time to learn German? Whether it is hard to learn German? How complicated German grammar is? Whatever your concerns, or if languages are just not your ‘thing’, you will be surprised at how beneficial it is for you to learn German.
Let’s take a moment to consider why you should learn German, and I bet you will wonder what you were worrying about.
Learning the language of a country really does open the door for you to fully experience that place. By learning German you can properly experience Germany as a place to live, rather than a destination.
What you want, need most of all is to be able to interact freely and confidently. To integrate and understand the culture in which you have found yourself. Ultimately, to make some much-needed friends and have some fun experiences.
Don’t let all of those wonderful moments go to waste by thinking that learning German will be too hard. If you approach the acquisition of language as an experience that will enrich your life, rather than a huge task, you will feel much more relaxed about it.
So think of it in a different way – with a new mindset. This is a new experience for you, rather than a chore, another thing to fit in. This is an enriching, interesting new adventure for you. Like all journeys, it is perfectly achievable if tackled in the right way.
Yes, it may take a little effort and require you to step out of your comfort zone, but as with all journeys, what you will gain as you grow is the fuel that that will keep you going. It might seem tricky at first, but like anything new, it will get easier.
Remember the lesson played out in the Budapest Syndrome (for those of you who are not familiar with it - it is named after the wave of expats going to Budapest and not learning the language because all the other expats said that it is too difficult anyways)? Yes, you can function as a tourist, but as someone looking in, you will always be an outsider. Being an outsider is never enough and very quickly, a lonely place to be.
For your fulfillment, independence, happiness, self worth, you have to step past the position of an observer, and put yourself into the heart of the place where you are. Without language - joy, warmth, interest and variety will be missing from your life.
Language is the currency that brings enrichment and colour. It helps to keep each day fresh and exciting. As you become part of the German community, the language will take on a new significance whilst you get to know German people, understand German culture and make friends.
With new pals and things to do in Germany, you will be able to practice your German all the time, understand how the language works and make mistakes in environments where you feel comfortable. The best way to learn a language.
Why it is easier to learn German than you think:
What is the easiest way to learn German? There are a number of factors that make learning German easy.
- German comes from the same language family tree as English. The phonetic sounds of many letters and even some words, such as baby, broccoli and chance are the same in both German and English.
- All nouns begin with a capital letter which makes them easier to spot when translating a text.
- The tenses are much simpler than in other languages because there is only one form of the present tense to learn. Even better, once learnt the present tense covers almost all of the future tense, and the past tense is simply a form of the present - the present perfect.
- Check out this funny video from the comedian Henning Wehn entitled ‘Waiting for the verb’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/comedy/waiting_for_verb.shtml
- Words with similar meanings share the same root words, such as abspielen (play), spielen (playing) and Spielkamerad (playmate). There are also lots of compound words which make translating much simpler.
It may come as a surprise, but it is actually easier to learn a language when you are older.
The wonderful thing is that you are never too old to learn a language. In fact, the whole experience will be so much better because you are older. You have more maturity, patience and life experience. Lots of people find it a very satisfying experience.
Recent research has shown that learning a new language as an adult is actually good for your health. The guardian.com suggests that challenging your brain to learn a new language enables you to ‘exercise your brain’, keeping it healthy. It is even thought to be the type of activity that helps to delay an onset of Alzheimer’s. 1
What is the best way to learn German?
There is no definitive way to learn any language, including German. Today, there are a range of resources available across the internet. Although the internet does make information easy to get hold of, many people do find it both overwhelming, impersonal and un-motivating.
Learning the language is a crucial part of making your time in Germany a successful and meaningful one.
Don’t forget too, that you can make a start today. Take a big step outside of your comfort zone, get out and about and talk to people. It will take some courage, but after the first few times, it will be much easier. For some support, an expat coach can help you to learn proven ways to meet and get to know new people.
Listen to my webinar today: 5 steps to finding success and fulfillment from an expat life. Find out how I can help you to rediscover your identity and find in your new expat life in Germany today.
Do you agree? What are your experiences with learning german? Have you got any useful tips? I would love to here your stories and experiences how you started and with your german and followed through. Add your comments below.
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