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Learning German as a Foreign Language

German is the most commonly spoken language in the European Union. After English, it is the second scientific language. Out of every five books one is written in German. In fact, over 120 million people speak German all over the world. Undoubtedly, thousands of people across the world would wish to learn German as a foreign language; so much so that the language is even offered as an option within different systems of education and at all levels. In fact, German is known to be the third most taught language in the world.

Getting Started

Learning German should not be difficult for any learner who has a knowledge of any other European language. The phonology is not particularly different from other European languages, the alphabets are the same, and being from the same West Germanic language family as other European languages, German also shares a rather similar lexicology with other European languages. It goes without saying that the learning process for German language, like for any natural learning process, should pass through the four basic steps: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. In fact, while listening and reading are input modes, speaking and writing are output modes of learning any language. Hence, it would be helpful if you find yourself the opportunity to listen and speak the language at the initial stages of learning, whereas reading and writing can follow afterwards.

Learning Material and Resources

Watching German movies and television channels, and listening to radio stations in the language will hence definitely help the learner acquire the language more quickly and efficiently. Indeed, several international television and radio channels are broadcast in German language in many countries of the world. Finding native German speakers to chat with, either in person or online, will definitely help as well. However, if the learner is too shy to take the big leap, s/he may speak initially to him or herself so as to overcome inhibition. Learners can also join online forums, chatrooms or blogs in the German language, and of course find tons of reading material over the Internet in the language in question. Some recommended German printed learning aids are German: How to Speak and Write It by Joseph Rosenberg and Easy Ways to Enlarge Your German Vocabulary by Karl A. Schmidt. There are also a lot of free online German courses as well as learning aids and resources available, some of which are even offered for free. Besides, audio pronunciation guides customized for beginner-level learners can be bought in libraries. Learners of the German language may also find joining local German speaking or book clubs and / or language communities helpful as well, not to mention travel to Germany either as tourist or on student exchange or work abroad programs.