One of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn is German. English as a language falls into the Germanic family of languages and as such myriad cognates between the two languages are evident. Take the Engish world for active, in German it is Aktiv. Acrobat, Akrobat. Accent, Akzent. And the list goes on. However despite sharing many words with German, German grammar is notoriously difficult. Unlike English, but like the romance languages, German identifies almost every word as either masculine, feminine or neutral. And to truly learn the intricacies of German grammar will require an immersion into the German culture and language So, while learning German from a text book or audio program will be advantageous towards your mastery of the German language, the best way to learn German is by living in Germany.
Before you book a flight to Germany, it’s a good idea to get a basic grasp of the language. You can go about doing this a few ways. First, you could take a traditional class in German. This is one of the best ways to get started as it helps build a solid foundation that will aid you as you progress. However, if you’re the type that is motivated and prefers self study, there are a variety of great language programs out there to aid you in your study. One of the best self study introductory courses on German is called, “Teach Yourself German.” It is a book with accompanying audio CD’s that teaches you conversational German through practical dialogues. And for around 40$, it is a bargain. Another great course is Rosetta Stone. However, while this course is acclaimed for it’s teaching technique, it is one of the most expensive. Another great course is the Pimsleur Program. While it is almost as equally expensive as Rosseta Stone, it is best for those who want to start speaking conversational German from the get go. Or, if you would rather not pay, there are plenty of free resources online. For example, the BBC offers introductory lessons on their website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/.
So, now that you have a basic level of German, it is time to put your knowledge to the test and study and live in Germany. In truth, the only way to really become proficient in a foreign language is by living in the country where they speak it. If you’re a high school or college student, there are plenty of exchange programs available to you. For high school student, age 16 or above, check out International Student exchange, AFS Intercultural programs, and ASSE International Student Exchange programs. If you’re a college student, look into your study abroad department to see which programs they offer. Additionally, even if you’re not a student, there are also many exchange programs available to you. One such program is by ESL Language Schools which offers a German course in Europe. They also offer a Summer Camp in Europe which focuses on enhancing your German language skills in a relaxed and fun atomasphere.
In conclusion, while studying German through a book or audio program will help, the best way to learn German is by studying in Germany it’s self. So, take a leap, immerse yourself in the German language and culture and study in Germany!