How To Learn German Effectively – A Guide

This page is also available in: German

It saddens me whenever I encounter a German learner who has studied the language for a long time but has not made much progress. Truth is, they simply don’t know how to learn German.

I don’t think such a fate is inevitable and I don’t want it to happen to you!

German is a very easy language to learn – if you approach it in the right way.

In order to learn German you need:

Believe me, learning German vocabulary and grammar (what you were really expecting here) is secondary to having the right attitude.

So please keep reading and I promise you: You will persist through any struggles you face when learning German.

How To Learn German With the Right Mindset

Man in front of chalk board with a drawing of muscles strong

Some people learn German as a hobby because they like learning languages or want to visit Germany. Others need to learn German as a prerequisite to study in Germany or to advance their careers.

No matter the reason, you need the right mindset to learn German effectively, even if it’s just a hobby. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time!

Over time, you will enjoy learning German less and less and that would be a pity since it’s such a beautiful and useful language.

Here is the sad part about people who go that route: If they’d just figured out how to learn German the right way, they would have succeeded!

The most important thing you need is commitment. Whether or not you consistently invest time every day or every week will determine whether or not you will succeed.

If you want to learn German fast, you have to do the work.

I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s a pity that we forget a skill, especially a language skill, very quickly if we do not practice. I’ve talked with students who just stopped investing the necessary time, with predictable results.

Just as important is the right motivation. You won’t learn German effectively if you feel pressured or anxious.

I know we just talked about commitment, but if you feel bad every time you sit down to learn German, you should take a break.

Reflect on why you wanted to learn German in the first place. Either it’s a good reason, then you should get the motivation to continue, or it’s not a good reason, then why bother?

Finally, realize how beautiful the language is and how easy it is to learn. German is easy with the right method.

The more you learn it, the more you will recognize beauty in it. After all, we Germans are famous for being a people of poets and thinkers.

Implementing the Right Habits

How to learn german in the morning with a laptop and a cup of coffee

Once you got your mindset right, you are ready to develop the right habits.

You remember that commitment is important. However, it is too abstract to just say “Yes, I commit to learning German.” So what else can we do?

I recommend you reserve a specific hour (or better: hours) every day. The first hour after you woke up has been proven to be very effective (see The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod* or the German version*).

So let’s say you usually wake up at 7 am. Set your alarm clock to 6 o’ clock and start your day learning German! If you are a newsletter subscriber, you can start by reading my daily email.

As a member of the Academy, you have access to a step-by-step process to learn German and can continue with the next German lesson.

Make your public commitment now by clicking the quote, inserting your start and end time and sending the tweet!

I commit to learning German every day from [start time] to [end time]!
Click to Tweet

(In the example above, you would replace “[start time]” with “6 a.m.” and “[end time]” with “7 a.m.”.)

Don’t forget to set your alarm, even if you schedule it during the day! I recommend setting the time 5 minutes before you really want to start so you can make sure that you are actually ready at your start time.

It takes a bit of practice. It’s not easy to start a new habit, but if you keep your reasons to learn German in mind and all the benefits you will get when you finally speak fluent German, then you will succeed.

How To Learn German With the Right Method

If you want to learn German online, you need an effective method.

The Natural Method

The natural method essentially boils down to this: You learn a new language like you learned your mother tongue when you were a baby!

For that, all you need is to understand messages. We call that comprehensible input, i.e. texts or audio in the language that you understand to about 70%.

So if you read and listen to enough German, you learn the language! Just as you did when you were a baby and everybody spoke to you in your mother tongue.

That’s how to learn German effectively. You can read more about the natural method here.

Learning German Online on Your Own

When you learn German online, you are in a way an autodidact. This can be a curse or a blessing.

There is a lot of “free” content out there on the web. Free actually just means it freely available, since there is a cost to everything.

In my experience, people who learn exclusively with “free” content are more distracted, and waste time consuming less relevant or less useful content.

That’s why I created the Authentic German Learning Academy to give German learners like you a step-by-step system to learn German.

Summary

To summarize how to learn German:

  1. Find out your motivation.
    Why do you want to learn German? What are the benefits you will have once you speak it? What do you like most about the language?
  2. Make a commitment.
    Make it public to make it stick.
  3. Implement a habit.
    Set your alarm to a certain time and learn German every day at that time.
  4. Use the right method.
    Find texts and audio that interest you and you understand about 70% of.

Affiliate disclosure: Links marked with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links to products I think can help you. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, there are no additional costs to you and you help me out so that I can create even more helpful content for you.

You can read more here.

  • The Natural Approach to Language Learning

    What is the natural approach to language learning? And how can it help you learn German? I explain it in this article, along with helpful pictures.

  • How To Learn German Words

    Learning many German words is essential if you want to learn the language. How do you do remember many vocabulary words? That's what this page will answer.

This page is also available in: German