Questions & Answers
frequently asked questions about learning German
I am receiving daily so many questions regarding learning German that I decided to publish the most frequently asked questions and my answers to them. You may find this useful on your journey towards fluency:)
Q: How do you recommend to keep up the motivation in learning German language (current level is A2, the goal – B1)?
- You should know WHY you are learning and have that reason to learn and make sure the learning goal is your own. Your personal reason. That is something you are working towards.
- Connect with other people who are enthusiastic about the German Language: e.g. meet ups, social media groups, people in your language course. Connect to my FB “German Austausch Susanne” and meet people passionate about the German Language and culture. On the website Quora people around the world share their thoughts and knowledge just about any topic and there is a huge community of German Learners
- Set a small goal weekly. Just a small goal that brings you a little further towards your learning goal. Whether it be a grammar exercise or a reading exercise. One exercise ( 10 min) could already be a small step. Many small steps = big step!
- stay focussed. Take time out of your busy schedule weekly (5 – 30 min) and switch off your phone. Just focus on one exercise and be proud of yourself after achieving it.
- What is it you enjoy the most? Can you find German exercises connected with your passion, your hobbies, your interests? For example: If you love horse riding find a magazine in German about horses and read the articles. You will be more passionate about reading and learning topics when you love the topic:) If you love the cinema watch a German movie. Listen to German songs and sing along!
- Sometimes learning on your own needs more motivation. ( I totally get that!) How about you join a language class somewhere near you and connect with the other learners? Then do homework together at Cafes and I am sure it will be a lot of fun!
- Plan your holiday in Germany and that will inspire you. You will see new things, get to know the culture and that builds curiosity , you will meet Germans and make friends and that will be a great way to get that motivation back. Alternatively have a look online if in your city exists a “German Language meet up group” or “Language exchange meet up group”
- Get your favourite magazine in German:)
- Set a learning goal by when you would like to achieve your goal. End of 2018? End of 2019? That will help you to stay focussed and keep up momentum. Work from chapter to chapter, make small goals. Instead of just one big goal. Small goals, even if tiny, feel very achievable and seem less of a hurdle. And soon you will look back and notice the huge progress you have made.
Q: What is a typical German personality?
There is no typical German.
I must speak of experience. So this post is subjective. The stereotypes are usually just stereotypes and do not represent the truth for the majority. I am German and I am surrounded by Germans. Everybody is indeed different and it is because of their different upbringing , their belief system and their experiences.
There are a few personality traits many Germans have in common: They are quite direct. They are usually people who may not use flowery language packed with polite words, but you should judge a German by his/her actions and you will know who he/she is.
We don’t like kissing and hugging and stand rather quite a meter away from someone ( an arm length) WHEN we don’t know someone and when we aren’t familiar with someone. We rather shake hands in that case.
I feel all my German friends are very kind but they don’t wear they heart on the sleeve. You must get to know them to understand and see who they are and what they feel.
In my experience Germans don’t like nonsense. They come straight to the point. We also don’t say “How are you” as a greeting or just for fun. We rather just say “ Guten Tag oder Hallo. Unless we are asking “ what have you been up to”. In that case we ask “How are you”.
My German family members and friends are observers, quiet ( sometimes too much) and distrusting at times. They don’t open up easily unless they trust someone. Most are organised and responsible. Very responsible. They appreciate honesty.
They can come across as rude because of how direct they are. Whether they mean to be rude is a different story.
All my friends are friends for Life in Germany. They take friendships seriously. But it can take a while to make friends here.
Some Germans are really, really funny. I love the dialects. Everyone within Germany is complaining about so called ugly dialects from Sachsen and Bayern. However, they are charming and entertaining and lovely to me. And so fun
Q: In the German phrase “was für (ein)”, how is it used, when does it take accusative and nominative, what verbs can you use with it, and where can you put the verbs?
in expressions like :
Was für ein Pech! = what a bad luck
Was für ein Glück! = how lucky
Was für ein Wetter! = what a weather
Was für eine dumme Frage ! = what a silly question
Was für ein Unsinn ! = what a nonsense
in questions like:
Was für ein Haustier hast du? = what kind of pet do you have?
Was für eine Farbe magst du? = what kind of colour do you like?
Was für ein Typ bist du? = what kind of Person are you? (rather the look usually, but depends on context)
(in questions we can alternatively use “ welch – “: Welche Farben magst du? = which colours do you like?)
Position of verb is in 2nd Position if you start the question with a W- question-word.
Was für ein Haustier hast du?
Was für ein Haustier = 1st Position ( as it belongs all together = 1 unit)
magst = 2nd Position
Was für ein Typ bist du? or: Was bist du für ein Typ?
Was für ein Typ = 1st Position
Was = 1st Position
In both questions is the verb “bist” in 2nd Position . Because either “Was” or “Was für ein Typ” is a unit and is in 1st. Position
Why do Germans write “dein” und “du” sometimes capital? I thought only “Sie” and “Ihnen” would be written capital?
I will answer this question shortly 🙂 Many more Q & A’s to come