Better German Podcast with Susi

Susanne Schilk-Blümel

Episode 24 - Tipps to Learn to Speak German

How to Talk German soon

2024-02-15 16 min

Description & Show Notes

In this episode we are going into the common trouble of being able to speak German, despite "Learning German". Find out what you can do so start talking from the beginning of your German learning experience!

In this episode of Better German, Susi Blumel addresses the common issue many language learners face: being able to understand a language but struggling to speak it. She dives into the traditional approach to language teaching and the importance of speaking in order to truly learn a language. Susi shares practical tips on how to start speaking German early in your learning journey, emphasizing the significance of communication over grammar perfection. Using real-life examples and her own teaching approach, she encourages listeners to prioritize speaking and provides guidance on how to practice speaking from the beginning. Tune in to discover how to overcome the challenges of speaking German and gain confidence in your language skills.

Key Topics and Bullet Points
Primary Topic: Importance of Speaking in Learning German
- Traditional language teaching methods may focus more on reading and writing, neglecting speaking skills
- Importance of speaking in real-life situations, such as traveling, working, or living in a German-speaking country
- Encouragement to start speaking German from the early stages of learning
Primary Topic: Strategies for Improving Speaking Skills
- Recommendation to speak out loud, even with limited vocabulary
- Suggestions for practicing speaking with a partner, making sentences, and not worrying about mistakes
- Emphasis on the need for early speaking practice and its impact on fluency
Primary Topic: Utilizing Movies and Videos to Improve Speaking Skills
- Recommendation to watch movies or videos with German subtitles to improve fluency and understanding
- Promotion of a guide for finding movies on various streaming platforms with German subtitles
- How watching movies can aid in speaking practice and fluency improvement
Primary Topic: Dealing with Corrections and Overcorrections
- The balance of necessary correction and not overcorrecting early learners on every mistake
- Emphasis on communication and fluency over accuracy in the early stages of learning
- Example of a conversation practice to show how to encourage speaking without overemphasis on correction
Primary Topic: Encouragement and Additional Resources
- Encouragement to focus on learning words and speaking early, without getting too discouraged about grammar complexities
- Sharing a success story of quick progress in learning German through speaking practice
- Offer of online German courses and individual lessons, and a request for feedback on the podcast
Overall, the text emphasizes the importance of speaking in learning German, provides practical strategies for improving speaking skills, suggests utilizing movies and videos for fluency improvement, discusses the balance of corrections, and encourages learners while offering additional resources for learning German.

- Interactive Movie Guide to help you find German movies with subtitles on your level.

Here you can get early access to the upcoming A1.1 (total beginner) German course.
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Hello, this is Susi. this is going to be a short episode. I'm still on the road, so I don't have my normal computer equipment with me. And I don't like the quality so much as I like it when I'm in my normal recording space. So I want to apologize for the lack of quality. Maybe it doesn't bother you. I'm speaking of the recording quality here of a technical recording quality. Anyway, I still want to to give you something this week. So what I want to talk to you about is, How you can remedy a situation where you learn German and you can't talk German. This looks maybe as if this was only a problem for advanced students. and that's the first point I want to take up. Because that is a really, a very interesting point in traditional. Language teaching, like how you learn it at school. And also in many courses in like university courses. Is you learn a lot and grammar, you write, you read. But you don't ever talk. And that in itself is kind of odd. Because usually that's what people want to do. I don't know. I don't know about you. And don't get me wrong. I love German literature. There's a lot of really great writers and I'm a book worm and I like to read, but I've never really met anybody. who is learning German, and please correct me if I'm wrong, who's learning German, because he wants to read Goethe, who is a German writer, very famous, very good one. Very exciting things he wrote. But anyway, I've never met anybody who wants to learn German, because they want to read Goethe in original. And maybe that is the case, so if that's the case, then that's perfect. However, most people who are interested in learning German, have the situation that they want to talk to people, or maybe they even need to talk to people. That's the main thing they want. So, whether you want to learn German because you want to go on holiday in the German speaking country, and you want to be able to get the real vibe. To speak to people that live there. Or, if you come here, come into a German speaking country to work, and then that it's really needed. Or you just for some reason live in a German speaking country and maybe you don't need it for your work, but, you don't want to be cut off from everything that is German and that could even cause the troubles. The main thing is usually speaking. And if it's not the main thing, for some reason, it is a very important thing. And yet, this is usually in traditional language courses the one thing that gets the least attention. So how can we remedy that? How can you remedy that? Well, you have to talk. That's that's. I could - okay, good, that's the end of the episode. So talk! No. I'm kidding. So you have to talk and you have to start talking very early on, the earlier the better. How you can do that is very easy. You, even if you just learn your first few words, say them say them out loud. Best way. I always suggest that, is you get a partner, you work with him. That is also how it can be done in a school. If you are maybe not somebody who wants to learn German, or maybe you. are learning German in school, maybe you can suggest it. Maybe a teacher listens to this, that would be an awesome. This is what I do in my courses or, like a huge part of our courses, when I do life teaching. I introduce a list of words, and we work with repetition until students know what the word means. Of course, I explain that first and then we repeat it until all the students can say the word. But that now, that is usually where most courses would stop, and now what we do is we practice that word and how we do that is we work in groups of two, or if there's an odd number of three people and everyone uses all the words in sentences, in made up sentences. If they're total beginners, if you're a total beginner, you can, mix the words you can mix English and German. If you are not a total beginner, make a sentence and don't worry about the correctness of the sentence further than using that word that you're right now practicing correctly. And your partner will listen and understand your sentences. And if he doesn't understand it, he'll ask. So this is the easiest and most basic thing. You just start speaking and using those words and that's the most important thing. There's a few other things you can do. Like when you work by yourself. Even then you can do that. You can do the same thing, and make a sentence out loud. Force yourself to speak, and don't worry about the mistakes when you do that. Worry about the mistakes when you practice the correctness of sentences. And that is something that you should practice, yes. But do not consider this to be the biggest and most important thing, because it's not. So everything to it's time. And the most important thing or one very important thing, when you learn German is practice speaking as much as you can, and don't worry about grammar mistakes when you do it. You can very well, like, if you think "hm, that's weird". Think it the other way round. When you have. Somebody visit, who doesn't speak your native language well, And he will try to speak. And we'll try to say. What. What. What's this. You will try to understand him and you will tell him, oh, this we call, I don't know this we call a flower. And he says, ah, flower. Flower beautiful. You have communication. That's the communication on that level. And as long as you keep communicating, he will learn English in this case better over time. So the same thing is with you. Keep learning, keep speaking, but start speaking from a very, very early part in your German journey. When you, actually, when you learn German with me, I will make you speak in the very first lesson. And after a few lessons, not too many, you will have your first conversation practice. And it will be maybe hard for you in the beginning, but you will be able to speak, and you will be amazed how much you can say are already. And another tip I want to give you, that is relevant to your ability to speak, is actually to watch movies, as soon as it makes sense, or videos, with German subtitles. This is maybe not if you're a total beginner. You've learned a little bit more. Because that will help you with your fluency very much. It will help you to understand things faster and it will also help you speak. If you're interested in that and you have already learned a little bit, I have published a guide, you can get. You go to my homepage, you go to And there you will find a guide. You have to register once, but it's completely free. And you will get the guide immediately, of movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Disney plus. So if you have access to one of those, then you're set. and you can find all the different levels. You can look for, the language, the language of the subtitles available for the level, the topics, and so on. And you can find things to watch. So that will also help you to speak better. But the main thing is speak. The other thing is, sometimes there's a tendency to over-correct and correction is necessary. Yes. But don't think that you need to be corrected on every mistake you ever make, but particularly if you want to improve your fluency. Yes, if you're totally fluent and you have no problem speaking and making yourself understood, and you're working on specific aspects of grammar, yes. But if you just starts to speak at all, Correction at this point. is not usually very helpful. So the way, how we do conversation practices is, If I were your teacher and I give you topic, for example, let's say in the last lessons, you've learned a few things like, a wordlist about family members. So you can say basic words about family members and you can say numbers and you can see colors. And you have some basic adjectives already. And then - that will happen after a few lessons. And then you will for example get a conversation practice. And all I do is, I say I ask my students or I have them ask each other: Tell me about your family. And they will say things on the level like: Ich habe eine große Familie, probably not that fast. They will probably say something like: Ich habe große Familie. I have big family. Perfect. Mein Vater ist 85 Jahre alt. My father is 85 years old. That's just an example. Mein Vater ist in England. My father is in England. So, you get the idea. So you have a real communication. The translation I just did to help you. And that would be a good first start. And you do this with a few partners ideally. So, go out, find someone that you can talk with. And this can be absolutely another German learner, I even sugget that. And talk, and don't be afraid. The only thing I ask my, my students to do is ask if you're not sure what they mean. So if he says: Ich Vater alt. That means: I father old and you're not sure, what do you want to tell me? Then you just ask like, Was meinst du? Or what do you mean? Even in another language. He says: Mein Vater alt. Ah, you mean your father is old. Okay, perfect. So ask, if you're not sure what your partner, in this case, your student partner, means. But, other than that don't spend, pay too much attention on the mistakes. That are maybe, or maybe not made there. You're having a communication. So, this is a very, very short thing I wanted to give to you. I hope it helps you. I really want to encourage you when you learn German. It is so easy to get sucked into the complexities of grammar and so on, and I'm telling you. Yes, German is maybe not the easiest language in the world, this is true. However, in the beginning it doesn't even matter. You have to focus in the beginning on learning words. You need like a thousand words to have some sort of a fluency. And it takes a a bit to learn those, but don't get discouraged, because on the other hand, you can start speaking. So fast and so early. You can be surprised. I'm leaving you with a story. a good friend of mine actually. She had spent some time trying to learn German. And she was having trouble with it. And then I started working with her. And I found her to be very willing and. to did everything. I asked her and then within, I don't know, a couple of weeks, two months, her husband told me, what did you do with my wife? She suddenly speaks German. So it can be, and my teaching approach is much simpler, then what most classes do, and I don't go into so much, grammar, and I make my students speak. So, do that, wherever you're learning, start speaking, try to speak right from the beginning. Of course, if you're looking for a German course, you can contact me. we have everything. We have online courses that are starting, German beginner online courses. that have a, relatively low price point, that start in March. But there are also group courses available and there's individual lessons available. So whatever you need, you can get it. And in the meantime, thank you for listening to my podcast. Thank you for listening to this episode. Let me know. What you would like to hear what you would find most helpful and talk to you soon.


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