Author Topic: Wanting to learn German but not feeling motivated enough?  (Read 216 times)

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Offline Hieroglyph

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Wanting to learn German but not feeling motivated enough?
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:01:14 am »
I really want to learn at least some German, preferably to an intermediate level at some point. However, my school doesn't offer German for unknown reasons (what kind of school offers French, Spanish, and sign language but nothing else?). I'd like to be able to write in German especially. Speaking would be a nice bonus but writing is what I want to focus on.

However, the problem is that I feel very unmotivated to learn it in my own time. I know some great sites like DuoLingo to help me slowly come to understand the language, but what's the point if I can't even stick to a personal schedule or something? I'll just end up ultimately not making progress. After all, if I don't practice everyday for an extended period of time, I'll forget information.

Any tips on how to get myself motivated or even just to learn German easily?
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Offline Vlad

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Re: Wanting to learn German but not feeling motivated enough?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 01:42:18 am »
I've been in a similar situation... I wanted to learn German and my school stopped offering it the year I signed up for the class. I still had to take a language course to graduate, and I wasn't interested in any of the other ones. Unfortunately, they offered the students that still wanted to take it the chance to do so online... this went terribly for me. The course was a decade old, most of the links to outside websites and half of the course content itself was broken. There was nothing to motivate me to keep with the suggested schedule either. So I ended up not doing any of my work until the last week or two, and then hating myself while I burned through it all at the end, pulling late nights and dropping everything else just to get it done. I took two years of it, so four terms, and did this every time, until finally on the last term I didn't make it in time and I just plain failed the course. So I ended up having to retake it over the summer... on the same terrible online course.

Obviously this was a bad experience for me.

I did (and still do now that it's been a couple years) have a legitimate interest in learning the language though. One thing I found that helped me learn a lot and stay motivated to learn new things was looking at German media and entertainment. Whether it was listening to German radio, reading news sites written in German, or flipping through the German section of the instruction manual for a random appliance, picking out the words I knew and trying to understand the language was always far more exciting when I had some context to what I was interpreting. For me, listening to German music was a big factor (Rammstein is a favorite of mine, though they certainly aren't everyone's cup of tea). Just having a reason to care about what you're trying to learn helps a lot- once you know the most basic words and sentences, you can figure out a lot just by going through some text and looking up the words you come across that you don't know.

Speaking of which, a good German-English dictionary is very, very good to have. This one is fantastic- it's searchable, has audio pronunciations for many common words, has sentence examples, and often provides multiple ways of saying the same thing that may be useful in different contexts. I highly recommend you make use of it.

Once you have a decent understanding of the basics of grammar and conjugation, things will start to make sense to you and you'll be able to broaden your learning past whatever resource you're using to all sorts of real-life sources like I talked about above. This can be difficult to do, but once you reach that point learning becomes a bit easier and is definitely more rewarding. Speaking the language isn't terribly difficult (other than some of the harsher syllables), so try to learn to speak it while you learn to write it. Speaking and writing use different areas of the brain, and learning to do both will help cement that knowledge and keep what you're learning in your head. Saying phrases aloud helps you become familiar with the flow of the language, and I found it helped me understand how the grammar rules and conjugations worked within a sentence.

Another quick thing to note, it may help you to learn how to type some of the characters used in German that aren't present on English keyboards. To make one, simply hold down the Alt key while you type in the number sequence listed, and the character will be created when you release the key. There are also ways to represent these with normal letters, which I've forgotten... you can look them up.
Esstset (ß): Alt + 225
Lowercase U with umlaut (ü): Alt + 0252
Lowercase A with umlaut (ä): Alt + 0228
Lowercase O with umlaut (ö): Alt + 0246
Uppercase U with umlaut (Ü): Alt + 0220
Uppercase A with umlaut (Ä): Alt + 0196
Uppercase O with umlaut (Ö): Alt + 0214

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Offline Hieroglyph

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Re: Wanting to learn German but not feeling motivated enough?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 10:14:11 am »
Danke schön!  :fox-:):
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