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5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

1. Schedule your time.

One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

Click here to get the German Word of the Day for FREE!

3. Make friends!

Make friends!

If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

4. Take a break!

Break time

If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

5. Don’t give up!

As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the German proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in German.

5 Benefits of Learning a New Language

5 Benefits of Learning a New Language

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” - Charlemagne

Learning a new language is an achievement anyone can be proud of and it’s exciting and beneficial at all ages. It offers many practical, intellectual and aspirational benefits. A wave of new research shows the incredible psychological benefits of learning a second language. These benefits extend far beyond being able to order a cup of coffee abroad or ask directions to your hotel.

1. Learning a Foreign Language Boosts Brain Power

Medical studies have shown the positive effect learning a second language has on the brain. A foreign language is a whole new system with distinct rules, etymology, and meaning, which are just a few of the complexities of a language. Learning a new one puts the brain to work by recognizing this new language structure. As the brain works out meaning and makes full use of this new arsenal to express ideas, it sharpens its reading, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. The fact is, language centers in the brain actually grow in the process of learning a second language.

Boost your brain power!

2. Stave off Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Knowing a second language can postpone the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 4.5 years. This is significantly better than the best Alzheimer’s drugs, which can only delay symptoms by 6-12 months. Brain scans have found a noticeable difference in the brain activity of bilingual seniors. Their brains work much more efficiently, more like those of young adults. Scientists believe these seniors’ brains have more reserve brain power that helps compensate for age-related memory loss.

Click here to learn how to introduce yourself in German!

Want to learn how to introduce yourself in German?
Click here to check out this FREE German video!

3. Improved First Language

As we go about our everyday lives, we rarely give a second thought to our own grammatical structure and vocabulary. However, when learning a new language, many people find they have a greater understanding of their first language. Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language: grammar, conjugations, and sentence structure. This makes you more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated. These skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and writer.

4. Boost Your Memory

We know that people who speak more than one language fluently have better memories and are more cognitively creative and mentally flexible than people who are monolingual. The more the brain is used, the better its functions work. Learning a new language structure entails becoming familiar with vocabulary and rules, and applying this memorized information to communication. This strengthens your memory because your brain’s ability to associate information with mnemonics has been boosted, and it is better at retaining information.

5. Improve Understanding of the World

A language is a doorway to a particular culture. Learning a new language enables a person to have a broader understanding of that culture. You will have access to a whole new array of film, music, and literature, and a greater understanding of the history and culture of the nation – and ultimately, a better understanding of the way the world works, including politics and international relations. You will be able to connect through books, TV, and the Internet and converse with a whole country’s worth of people, which broadens your horizons, interests, and views. A whole new world will be open to you.

Click here to learn new and unique German vocabulary and phrases with FREE Vocabulary Lists!

Open up to a while new world.

Cyber Monday at Ultralingua: For People Who Love German!

Incredible news from our friends over at Ultralingua, the online and mobile dictionary specialists. A good German dictionary can be hard to find, but with Ultralingua and GermanPod101 by your side, you’ll be armed with 2 of the most powerful German learning tools online.

Ultralingua Cyber Monday Sale! Save up to 66% on on Ultralingua Dictionary products! Sale begins Sunday, November 25th, 2012 and ends at midnight Cyber Monday. (That’s November 26th, 2012!)

Check out some of their amazing deals:

The All New Ultralingua Dictionary for iPhone and iPad: Free to download, save 25% on all In-App Upgrades until Monday! Click here to download it free!

Original Ultralingua iPhone and iPad Apps: Save 25% instantly when you purchase during this Cyber Monday sale! Click here to browse Ultralingua apps on iTunes!

Mac and Windows German Dictionaries: Save 25% when you use coupon code CYBER at checkout! Click here to learn more!

Annual Online Dictionary Subscriptions: At just $10 per month, you save a whopping 66% on all annual dictionary subscriptions at Ultralingua. Just enter coupon code CYBER at checkout!

Looking for other language dictionaries? Ultralingua has dictionary products for 13 languages including Spanish, Italian, French and even Klingon! Read more about Ultralingua at the Ultralingua Word of the Day Blog.

Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

One of the most important things to learn about a language, aside from introductions, is how to apologize in case you find yourself in the unfortunate situation that you need to do so.
In the case of German, the most general word of apology is “Entschuldigung“. This literally means “apology“, and
it’s used in most situations:

  • when you’ve accidentally done something bad
  • when you want somebody’s attention
  • when you want people to make room

Keep in mind though, that you should not use it when somebody tells some sad news about themselves, because that is not something you
should apologize for – unless you had any stake in it.

If you need something stronger than “Entschuldigung”, use “Es tut mir leid“ (literally translates to ‘ it does me
harm’ ).
And you can make it even stronger by adding an adverb before the “ - leid”.
For example,

Es tut mir wirklich leid. - I’m really sorry.
Es tut mir sehr leid. - I’m very sorry.

And what to do in case that a friend is the one that is apologizing to you? In this case, the words used to accept an apology informally are:
Es ist (schon) okay. - It’s okay (now).
Kein Problem. - No problem.

Language Borrowings

Young children attend a Kindergarten (children’s garden). Gesundheit doesn’t really mean “bless you,” it means “health” — the good variety being implied. Psychiatrists speak of Angst (fear) and Gestalt (form) psychology, and when something is broken, it’s kaputt. Although not every English-speaker knows that Fahrvergnügen is “driving pleasure,” most do know that Volkswagen means “people’s car.” Musical works can have a Leitmotiv. Our cultural view of the world is called a Weltanschauung by historians or philosophers. Such terms are commonly understood by most well-read English-speakers.

More English words borrowed from German:

(Notice how many have to do with food!) - blitz, blitzkrieg, cobalt, dachshund, delicatessen, ersatz, frankfurter, glockenspiel, hinterland, infobahn (for “information highway”), kaffeeklatsch, Munster and Limburger (cheeses named for German cities), pilsner (glass, beer), pretzel, quartz, rucksack, sauerkraut, schnaps, (apple) strudel, waltz, wiener.

Germanic cognate terms:

(Shared in common; mostly family-related words, parts of the body, and old basic words) - der Arm, der Ball, der Bruder, die Hand, das Haus, das Ende, das Gold, gut (good), der Finger, lang, der Mann, die Maus, Montag (Monday), die Mutter, der Vater, die Schwester (sister), der Sohn, die Tochter (daughter), das Wasser, das Wort (word).

English in German:

The following German words have been borrowed from English. Usually the only difference is the use of the German article (the - der, die, or das - masc., fem., neu.) and the capitalization used for all German nouns. The pronunciation is usually similar to English, but sometimes with a unique German twist. They are usually German’s more recent borrowings. English terms: das Baby, der Babysitter, babysitten (to babysit), das Bodybuilding, das Callgirl, der Clown, der Cocktail, der Computer, fit (in good shape), die Garage, das Golf (der Golf is “the gulf” or a VW model), das Hobby, der Job, joggen (to jog), der Killer, killen (to kill), der Lift (elevator), der Manager, managen (to manage), das Musical, der Playboy, der Pullover, der Rum, der Smog, der Snob, der Streik, das Team, der Teenager, das Ticket, der Tunnel, der Trainer (coach), der Waggon (train car).

Loan Words from French (Französisch):

The following German words look like English words, but they are actually words from French that both English and German have adopted. They are more recent than the Latin borrowings below. French borrowings include: das Abenteuer (adventure), die Armee, das Ballett, die Chance, fein (fine), galoppieren, der General, die Infanterie, die Kanone, die Lanze (lance), der Offizier, die Parade, die Parole (saying, motto), der Platz (place, square), der Preis (prize, price), der Prinz, die Prinzessin, der Tanz (dance), die Uniform.

Loan Words from Latin (Latein):

Both English and German have borrowed heavily from Latin. Latin was the language of the universities in Germany and the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. Because such words are very old and have undergone changes over the centuries, some are not very obvious equivalents. For example, the German word Birne comes from Latin pirum which gave us the English word pear. Some other Latin loan words: aktiv, der Altar, der Atlas, die Disziplin, der Esel (ass, donkey), das Examen, die Feige (fig), das Fieber (fever), der Kaiser (Caesar, emperor), die Kammer (chamber), die Kamera, der Kanzler (chancellor), der Keller (cellar), das Klima, das Kloster (cloister), das Kreuz (cross), die Lilie (lily), der Markt (market), die Meile (mile), das Münster (minster, church), die Münze (money, coin), opfern (to offer, sacrifice), die Pforte (portal), das Pfund (pound), die Rose, der Student/die Studentin, die Tafel (tablet), der Wein (wine).

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From GermanPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at GermanPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn German together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study German with GermanPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the GermanPod101.com team!