I meet often people who, despite they are living in Germany since many years, aren’t able to speak German.
And there are people who only learn Ich spreche kein Deutsch (I don’t speak German).
In the following you find tips to survive in Germany without speaking a good German or not speaking at all, but you want to improve your German:
- Learn the sentence Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch (I speak only a bit of German). Keep a low profile even if your German is not that bad, you get the understanding and the sympathy of your interlocutor, may be he will slow down his speech and use simpler words. In addition you will distinguish yourself from all the mass that doesn’t speak German.
- Learn the biggest amount of words in German, don’t care about grammar for the moment, don’t be worried of a perfect conjugation of verbs. Take care you know enough words to get you message through, and if your grammar is not perfect rely on your interlocutor’s cleverness.
- Talk, talk, talk. Doesn’t matter how many error you make, it’s important to communicate and get your message through, get used to speak the language you want to learn (German, Italian, whatever), listen the others and try to learn every time something more.
- Speak well a language means to get a mental representation of the language, a kind of mental recorded sound of the language, and try to imitate at best what you’ve heard. Many people have a problem with doing this because they are afraid to sound stupid, as result they are inhibited to talk the language. If can help you, this concern is common to everybody, so don’t be worried and talk the most you can, or better imitate!
- Don’t think you learn German only in the lesson. If you think 3 hours a week are enough to learn German then you can save your money for the course. Learn German (and maybe any other language) requires a full immersion, requires to be able to think in that language without the need to translate from your mother tongue. Try in any moment of your daily routine to describe what you see and you’re doing in German, write down the words you doesn’t know and search them in the dictionary as soon as you can.
My students tell me often of awkward and frustrating situations when they speak German. A bit like our meme friend you see in the comic strip below.