I’ve been learning German for almost three years now. Can that be right? Yes, it’s right. Time flies. I started learning it in school, but after I dropped out, I kept on teaching myself.
Learning a language is one of the hardest things to do alone because you have to, you know, speak. I do a lot of talking out loud to myself and writing, but the biggest way I learn is by listening to a lot of German. I listen to German music, watch German movies, watch videos and try to translate them.
Like with anything else, when you’re learning a language, you need to stick with it. You can’t start learning it and then take a break for a week. I tell myself to do a half hour a day. It’s not a lot, but it keeps me on a consistent schedule. I’m on my way to fluency, slowly but surely.
The thing I have the hardest time with is vocabulary. Any of my high school English teachers could tell you this about me. I was one of those people who would get 100s on papers but 50s on vocab tests. You may be asking why someone like me would ever want to learn a language, I ask myself that every day.
This is why I do a lot of listening to German. After a while, you don’t have to think about the words, they just come. I can’t really sit myself down and study a list of words, because I’d be there forever. I just don’t have that kind of memory. I also don’t have the time to commit to that.
One of the best things that happens when you’re learning a language, usually after a long night of studying, is when you dream in that language. It’s a magical accomplishment. It always leaves me with a wonderful feeling the next day and a sense of motivation to make myself keep dreaming in German. German dreams are the best.
What I really want to do is go to Germany or Austria for a while and fully immerse myself in the language. I’ve already been to Austria and I loved it. That was only after two semesters of studying the language, though, so I just looked like a big doof trying to speak. Some day, when I’m rich and famous, I’ll move to Germany and only ever speak in German.
If you want to learn a language, go ahead and do it. It’s a wonderful skill and really cool. There are so many online resources of which you can take advantage. It’s not the easiest thing to teach yourself, but if you set aside some time each day, you’ll be well on your way.