One of my favorite things about learning German as a teenager was having the ability to write a diary in another language that most people wouldn't be able to understand.
It helped me develop my writing skills, spelling, and simultaneously gave me some protection against any unwanted readers.
Even if you think you're not a journal/diary type of person, or a writer, I encourage you to work on your written German and spend some time each day writing a few thoughts down in German (or your target language).
What to write about?
Write the best you can!
Don't stop to look up a word.
Try and describe the word you're looking for.
Even if you have to write something like,
"It's not the animal, it's the one you use to navigate a computer" in order to describe a computer mouse.
Look up the word you're looking for later and use it again that day, say it out loud, repeat it, and keep using it.
You won't forget it again.
When am I supposed to find time to write?
One of my favorite recent purchases that has been a game-changer for my language learning routine is this cube shaped, time block (I have it in purple).
You can set the timer for 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes by simply flipping over the timer.
So, if I really only have 5 minutes to practice writing in my target language, I flip the cube over to the side with the "5" on it and the timer gets automatically set.
Once the timer rings, I'll know 5 minutes is up.
Whether it's first thing in the morning, over your lunch break, or before you go to bed, try to spend a few minutes reflecting, thinking in the target language, and writing down your thoughts.
German Language Learning Journal Prompts
I created some German Language Learning Journal Prompts to help you out in case you've got writer's block, you're stuck with a blank page, or just want a little guidance to start your daily language journal.
(Note: I plan to post free journal prompts for other languages as well, feel free to comment below or tweet me with which language I should do next!)
Das Datum ______________________
z.B. Heute ist Mittwoch, der 24 Mai 2017
The date ______________________________
For example, today is Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
Heute bin ich...
Today, I am..
Heute war ich...
Today, I was...
Morgen werde ich...
Tomorrow, I will...
Ich fühle mich…
Ich bin _________ gelaunt.
I'm in a __________ mood.
Ich habe _________ gemacht.
I did ________________.
Ich bin um __:__ aufgestanden.
I woke up at __:__.
Example Journal Entry
So a typical entry might start like this:
Mittwoch, der 24. Mai, 2017
Heute bin ich sehr dankbar, denn ich habe mein Ziel von 2.000 Follower auf Instagram erreicht. Es macht so viel Spaß mit so viele Leute zu sprechen jeden Tag.
You can keep your journal in a Google Doc, in the notes section on your phone, or print out a free, handy PDF that I've created for you!
Let me know if you have any questions!
Sound Like a Native Speaker
If you want to get fluent fast, you have to take advantage of some language hacks.
It's important you learn the right survival terms. You don't need to memorize the entire dictionary to be fluent.
Knowing the little tips and tricks will help you get fluent in another language fast.
When you start learning another language, you usually begin with learning how to speak in the present tense.
The issue that you'll quickly notice if you're trying to speak the language is that you'll want to say something in the past tense but you're not sure how to start.
You can't answer what you did yesterday if you don't know how to form the past tense.
By learning the most often used words in YOUR vocabulary, and memorizing the forms of the verb as soon as you learn that new word, you will sound like a native speaker in no time.
In German, there are two different forms of the past tense (just like in English). Das Perfekt is the form used most often in spoken German.
Das Perfekt is made up of a helping verb and the past participle of the verb. The two potential helping verbs that use are:
Sein - to be
Haben - to have
It can be a little confusing figuring out which helping verb to use with which verb and it's definitely something you need to memorize.
I highly recommend when you learn a new verb, to learn how to conjugate the verb in both the present and past tense as well as confirm which helping verb it takes.
Verbs of Movement Take Sein
As a general tip to remember, haben is used more often than sein but the sein verbs are of course, also very important.
Knowing which verbs take sein really make you sound more like a native speaker.
For the most part, verbs relating to movement take the verb "sein."
It's important to note that when it comes to becoming fluent in another language:
If you translate word for word, you will sound just like a nerd.
- Janice Young (Aka Frau Young, my high school German teacher who made learning German so much fun!)
Here are the 15 most used "Sein" verbs in German:
Learn German Fast
For more practice, create flash cards for yourself and remember to learn the past participle of the verb as well as the helping verb it takes.
Say it to out loud to yourself, 'bleiben - ist geblieben, bleiben ist geblieben."
Read it, write it, say it out loud, and repeat!
A printable version of the 15 most used Sein Verben auf Deutsch (Sein Verbs in German) as well as an Arbeitsblatt (worksheet) are available for you language learners and teachers out there!
The semester is coming to an end across the world and students are about to begin their summer vacations.
Do you have a plan to keep up with your language studies over your break?
Do you have any trips planned or will you be staycationing?
The best thing you can do over the break is take the free time you have and learn another language. Even if you're not a student, take the change in seasons to start your language learning journey.
The cognitive benefits of learning another language alone should make you want to start learning.
Recently, it's been found that people who learn a second language, even in adulthood, can better avoid cognitive decline in old age.
The best news is that the "dementia-delaying effects of learning a second language are not contingent on becoming fluent; it just matters that a person tries to learn it." - Cody C. Delistraty
Get that money, honey!
If that doesn't interest you, how about making more money? Being bilinguial, trilingual, or a polyglot can earn you more money, land you the job, or give you that perfect side hustle to earn extra cash when you need it.
Being able to communicate across cultures in different languages is invaluable.
Having a skill such as fluency in a second language will always come in handy.
You can freelance, translate, and even teach online.
Here are the 7 best ways you can keep up with your German studies this summer:
1.) Take a free German Language Placement Test to figure out your proficiency level at the beginning of the summer. You can take this again at the end of the summer and will be able to see how you've improved. It's a great way to see your progress!
2.) Download DuoLingo & Memrise, play games, and learn new vocab. on your phone in your downtime.
3.) Watch Netflix shows and movies in German! You know you're gonna want to chill and watch something at some point, why not watch it in German? Put the English subtitles on in case you need it.
Here's how to find shows in German on Netflix:
4.) Listen to German podcasts to practice your listening skills. There are podcasts available on iTunes about every single topic. Search for a topic that you're interested in auf Deutsch in iTunes and choose one of the podcasts to listen. See how much you can understand. You can always try something like Coffee Break German or Slow German if you'd like to hear something more structured.
5.) Make a weekly date to Skype a German speaking friend once per week, every week. If you don't have a friend who speaks German yet, go to a meetup in your city! There are meetups happening all over the world where you can connect with other language learners.
6.) Instagram auf Deutsch once per week. Interact with people in German by commenting on their photos and Insta stories, strike up a conversation, and practice your language skills while you're at it. If you don't know who to write to, schreib mit mir!
7.) If you really want to get fluent fast, sign up for one-on-one lessons over Skype with Nikki. We'll work together to develop the skills you need,
What language do you want to master this summer?
As you probably know by now, I speak 7 languages fluently.
I speak many more conversationally and am always learning new phrases.
A lot of people think that you have to be bilingual from birth in order to be a polyglot. Of course, it helps to already have an understanding of how another language works, but it's not necessary.
You can absolutely become fluent in another language FAST and at home.
And not to be super click-bait-y but the truth is that the fastest way to learn another language is...
Polish-American Polyglot, Language Expert, German Teacher, M.Ed., married to my dream guy, the Croatian Sensation. Let's connect!
I aim to provide as much free content as possible to help teach others around the world how to speak another language. I am trying out using affiliate links, which means that I may earn a tiny commission if you click on a link or make a purchase through a link posted here. All opinions and materials are my own, unless otherwise stated. If you use and like my materials, let me know! :)