People who learn languages quickly are the stuff of legend. Especially when it comes to the “difficult” German language.
But are these language learners really so legendary? What if the methods used by people who have learned German quickly and without pain can be used by anyone?
It all starts by understanding the excuses people use to avoid learning the German language. Maybe you’ve heard some of these coming from your own mouth from time to time.
Let’s see if we can change that. With just a few shifts in your mindset, I’m confident that you’ll be on top of your game with learning German in no time.
1. The German Language Is Filled With Separable Verbs!
Called trennbar (separable), not to be mistaken with untrennbar (unseparable) or dual verbs (which can be both), separable verbs are actually kind of sexy.
For real: You haven’t had a good time until you’ve heard sentences that end in “ab” after making love.
But seriously, there aren’t a whole lot of prefixes in German to learn and they’re easy and fun to memorize. With a small Memory Palace, you can nail them all inside of an hour. Invest enough review along with The Big Five Of Language Learning so you the separable verbs in context and you’re set.
Here’s a good list of separable verbs with example sentences that you can learn, remember and recall to help boost your fluency.
2. The German Language Has Three Genders!
If I had an umlaut for every time I’ve heard this excuse that the German language is too hard to learn, I’d be … umlautet.
Okay, more inside humor for German learners, but the point is that the difficulty is not with the genders. The difficulty is in your mind. You’re focusing on the problem instead of the solution.
What is the solution?
Create a mnemonic for each of the genders. Then, when memorizing gendered words, include that image with everything else you’re using in your Memory Palace.
Pick A Method And Stick With It
For years, I’ve used a boxer or boxing gloves for masculine nouns. I use a skirt for feminine and fire for neuter.
My mnemonic for Der Himmel, to give an abstract example (heaven), is God boxing himself up in the sky. When I wanted to remember that “bear” is also masculine, I see der Bär getting in on that round with big red boxing gloves on.
Isn’t that nice of the der Bär to share a Memory Palace with God up in heaven?
Dive Into The German Language
With Your Own Mnemonic Examples
I can give you oodles of examples for the rest that would run on from here to … well, heaven. But mnemonic examples are best created by yourself, so pick a bunch of nouns you need to learn, create a Memory Palace and start assigning them your choice of mnemonic signatures.
The trick is to settle on images and stick with them. Once you do, you can use the Magnetic Memory Method without worrying about collecting only der, die or das words together. That has been a solution proposed by other mnemonists, including special Memory Palace cities with districts reserved for individual genders.
I don’t necessarily knock that technique. By all means give it a try. But I’m not sure it’s efficient over the long run, and the approach doesn’t maximize the power of Memory Palaces as defined by the Magnetic Memory Method.
The important thing is to have a strategy, use it and not fall back on excuses. When it comes to learning the German language, excuses won’t get you anywhere.
3. The German Language
Has Four Crazy Cases!
Yes, and you will need to learn them.
But here’s the thing:
Being in the German language, they’re all named in German. And to make it easy on you, they’re all masculine. So even if you still don’t like them, you can beat them to a pulp with boxing gloves and at least never forget that it’s:
See? You’re already one leg up thanks to memory techniques.
Study each and understand them. Afterwards, it’s just a matter of using your Memory Palace to memorize example sentences. And since you’ve been collecting vocabulary successfully using the Magnetic Memory Method, it’s easy to do.
Here are a few examples of the four German cases you can quickly memorize and pick up new vocabulary along the way if you haven’t already got them.
Once you know the rules, you’ll be able to spot the cases by site too. For a cool source of German sentences, I recommend German Short Stories For Beginners: 8 Unconventional Short Stories to Grow Your Vocabulary and Learn German the Fun Way! Even though it’s for beginners, I’ve still had a lot of fun with it and picked up vocabulary and phrases I didn’t even know I needed.
You can also use the newspaper if you’re a more advanced German student. Here’s a fun technique for finding cool German words and phrases:
Putting Aside Excuses Is What Makes Learning German Fun
And that’s just the thing: As Tony Buzan told us recently on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast, “the more you know, the more you know. And the more you know the more you know that there is even more to know than you thought you would have to know.”
But if you’re continually tricking yourself out of learning German because of what seem to be difficulties, you never get to know just how interesting the German language is at its core.
But the more German you learn, the more interesting the German language becomes. You just need to dive in and keep descending. If you’ve got memory techniques on your side, then your oxygen tank will never run dry. There’s no limit to how far you can go with your German.
If you don’t know how to create a Memory Palace or use the Magnetic Memory Method, no problem. Just grab my free guide, How to Memorize German Vocabulary. You’ll be up and running in an hour or less.