Category Archives: Tipps zum Deutschlernen

First test – Mistakes is how you learn

If you’re like me, around this time you will have gotten the results from the first test of the level back. Usually in the Deutschakademie there are two tests, one after the first week, and one after the third week, to assess what you have learned so far.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was a bit disappointed by the first test I ever got back, because I had made many mistakes despite learning all weekend before. However, since then I have begun to see the process differently: I’m perceiving it more like a means to quantify what you have understood, and what you need to work more on in the future.

Tests are a good way to understand how far you’ve gotten, and to determine, for instance, if you need to prepare yourself more for an official German language test. Of course, everyone wants to do good in tests, but try and look at it from this point of view, and focus on learning rather than grades. You will see how much more fun it is! Good luck!

Google image translation

I want to share something here, some of you may already know it, some of you may not, it is a feature from the Google Translate App, which I find quite clever and useful. I myself have only discovered it this past week, and even though I think it’s been long present, still was excited by the discovery.

So you open Google Translate App on your phone, and right underneath the ‘Tap to enter text’ field, there are three icons: photo icon, microphone and pen. Tap the photo icon and it opens up camera mode, with which you can then direct at your book / newspaper / text in German and see the words automatically getting translated on your phone.

It is quite a nifty trick and it’s useful for me in class, when we’re reading texts and I’m interested in a quick and easy way to find out translations for the words I don’t know. Mind you, it’s not always perfect, and it’s better for single words than for contexts / sentences / phrases, but it can be a helpful tool.

Enjoy!

Freundschaft schließen

One of the things I knew I was leaving behind when moving to a new city was my friends group. People I’ve been hanging out for years, meeting almost every day and celebrating milestones with, would no longer be by my side. It was a bit unfamiliar, because I wasn’t sure what I’d find here, how the people would be and so on and I think this is something every person moving to a new country can relate to.

I think I was lucky in that sense though, and quite soon after I moved to Vienna. I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert or someone that makes friends very easily. However, I know that hobbies or extra-curricular activities are a great ground for bringing people together, especially in a place like Deutschakademie, which emphasizes friendly attitudes and provides socializing opportunities every month as well.

As such, I went to the first Stammtish event, where I got to know my colleagues better. Some of us aren’t in the same class anymore, but we do meet once in a while to catch up and have fun. It’s exciting because we all come from different countries and have different backgrounds and we get to learn a lot from each other. For instance, this is the last meeting at a Mexican Restaurant, introduced by one colleague, where we are enjoying some Nachos and a nice beer together. If you are curious about the Local, it is called Tin Tan, and can be found near the City Hall (Rathaus).

On the same topic, yesterday I found out that I was making a mistake in German. You don’t say ‘Freunde machen’, but ‘sich befreunden‘ or Freundschaft schließen‘ or even ‘Freunde finden‘. Hope that helps!

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Sprechen, sprechen, sprechen

The number one thing to improve in a new country is the language spoken there. It helps you from everyday situations, from the supermarket, or the doctor’s office, or making social contacts and friends, to having better job prospects and so on. It’s a crucial aspect of living in Vienna, as I’m sure everyone reading this blog is aware of, and it’s what we’re all working so hard toward – fitting in here, whether we are just staying for a few months, or wanting to make a life here.

When I hear stories of people that have moved in a foreign country, and have been living them for 5-10-20 years without learning the language, I am a bit amazed. It feels, to me, a bit like living in a bubble and talking only your native language, without exposing yourself to all the wonderful new things a new culture has to offer, particularly the Viennese culture, here in question.

For me, Deutschakademie has been wonderful, because it has given me the first environment and the courage to talk – flawed, and very possibly with many mistakes – but talk nonetheless. Even though rationally I knew this was a better alternative than not talking, I felt very self-conscious, especially when it came to talking with native speakers. But little by little, I grew more confident, I learned to accept that unless I’m willing to make mistakes while speaking, I’m never going to overcome them. And I think it’s how many of the students here feel as well.

Yesterday I managed to capture a moment between two colleagues, conversing in German during the break. You can see even from the picture that they were very engaged, and their faces lit up as they found common ground to talk about. I thought to myself how nice it is that speaking is able to bring people together like that, and how much easier it is to learn German in a German speaking country, as opposed to a class done back in my hometown, for instance, which felt more like a hobby.

Tips for learning – the post-it method

A few weeks ago, during a class at DeutschAkademie, our teacher gave us a tip for learning new words. This is a pretty interactive and fun way to do it, and I thought I’d share it with all of you.

I think it’s also called the Sherlock Holmes Method. Here it goes: you write the new words on post-its, and then, like a major detective, you start spreading out through the classroom (or house, works just as well at home).

You try to make associations, either with the meaning of the word and the nearby objects, or just to locate it within the room and to make yourself a mind-map with which word goes where. At start, I’d recommend you start with a few words, maybe five, but as you progress, you can up the number and have your room eventually covered in post-its. Ok, kidding, but you got the jest.

So, for example, the word ‘Strom’ could go next to the electrical outlet, or ‘Umweltproblem’ could go next to a map of the globe. I put up ‘Verkehr’ next to a squibbly painting, because that’s how I associated it in my mind. Does it make sense to you? Give it a try the next time you have a long list of vocabulary words to learn, which you can break down in manageable bits and go through them 5-10 at a time. Good luck!

Last day of class – congrats to all!

Yesterday was the last class day from the B2.1 Module. Honestly, I don’t even know when the time flew by! I was chatting in the break with a few colleagues and they were of the same opinion that a month goes by so fast. It was also a nice, relaxed last day atmosphere, and we were talking about what each of us will be doing next, vis-à-vis German learning.

Some people, such as myself, are going further with the B2.2 class, which starts on Monday, some are taking a short break or thinking about half-intensive classes at Deutschakademie. I liked that our teacher also put together a few possibilities for bettering our German.

We can use the DeutschAkademie app, or opt for a Konversation Kurs, or Konversation Klub. We can also seek to read Austrian newspapers and magazines, for instance – Deutsch Perfekt, a monthly magazine which has texts in all levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced.

There are many things that you can try to improve your German level, I think it’s important that you keep going, because consistency is key, and include a bit of German learning in your everyday routine. Little by little, you will see improvements, for instance today in the car I was surprised that I could suddenly understand what they were saying on the radio!

Thanks DeutschAkademie, and see you soon!

Oral presentations

At yesterday evening’s class, we had the oral presentations. This meant that each one of us has prepared a 10 minute presentation, on a medium of our choice. Most of my classmates chose to do powerpoint, although word, prezi or posters would also have been possible.

The point of this is to learn to express ourselves in German, and to make a clearly structured speech, over a topic of our choosing. I think it’s nice we get to pick the theme, because in this way we are able to speak about something we are passionate about, or that we enjoy, and share it with the class!

Yesterday we learned about Iran, Peru, Spain, Bioluminescence, Halal Food, Internet of things and other interesting topics. It was very fun to see a little bit of the world where the other class participants come from, or to learn about their hobbies and passions. And even though I am sure I made plenty of mistakes while speaking, it was a good experience, and one we all should definitely repeat as often as we can, as with each presentation we get better.

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Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen: fun way to learn them

So last week we started learning about Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen (Noun-verb connections), which, when you get to B2.1, will see is a long list of items right at the back of the book. Uff! Some are quite intuitive, while others need a bit of getting used to.

There are two types of Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen, ones whose meaning is very similar to the noun in the sentence, so sort of like a verb turned into a substantive, for instance: Interesse wecken für = jmd. interressieren für. The second type is a bit more tricky, because the meaning has nothing to do with the words in the expression, as in unter Druck stehen = gestressed sein.

Since they are quite a long list to remember all at once, our teacher prepared for us a very fun game. She made little cards, on which she separated the verbs from the nouns, so that we would puzzle them back together, and review the list of expressions at the same time. After we put all the pieces back together, she would come by and check that we did the match correctly. Then each of us had to make up five questions, including the expressions we had just reviewed and go around and ask other members of the group, in a fun interactive speaking game.

Tips for Vocabulary learning

Do you know those long Vocabulary lists, that you have to memorize by heart? Most people find them hard, and yesterday so did my class. So we did some brainstorming together, what possible ways of learning new words might be and I thought it would be cool to share it with you guys as well. Interested? Here we go

Learn with a partner. Read through the words and try to memorize them as best you can on your own, but then have someone else quiz you on them. Most of the time, when you just read through them, you think you’ve mastered them, but when you don’t have them before you anymore, things get trickier.

Flash cards. You can write the word on one part, the meaning on the back and do a similar process as described above, by yourself.

Putting the new words into sentences. This is a valuable tool, because your brain remembers associations better, and not just words on their own.

Audio lessons. Usually you hear the word, and then the speaker uses it in a sentence. It’s really good for learning pronunciation too.

Watching movies and TV shows in German. Can be with / without subtitles, as per your preference, or you can rewatch some that you already know, for better understanding.

What other tips for learning do you know? Share them in the comment section. Happy learning!

 

 

 

Last course day – what comes next?

Yesterday was the last session for the B1.2 Class. How did we spend it? We got our written tests back, and were able to see what we understood correct and what we could still work on, which is a good thing to do on a regular basis. We went over some more difficult topics and then we played some interesting and engaging games, to relax and have some fun.

We had a set of cards, which mainly contained 2-3 letters per card and we had to come up with a word in German that would consist of those letters, either in the beginning, middle or end. And it all happened counter clockwork, of course. The teacher was writing the words on the blackboard as we said them out loud.

Afterwards, we had a blackboard full of German words and we all worked together and made a story that contained them all – it’s really fun to read, you can check it out here.

Next week we’re starting with the following course, B2.1 and I am excited to see what comes with it. Some people will be continuing from this group, others opted for the semi-intensive course, but we’ll also have some new colleagues as well. For myself, I think I’ve made a very good choice when deciding which German School I should go with, I must say I have enjoyed the whole experience – the things learned, the atmosphere and the people. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. Keep up the good work!

Moving to B1. First thoughts!

Finally, this week, I made the big jump of moving from beginner level German classes (A1, A2) to middle level and I think its been an interesting change and one that must be shared with future students who will be making the same transition in due course. After all, it always helps to know the experience of people who have taken or are taking the same journey as you are! Additionally,it would also give me a chance to fondly remember the amazing time I had in the beginner courses at Deutsch Academy Wien!

Hard work ahead!

First of all, B1 does announce itself in with big bold headlines! The books are feel different and structured quite differently. The words we learn are noticeably longer (its German after all!) and more abstract, so cute cartoonish pictures to explain words are largely done away with. Instructors help you with the transition of course, but the message is clear – its a bit more serious now! Themes get more sophisticated and classes are more packed and some of us have to spend our break time going over new words that are not that easy to comprehend. Instructors also engage students assuming a certain comfort level in spoken and written Deutsch, so its quite a different ball game. Its generally the students who have to be more animated to get across to the teacher now!

All that being said, I really must mention the excellent coaching that we received at Deutsch Academy in the earlier levels as its the main reason for us being able to keep up with the demanding course work. I can definitely appreciate the effort that teachers spent drilling in basic concepts and lexicon into our brains, now that we have to rely on it so much for further progress. In many ways, B1 builds on top of concepts learnt in earlier courses and cements them further, so having strong basics matters more than ever. A big, heartfelt thanks to my instructors and my fellow students at the Zieglergasse location for all the help they extended to me over the past couple of months! I am grateful for it now more than ever!