So you want to learn German — So können Sie Deutsch lernen wollen #12

So you want to learn German? You’re going to need some resources…

Great! Welcome back. I’ve noticed that the installments of this series are really popular with readers of the blog. I am so stoked. The point of creating this series was to make a resource for language learners, unlike any that already exists on the web. German isn’t easy. I know. I’m going through this right along with you. Finding a voice like your own in the sea of information helps to gird your resolve.

How are you progressing in your lessons? Have you found something that works better for you than other tips? Let me know in the comments below.

The number one thing that I find working out the best for me is repetition. I told myself when I started this journey that I was going to attack it like I learned English, my native language. Some people might find using children’s material too condescending for them, but I don’t see it that way at all. Not only is the material adorable, but it makes use of known effective techniques. You don’t have to think about a thing, just review the material, whether it is video, games or reading materials.

Have you ever noticed that Dora The Explorer repeats herself, I think it’s three times for every phrase she wants to make sure the viewer pays attention to? Repetition creates connection. Think about your favorite song. What do you learn first? The hook, right? That’s because the part of the song called the hook, or even the chorus, is repeated several times during the song. That’s why it’s called the hook! Even though we adults might find the process irritating, it works. It’s genius. Congrats to Viacom for a great tool for students.

DORA THE EXPLORER © Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Dora the Explorer and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

So if you can’t find a lot of time to set aside each day, even if you’re only making use of an app such as Duolingo, what you should do is repeat the lessons. Frankly, I refuse to advance in my lessons on the Duolingo app until I have repeated them for several weeks. It might sound annoying, but the material will have a better chance of sticking with you. Be sure to go back and repeat old lessons. If you give yourself a goal of doing four to five exercise runs on the Duolingo app (Sets of Questions), make sure that two of those are old material, one is random and the last (one or two) is your newest lesson. If you don’t follow a similar formula, you’re going to be spinning your wheels and end up frustrated.

In my last entry on Learning German, I spoke about how life events can affect our cognition, or ability to learn. the above formula can help to get you through these patches. Besides, learning a new language is meant to be fun. Treat it like a game, and dominate! Go ahead and embrace the idea that you’re smarter than a lot of others because you’re doing this thing. Too many people never learn a second language in their lifetime. They’re just downright convinced that it’s too hard. Often, they feel they didn’t do too well learning their native language. Don’t let your fears of failure get you down. So you suck at your own language. A lot of people do in the technical sense, but if you’re successfully communicating day to day, then you’re doing all right. Go ahead and pick up another language–even if you don’t become fluent.

Did you know that learning another language can reduce your chances of dementia? Who doesn’t want to avoid that, or at least put it off? I know I would. So don’t let your current circumstances, self-doubt, or whatever if steering you away from language keep you from this vital brain food.

The reason it’s so good for your brain is that the repetition of the lessons create pathways, and the continue use of those pathways keeps the brain active.

Get hooked on a second language! Don’t run away from elementary tools. Your skill level in your current language is no indication of your ability to continue to learn. Be kind to yourself. Be brave. Repeat your lessons.

Stay tuned for more tools, tips and discussions on Learning German.

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Originally published at on March 24, 2016.