How many methods to learn a language do you know? How many did you already try?
There are many ways, many ideas that work great allegedly. But in the end many of them are not appropriate to speak a foreign language fluently. Even the methods taught in most schools are very often inefficient. Pupils have to learn much grammar but can’t really communicate when they leave the school, although they took language lessons for five or six years.
It’s a pity! It shouldn’t be like that!
The best method to learn German
The in my opinion best method to learn a forgeign language is called The Natural Approach of Language Learning. It was developed by the American linguist Stephen Krashen in the 1980th.
And it’s a shame that this method is not really popular. Because it is so easy and efficient. I learned Spanish, Italian and French thanks to the Natural Approach. I promise to you: it works!
I want to explain the method a bit but in short to not bore you with too much theory.
To understand the method you actually only need to know the 5 Hypotheses of Stephen Krashen:
- The acquisition-learning hypothesis – There is a big difference between conscious learning and unconscious acquisition of a language. Only the unconscious acquisition leads to fluent speaking. You don’t need to learn grammar, vocabulary and language rules by heart. But better absorb a language unconsciously.
- The monitor hypothesis – That what you learn consciously is no basis for speaking a new language. But it can provide a basis as a useful monitor of your language. So if you speak German, you may use the learned knowledge in grammar from time to time to control the words you speaks. But if this monitor is used too much, you will also think too much about what you want to say. And that impedes your progress!
- The input hypothesis – The degree of difficulty of your learning material should be a bit higher than your actual language level. Audios and texts should be a bit more difficult than the content that you can already understand. Krashen is sure that only this way you can make progress and develop your language level.
- The natural order hypothesis– In learning a language there is a natural order of the things you learn. That means that you learn grammar automatically during the unconsious acquisition of a language. And this happens in a natural order. First the simple things, later the more difficult topics. This way you acquire the articles first and after a few months of constant learning you will maybe be able to understand how the tenses work.
- The affective filter hypothesis – The language learner need to be realxed and motivated to be successful. Your learning environment should be pleasant. Your teacher or coach shouldn’t exert pressure on you so that you are not scared to make mistakes. And the language learner should definitely know why he is learning the language. That means his motivation should always be on a high level. Then it will be much easier for you to absorb new information and to acquire a new language.
So, what does this mean for you now?
Very simple: If you are learning grammar constantly, stop it! The amount of grammar in your learning should be at 10 percent at the most. Just imaginelike little children learn their mother tongue! Without a grammar book and without any vocabulary list. In the same way (only a bit more slowly) we adults can learn to speak a foreign language. All the grammar you will acquire in a natural order and automatically.
If you have learning material that is interesting or relevant for you, on a language level that is a bit higher than yours. You should in the best case understand 70 to 80 percent of the audios and textsto make good progress.
And in any case you shouldfeel comfortable while learning German (or better: while acquiring German :-D). Make sure that your motivation is always on a high level! If you need a break, just have a break! If the learning material bores you, look for another one! If your teacher or speaking partner exerts too much pressure on you or has no patience for you, look for somebody else to talk with! Underthis link you will find the instructions to put the Natural Approach in practice.
It’s only up to you how fast you will learn to speak the German language! :-D