You probably know this: You are listening to a conversation between Germans but you don’t understand anything. Although you are learning German already for years. This could be due to the fact that many people are using the colloquial language. So don’t worry! It is absolutely normal that you don’t understand everything immediately. The colloquial language is very complex in every language.
I am learning different languages already for many years. But also I got the problem from time to time that I don’t know certain words and phrases. For example when I am watching a Spanish TV series or when I am reading an Italian novel. And I know it can be very frustrating to not understand anything or to look up every second word.
But what exactly is colloquial language?
Colloquial language is the everyday language used by the poeple. Colloquial language is athentic, varied and alternating. It is the language that is accepted mainly and spoken or at least understood everywhere but that doesn’t correspond to the standard language. Other words for colloquial language are everyday language or slang.
Everybody of you is using colloquial language daily. Usually when you are under friends or family members.
At work in conversations with the boss is normally used the standard language. The German standard language is that what you probably learned in school. The language that is taught in school.
Many different influences
The difference between both language versions is that the standard language ususally doesn’t change. Even after many years it is still the same. Howeverthe colloquial language is evolving constantly. It is always influenced by different factors, for example the social development or subcultural phenomenona.
Music can have a very strong influence on the colloquial language. Or other things like the origin or the age of a person or even the language in the social networks. There are several influencing factors. That mean a 15 year old boy from Hamburg uses completely different words than a 60 year old man from a village in Southern Germany.
And that is the reason why it is so difficult to dominate the colloquial language. If you don’t live in the country getting everything that happens there, it is barely possible to know every expression.
You can’t learn the colloquial language! Just don’t try it!
But you can improve your listening comprehension concerning the colloquial language and your understanding for how to use it– if you got the right material for German learning. And if you don’t try to learn the German language but to acquire it with the Natural Approach of Language Learning.
Understanding the colloquial language – with the right learning material
If you want to understand and to use the colloquial language, look for learning material that contains colloquial language!
For example TV series on Netflix or German novels with stories containing colloquial dialogues. Also on youtube you will find a few possibilitiesto listen to the German colloquial language. On my youtube channel I am creating dialogues in authentic and colloquial German regularly. And I am offering language courses on my website which contain a lot of colloquial language.
If you got that learning material, listen to it many times until you absorbed the words and phrases. Pronounce them loudly! Write them into a little book and watch them regularly! This way will will keep them in mind.
The key is regular repetition!