Here are several beginner lessons which will have you speaking
basic German in minutes. These are words, phrases and pronunciation tricks
that give you the building blocks to being able to speak real German in
less than half an hour from now:
Being able to speak and understand the sounds of German words is crucial
to learning the language. Fortunately, German pronunciation is actually
much simpler than it seems. Once you nail down a few basic rules, it is
easy to properly read German out loud, and even have an intelligible conversation
with a native speaker. Here is a helpful guide
to German pronunciation.
The BBC provides an excellent starting point to learning
conversational German. The interactive lessons include audio pronunciation
along with the written words, and plausible scenarios that not only make
it easy to follow along, but provide you with real-life German phrases that
you will use immediately upon touching down in a German-speaking country.
Numbers in German
Here is where you can learn
how to count in German. We use numbers in our daily life more often
than we realize, and so do German speakers. Not only is this a key part
of learning a foreign language, but it’s really easy. After all, it
should only take eight, maybe nine minutes to get the first ten numbers
Cognates are words that have the roughly the same meaning and pronunciation
in two languages. Native English speakers have a head start when learning
German, because there are so many German cognates in English. For example,
the German word Vater (pronounced FAHT-air) is "father"
in English. Kalt means "cold," and so on. Here is
a list of 1300 English
and German cognates, for starters.
But beware of false
cognates! Also called “false friends,” these are German
words that look like English words, but mean something else entirely. Thorough
study of real cognates versus these imposters will quickly put you ahead
of most students in the classroom.
Here are ten essential verbs and their English definition. Knowing the meaning
of these German words in English will help you get ahead right away.
haben - to have
sein - to be
tun - to do
kommen- to come
sehen- to see
werden- to become
gehen- to go
essen- to eat
machen- to make
lieben - to love
Conjugating verbs in German is actually quite easy. Whereas romance languages
have a distinct variation on each use of the same verb, German somewhat
mirrors English in that a verb only rarely and even then moderately changes
its form depending upon what or whom is being talked about.
Here are conjugations for three of the most fundamental verbs in German.
Note the irregularity of sein:
ich habe - I have
du hast - you have
er/sie/es hat - he/she/it has
wir haben - we have
Ihr habt - you (pl; frml) have
sie/Sie haben - they/you (frml) have
ich bin - I am
du bist - you are
er/sie/es ist - he/she/it is
wir sind - we are
Ihr seid - you (pl; frml) are
sie/Sie sind - they are
ich komme - I come
du kommst - you come
er/sie/es kommt - he/she/it comes
wir kommen - we come
Ihr kommt - you (pl; frml) come
sie/Sie kommen - they come
Need more? Here is an online
German verb conjugator for both regular and irregular German verb
German differs from English in that words much more commonly
change their form according to something called "case." German
has four cases which are important to learn about. They are called nominative,
accusative, dative and genitive.
These cases also exist in English, and sometimes English words change
according to case. For example, the pronoun "I" becomes "me"
when the case changes from nominative to accusative. But word forms change
much more commonly in German, and it's important to understand what's
Before you get overwhelmed, however, there are two pieces of good news.
First, while it is important to learn the four German cases correctly,
you don't have to know them to start speaking German right away. And while
you won't learn the cases overnight, a native speaker will understand
perfectly what you are trying to say even if your cases are not 100% precise.
The second piece of good news is that the unique changes applied to the
genitive case are increasingly being replaced by the dative form, making
life easier for everybody. Still, it’s good to know about the genitive,
especially if you want to study literature and/or older texts.
Here is an explanation
of German cases.
More online German
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