The key to learning a language is context. Learning in context gives meaning to the vocabulary and grammar one learns. If you just learn vocabulary by using lists, you are likely to use the words wrongly. Grammar often only starts making sense, when seeing it used in example sentences. Learning vocabulary as part of a sentence, helps with connecting new words with words you already know. But German grammar exercises need to be carefully thought through and well designed.
One way to learn with context are cloze tasks. They can be effective in increasing recall. When filling out gaps one has to consider the meanings of words. Once the meaning of the word is involved a different level of learning is engaged. Cloze tasks add a deeper level of processing because they embed the words in a particular context. Completing them will expose you to actual language usage.
When does one say zahlen rather than bezahlen? What’s the difference of können and dürfen? How about bringen and holen? If you check the dictionary, both of them essentially mean „to bring” or „to get”, the differences are subtle. All these differences are mostly based on context.
At smarterGerman we make use of Learnclick for creating cloze quizzes. Learnclick is a great tool for asking questions in context. Check out our interactive exercises for Lesson 01. When you hover over the i-icon, you will get a tip of what you have to enter into the gap. For instance, you will need to ponder which verb to use and how to conjugate it. Other exercises give you options as a dropdown list and you have to choose the correct German translation for a sentence. If you’re stuck, click on the button „I give up! Show me the answer(s)“.
Do you find yourself always making the same mistakes? Why don’t you try our German grammar exercises for free? You can access them in lesson one of our Everyday German online course here.
In summary, when learning a new word or grammar point try to understand the context and practice using it yourself more often.
There is only one German articles table that you need to learn to master many parts of the German grammar and that is the table with the endings of the definite articles in all four German cases. Those endings can be used with all other articles like e.g. dies-, welch-, mein-, ein-, kein and for the strong article endings (see my A2 German grammar video course to quickly and clearly understand the logic of those and for a really neat technique that will help you mastering them).
Songs with a repetitive melody are very helpful for memorizing information that otherwise does not make any or much sense. The articles are also very abstract and therefore not easy to digest. With a spoonful of sugar you will get a grip of them quickly and also be able to recall them easily when needed.
A SONG WRITTEN FOR YOU THE GERMAN LEARNER
My lovely associate Maggie Jabczynski has composed a song especially for you, and also put a beautiful logic into this song, which unfortunately will only be visible for you if you are a musician or at least able to read notation (see end of this post). But don’t worry. You won’t have to understand this logic to benefit greatly from this song. It’s jus a neat gimmick.
If you are a musician and know what I have been writing about above, maybe you’d like to try to put your findings in simple words, so that everyone is able to understand it.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE LOGIC BEHIND THE GERMAN ARTICLES TABLE
Now, go and watch the video. The song starts at approximately minute 5:30 but I strongly recommend that you take the time to listen to my instructions beforehand. I wish you success with your German learning and hope that you benefit greatly from the smarterGerman approach and the German articles table song.
If one of your goals for 2015 is to learn or to improve your German, I would love to support you. Until the 31st of March 2015 I will offer a 100% refund to anyone who purchases my complete German grammar course for beginners* (or try the B2 German Grammar Video Course) also av set who takes and passes a German B1 exam either at a Goethe Institut of your choice or at an institution that is certified by TELC. All I want in return is a scan of your B1 certificate and your permission to publish it on any of my channels with a lovely picture of you. The exam has to be taken until the 31st of March 2015. You will still get the refund if you reach in your certificate a month or two later as those usually take a few weeks to issue. Important is the date of the exam. And you don’t have to be an absolute beginner. The offer stands even if you have already passed the A2 exam. I hope you like this idea and that you will be successful in your endeavor to learn German.
My best wishes and a happy new year. Your Michael
*Please use the link above to purchase the course as it helps me to track the effect of this campaign. All data remains within my domain and not google or any other 3rd party. Due to technical issues it will not lead you directly to the course, but I think you will manage to find it nevertheless.
The 100% refund only applies when all of the following points are fulfilled:
-you are aware that you will need additional material to pass the B1 exam as my course if focussing on grammar only -your B1 exam is taken with a Goethe Institut or at an institution certified by TELC -your B1 exam is taken until the 31st of March 2015 -you can be at any level below B1 for the refund to apply -you have passed that exam. -you send me a scan of the certificate, a nice photo of yourself and grant me permission to use it for smarterGerman.