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If you want to know how to speak German, a great first step is to hold a conversation with another German speaker. To do that you’ll need to get comfortable with German pronunciation and vocabulary, both to understand others and to use yourself.
By learning German you’ll introduce to more than words – you’ll discover culture, travel and further human connection. Communication brings people together.
So, let’s get you confident in basic German conversation through pronunciation, conversation and effective learning methods. Let’s learn to speak German!
How to speak German? Take it step by step. The first skill you need is to pronounce German words and a key way to pick this up is to listen and mimic.
Get yourself some German pronunciation audio. This might be from a language learning app, videos online or tapes from your local library. Play the audio aloud and repeat it back.
Enunciate! German pronunciation is exacting unlike more mumbly languages like English. While this makes it easier to understand, it means you have to work harder to be understood. You might have to move your mouth more vigorously than you’re used to. Consider it a nice bit of facial exercise!
One initial stumbling block in German pronunciation is ‘ich’ (the German for the first person, ‘I’). It’s somewhere between ‘ish’ and ‘ick’. Here’s a little trick to learning. Say ‘yes’, but linger on the ‘y’. See where your tongue is behind your front teeth? Keep your tongue there and now say ‘ich’. Did it work? Keep practising and listening to audio!
So there you are – a basic German pronunciation guide!
It’s time to start talking to real people – an important step in how to speak German! Don’t be worried, it’s just another person. They fall over like you and break wind, just like you.
So now you’re a little more relaxed, it’s time to look at the aspects of German conversation. Of course there’s the vocabulary, and German pronunciation, but what about being polite? One key thing in basic German conversation is learning how to address others.
The second person pronoun, ‘You’, can be formal or informal in German. It’s probably better to default to formal - the person you’re talking to will let you know if they’re happy with ‘du’ instead of ‘Sie’. If you go straight to informal, you might cause offence, especially with older people or strangers.
Learn to speak German in a way that keeps you interested. You might want to listen to German-language music or watch their films and TV. There’s plenty to discover on streaming services like Netflix or in the foreign language section of your local DVD store. Start with the subtitles on and see how you do when you switch them off!
The best way to get good is to pronounce German words regularly. Practise every day! Use a language learning app, post lists up around your home, and speak German to your family and pets.
Most important of all: there’s no place for perfectionism when it comes to practising German. In fact, worrying about speaking perfectly can actually hinder your progress. Remember: everyone makes mistakes. That’s the best way to learn!
The Memrise app is a masterclass in how to speak German from your first lesson. And that’s it, you’re hooked on German conversation. You’ll discover German pronunciation audio from people speaking in their native language, in their hometown. So you can learn to understand authentic voices, not just bots.
You can practise your basic german conversation offline and on our website too – there’s a huge variety of German pronunciation lessons online, so you won’t get bored of the same exercises as you advance through the levels. In fact, behind the scenes, AI will be creating a new German pronunciation guide based on how you’re doing. Clever stuff.
We think it’s vital you’re learning to pronounce German words people *actually use*. Why learn German if you can’t communicate with people, only pass vocabulary tests?
That’s why, on top of helping you learn German pronunciation, we show you how to say things like ‘I think it’s cool,’ not ‘You are eating a sandwich’. And more basic German conversation like ‘Where’s good for pizza?’ and not so much ‘The woman likes milk’.
Our award-winning tech is informed by cognitive science and cutting-edge research into language acquisition. It knows what you are due to review, which words and phrases to test you on, and when, so you learn to speak German easily and far quicker than you could in the classroom.
Join over 35 million people learning a language on Memrise. Download the Memrise app or register online for free, for the best way to learn German whenever or wherever, online or offline.