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So, You Want to Learn German...

So, You Want to Learn German...
German is very closely related to English, which makes it one of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn! German is also a handy language to learn if you’re traveling to Europe, as it is the most commonly spoken language in the European Union. German is an official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy (South Tyrol), Liechtenstein and communities of Belgium. Additionally, German is the third most taught language in the world (beat only by English and French).

Here are a few fun facts for you:
  • German and English share an astonishing 60% of their vocabularies, so you’re already off to a great start with learning German!
  • The first book ever printed was in German. (It was the Gutenberg Bible.) 
  • German was almost the official language of the United States!

It’s A Little More Than Just A, B, C

While the German alphabet shares the 26 letters of the English alphabet, you should also be aware that it has 4 additional letters you’ll need to know.

Ä, Ö and Ü are called “umlauts” and sound very similar to A, O and U, but they are formed in the front of your mouth and thus have a sharper sound.
β is often mistaken for “b” but it is called “esszett” and is pronounced as “ss”.

German Does Have Gendered Nouns & Unique Pluralizations

One important difference between German and English is that German uses gendered nouns and articles. Additionally, there’s no “rule of thumb” on how to make a German noun plural. You’ll just need to learn them as you go.

 What About Those REALLY Long Words?

Many languages have compound words, “Basketball” is one English example. But, German is notorious for compounding words to the extreme. Mark Twain once notably said, "Some German words are so long that they have perspective." One great example is the word “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” which clocks in at 63 characters and refers to a law for beef labeling regulation. Luckily most words are much more manageable!

How Fast Can You Learn German?

Well, that depends. One source, the US Government’s Foreign Service Institute, estimates that it takes 600 hours in a classroom setting to achieve a general professional proficiency. (You can learn more about how long it takes to learn new languages here.) For most people that would take years to achieve! But, with our Guided Immersion system, you can learn German in hours, not years!

Ready to get started learning German fast with OptiLingo? Click here to get started. Your first two weeks cost just $9.99!