Want to learn German?

So, you’ve heard all about the GAPP exchange, read a testimonial from a former GAPPer, you’ve seen some pictures and videos of Germany, heard an audio file of the German language, and maybe you even took the poll of which German city to visit. What’s next??

Well….how about learning a bit of the language yourself?

It’s really not that difficult, I swear! As more and more user-friendly tutorials become available for free online, learning languages is ever-more accessible. In fact, one of my favorite places for absolute beginners of German to start is “Learn German with Ania” on YouTube. Ania is a native German who gives lively German lessons using English as the basis for explanation. She offers 50 free lessons that progress in novice-level difficulty, so nothing will ever become too complex. The beauty of Ania’s videos is that you have personalized lessons delivered whenever you want them, and you can go at your own pace! Before you know it, you’ll be able to have your own Konversation auf Deutsch!

So sit back, relax, and get ready for Lesson 1: Basic Greetings in German



18 thoughts on “Want to learn German?

  1. This is great! I’m going to have to tell my family about this. My husband taught himself basic German using audio CDs that he played on his long commutes. Now my son is interested and I think these YouTube videos would be great for him. Thanks for posting.


  2. This is an awesome post! I can’t lie, I’ve thought about learning German; my family is Pennsylvania Dutch, so a lot of the things that my family says are dutch-y in nature. There are a lot of cultural things in my family that have German roots, so I think I would really enjoy being able to understand more!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pennsylvania Dutch, you say?! I hear that language is based off of the German dialect called Pfälsisch (not standard high German, so unless a German grows up in the Pfalz, s/he can’t speak or comprehend it – dialects are so cool that way!). You should learn German – just for fun! Also, what kind of Dutch-y things does your family say? I’m curious!


      • Yep, that sounds familiar. While I don’t know the exact dialectical origins of PA dutch, I do know that a big company (Pfaltzgraff Glass) is from this area (I’m guessing it all links together). My family will say phrases that they say are PA-dutch in origin: Red up the room (clean up the room), stop “Fressin” before dinner (eating before dinner), “rutching” around (squirming around), and some others. I found this old article https://goo.gl/zReTFN which describes the PA dutch-isms pretty well! My family doesn’t use all of these, but they definitely phrase things strangely in speech!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cool! I can say for sure that “fressen” and “rutschen” are German words. Fressen is “to eat” (actually, it’s the specific term used for animals. “Essen” is for people, but “fressen” can be used on people if referencing really messy, wolflike eating), and “rutschen” is to slide/slip, which can be used in the sense of squirm too. Cool! “Aufräumen – or, in the command form “Räum auf!” is high German for “to clean up”, so that doesn’t match the “Redd up” phrase, really.

        Interesting note: I have a friend from PA who says her family uses PA Dutch-isms as well (many of which come from German). She mentioned saying things like “the milk is all” growing up to indicate that the milk was gone (“Die Milch ist alle” in German). My parents (from Wisconsin) said they said stuff like this too (and used a lot of Germanisms, because my grandparents spoke a mix of German and English in the home).


      • OMG yes. Whenever something is empty, it is “all.” I never realised how wrong that was, from and English grammatical standpoint, until middle school. It was so used in my family that I thought it was normal. My family is a few generations past fluent or semi-fluent German, but there are definitely strong German roots (some of the surnames in our family are Koontz, Heim, and Berg).


      • P.S. Now that I’ve finally read through the article you included in your comment, I see my earlier reply is redundant. Note to self: read first – doh!

        Interestingly enough, Wisconsinites use a lot of similar vernacular as listed in that article (with a dash of some of our own uniqueness, of course). I always giggle when my mom tells someone to “come here once”. My automatic reply to her is “just once?”. And my oldest daughter (now 5) just picked up “yet” as a sentence filler and used it on me on the phone while staying at my parents’ house last week. I had to laugh.
        Here’s a short, funny list of Wisconsinisms that are sprinkled into conversations around here: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/20-phrases-youll-hear-when-in-wisconsin

        I love this kind of stuff!


      • This is great! I’m so glad that PA dutch isn’t the only weird English user in the US! And “come here once” is a daily phrase. I would say I hear it at least twice a day (and probably me saying it!). And we also overuse “yet!” Too funny 😀


  3. I love YouTube as an educational resource. It is an amazing platform. I know there is a lot of nonsense on YouTube but then there are tutorials like the one you posted that will truly help someone who is visiting a new country. I enjoyed watching the lesson. I love to post tutorials on YouTube and picked up some tips from her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad YouTube has grown to become the video repository it now is! I use it all the time in my lessons to nab authentic German tid-bits (I also use it a ton personally, too). As far as Ania goes – I wish I had her energy! You mentioned you post tutorials there too? Spill the beans and share a link or two – inquiring minds want to know!


    • I say that to my kiddos too! I think it’s awesome you have a close personal connection to Deutschland. Best of luck in rekindling your German skills with your Großeltern!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kerry,

    Thanks for sharing this great tool! After all you shared with me about Germany, how do the Germans react when foreigners use their language? Koreans are generally appreciative when you make an effort but they aren’t used to hearing their language spoken imperfectly the way we are as English speakers. They often can’t make out what I’m trying to say for one reason or another. Cadence and chunking are really important in Korean, for example. How about there? I’ve also heard you must be fluent in the language before you’d ever be granted citizenship. So cool! I wish I could do a GAPP year myself!




    • Germans react very congenially when foreigners use German. They appreciate people trying to understand their language, particularly English-speakers, because many Germans also know English, but going out of your way to speak their language speaks volumes to them. You are esteemed more for your efforts. Even my students, who speak “baby German” with many mistakes are given credit, though the Germans often automatically reply to them in English out of kindness and sometimes to practice their own English skills.

      I don’t speak English at all over there, though, and the Germans are astounded to find out where I’m from when/if it comes up. I suppose it’s rather rare to find a traveler who speaks fluently in their tongue.

      As far as citizenship in Germany goes, it helps to be fluent 🙂 Here’s information I found online (though you don’t have to become a citizen to reside there long-term, of course):

      “To become a naturalized citizen, you have to have lived in Germany under a limited residence permit for at least eight years. But you can also get this shortened to seven years if you take a German-language integration course, which can be done fairly affordably through a local Volkshochschule (basically a community college).

      But very crucially, you also have to know German.

      “The ability to speak German is an absolute necessity. Being able to communicate in German is essential for social and economic integration,” writes the Interior Ministry.

      So how good does your German have to be?

      “Sufficient command is defined as being able to cope in German with daily life in Germany, including dealing with the authorities, and being able to conduct conversations commensurate with one’s age and education. As a rule, this includes being able to read, understand and orally reproduce a German text on a general topic.”

      On top of that, you have to prove you can support yourself financially, have committed no serious criminal offences and give up your current nationality – except for in circumstances where this isn’t possible, like countries that do not allow citizens to do this.

      There’s also a naturalisation test that you must pass, which has 33 questions in B1 level German about the country’s laws, history and people. You must pass 17 out of the 33, or just over half.”


      Best of luck to you in finishing your degree – I’ll keep checking your blog for updates, so you might hear from me from time to time!

      mit freundlichen Grüßen (with friendly greetings),



  5. I never thought about using YouTube to learn a new language! This is an amazing resource and I can’t wait to look through and see what I can find. Thank you for this post it really opened up my eyes!


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