This post is also available in: German
Have your questions answered regarding:
- Learning German
- Personal Development
- Authentic German Learning
- My Humble Self
- Your Question
I just found the site. Where do I start?
I tried my best to make this site as easy to navigate as possible so you can find the answer to any question you might have. So feel free check out the menu bar and the sidebar.
If you already know what you are looking for, then just have a look at the categories or use this search:
How do I learn German?
Good question, and the one you should start with. You see, some people try to learn German in a way that doesn’t make much sense.
Here is where the natural approach comes in. You take your basic vocabulary and use that to understand simple German texts, videos, or audio. You will understand very little at first, but the more you listen and read, the better you will understand.
It certainly helps at first to have the translation, which is why I always try to provide you with one (for example, try reading both versions of this page by using the flag in the menu).
You will infer the meanings of new vocabulary words from context (or after having compared the original with the translation) and the more you hear or read them, the more the vocabulary words will stick in your mind. You see, you brain recognizes patterns and remembers them. That’s also how you will learn German grammar.
But there’s more you need! Learning German effectively also means having the right mindsets and habits.
You need to make a real commitment to learning German, after having figured out your strongest possible motivation. Furthermore, it has been proven helpful to set apart a fixed time every day so you can focus on learning German and on that only.
What is the natural approach?
The natural method, or natural approach to language learning, is a language learning method developed by Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell, based on Krashen’s scientific theories of language acquisition.
It’s a method that helps develop communicative skills, so it can really help you speak German! That’s in sharp contrast with traditional methods that teach through memorization and drill – those won’t really help you to speak German yourself.
The idea is that we can learn a new language like a baby, i.e. second language acquisition is basically the same as first language acquisition. That’s because our brain can recognize and remember patterns better than if we explicitly study the underlying rules.
Applying the natural approach is simple: Read and listen to a lot of German. The level of the material should be such that you understand roughly 70% to 80%, so not too hard and not too easy.
How can I learn German grammar?
Have a look at the answers above.
You can learn a lot of German grammar, not by explicitly studying the rules, but by reading and listening to German and your brain recognizes and remembers the patterns.
This way, you learn German grammar much much efficiently and you can apply it much faster! When you talk with a German or fellow student, you don’t need to think about all the rules and which ones apply, instead, your brain will match the learned pattern onto your own speech production.
It can also be helpful to learn German grammar explicitly, but it is often overemphasized by most German teachers. Much like a pupil in school studies the finer points of his own language, so it can be helpful to study grammar explicitly during later stages of your German studies, especially if you want to write German correctly.
Do you have German learning materials for beginners?
I’m in the process of creating a German course for beginners. You can get notified when it’s done! Simply write your name and email in the fields to get notified.
Which German learning resources do you recommend?
There are a couple of great German learning resources.
Many people use Duolingo, but I myself am more partial to Memrise. Those are good for beginners who want to gain basic vocabulary. Warning though: Don’t overuse them! Once you know basic vocabulary, you should be trying to read basic texts.
I highly recommend you use Wiktionary. It has detailed explanations of even the most difficult German words. There are tables showing you the conjugation of every verb and the declination of nouns. Of course, you might have to use Google translate in conjunction with the site. I highly recommend Wiktionary if you really want to know what a particular German word means or what is the difference between one German word and another.
I can also recommend Bliu Bliu* because you don’t have to worry about grammar, get exposed to new words and can click on any word or sentence and translate it into any language. I used it myself and even produced some content for the German section.
Finally, there is HelloTalk. This app allows you to talk with Germans who want to learn your language, so you can help each other out. It has nice chat interface with inbuilt correction system, translation and even voice chat.
Other than those, I now create most resources that you need. Have a look around, I’m sure you’ll find plenty on this site.
For example, there is the Authentic German Learning Academy for German learners who want to get to the next level. As a member, you get access to all my best German learning material.
How can I learn German articles?
When you look up a word in a dictionary, pay attention to the article and make sure to learn it as well.
However, it would be an impossible task to learn by heart every article of every word you know. Instead, read and listen to a lot of German and you will automatically acquire the article as well.
Since I have Android, I tried the first one and it is great! Try to keep up, it’s very fast. If you practice a while, I’m sure your streak count will increase more and more, so don’t get discouraged.
How can I find Germans to practice my speaking with?
First of all, remember that according to the natural approach speaking is not practicing. The best way to practice speaking German is to listen to a lot of German. This is important, especially if you consider how well proven the natural approach is.
For one, you can talk to me! I’ll gladly talk with you and help you out if you want to book me.
Then there is also HelloTalk, a nice app that lets you connect with Germans who want to learn your language. Use the voice chat feature to talk with them!
If you already live in a big city then meet them in person! For this, I highly recommend Meetup, a site I’ve personally used to join great meetups. You can search the site for “learn German” to find German learning meetups. Pro tip: If you already live in a German-speaking area, join any meetup you are interested in, that’s where you’ll find real Germans.
What does X mean? How do you say X in German?
I know it’s not always easy understanding the nuances of the German language. But I wouldn’t be a good teacher if I just give you the answer. So it’d be great if you at least try yourself and then tell me what you found out so far. That shows me you at least put in some effort and don’t use me as your personal dictionary. 😉
And also, always remember that context matters! So if you ask me what something means, try to give me as much context as possible so I can help you even better.
Finally, please don’t ask in a comment to an unrelated post or a private message. Help your fellow German learners by making a separate post in a public forum, for example, in the Facebook or WhatsApp group!
Which personal development books do you recommend?
There are many! If I had to boil it down to my top five, it would be
- The books of Alice Miller
- The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
- The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
However, the book that will help you most right now depends very much on what you are going through and which areas of your life you need to improve the most.
That’s why I made a whole page where I separate the best personal development books into categories and give a short summary/review for each.
There is also the category personal development books on my blog. I will continually add more and more book summaries and reviews there.
I invite you to check out my personal Goodreads account. Goodreads is like the Facebook of books, I love it and highly recommend it.
So, in summary, there are:
- Page: The best personal development books
- Category: Personal development books
- My personal Goodreads account
You can read more here.
Authentic German Learning
What can Authentic German Learning do for me?
Moreover, I will help you get your mindset right. Learning German can sometimes be frustrating, but I’m here to motivate you! That’s what I’m here for. I’m your friendly German teacher.
But rather than hear it from me, hear it from my students.
Which German dialect will I learn with Authentic German Learning?
I speak standard German (High German). If you master that, you will be able to speak with almost every German.
Even the ones that speak a dialect can either be understood with a bit more effort or they can also speak High German if you ask them nicely.
How did Authentic German Learning start?
I had an interest in starting an online business for a long time. It so happened that I was learning Italian in 2015. I found an Italian teacher, Alberto Arrighini, that totally inspired me.
I thought, “There should be a German channel like that!” So I set out to create it.
Over time, I’m proud to say, I created my own style. Now Authentic German Learning is what you see on this site. I try to inspire and motivate as much as possible.
By the way, you too can teach your native language if you want to. I enjoy what I do, so I’m always happy to help others achieve something similar. Just let me know if you want to create an online business.
Are there similar teachers and sites for other languages?
Yes! Luckily, there are!
I’ve been asked for a similar way to learn English. Though I can’t personally recommend him since I already learned English in school, I hear AJ Hoge from Effortless English does a good job.
How do you handle complaints?
Almost every day, I check all messages that people send me, so I respond very quickly and I always respond.
I want you to be happy with any product you buy, so I offer a 30-day money back guarantee. Actually, even after the 30 days are over I would rather refund you your money than have you be dissatisfied.
Can you do more videos with subtitles?
I have created many German videos with subtitles and I will always continue to make videos with subtitles.
However, let me show you the math:
- the workload for a video without subtitles: 20 minutes
- the workload for a video with subtitles: 14 hours
- videos with subtitles already created: 133
So, before you ask me to make more (unless it’s a specific topic), make sure you watch those 133 videos first.
Oh, and did you know? I’m now putting the videos with subtitles into blog posts, along with PDF and mp3 downloads. Furthermore, I create special interactive lessons based on these videos!
Personal Questions about Marco
Who are you?
Hi, I’m Marco.
I created this site in 2015 to help German learners like you to efficiently acquire the language with the natural method.
I’m passionate about personal development so I try to combine it with German learning as much as possible.
You can read more about my journey and motivation on the about page.
Are you a native German speaker?
Where do you come from? Where have you lived?
I was born in Rostock and lived many years in a small village called Rövershagen.
Most of my life I lived in Berlin, a city I love very much.
It’s very exciting to me to discover new places, so I have also lived a year in Middleton, Wisconsin (USA) as an exchange student, a semester in Vienna (Austria) as a university student (I studied mathematics), and some time as a digital nomad in various Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Living in other countries is a great opportunity for personal growth, so I want to help you learn German so that you can live in the many places where it’s the dominant language.
Should I say “du” or “Sie” to you?
“Du” is fine. Here you can find out more about how to decide between the two.
What is your main job?
THIS is my main job!
I invest countless hours every week because I want this project to be successful. I even had to burn through almost all of my savings and move to places with lower living costs to make it work. But now it’s working out and with your help and sharing of my content, it will become more and more successful!
What is the best way to contact you?
I’m glad you asked!
First, please check if your question is in this FAQ. Please don’t send me an email or private message if the answer to your question could benefit others.
Instead, please ask your question
- in the Facebook group (as its own post since I prefer comments on my content to be about the piece of content instead of something unrelated)
- in the WhatsApp group
- or tweet at @AuthGerLearning
so others can see the answer and will benefit as well.
These three options are always the best way.
Since my time is very limited and precious to me 😉 , I will also be more inclined to give you a more detailed answer this way. Thank you for understanding!
One message is enough; if I haven’t answered yet it just means I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
How can I talk with you?
As a German learner,
If you want to buy something and are not sure, you can schedule a call here.
As a group of German learners,
you can schedule a call here and we can work something out how I can teach all of you.
This is a good option if you’re on a tight budget: Find as many fellow German learners as possible that are on the same level, possible in the same German course, and let me know all of you need tutoring.
As a business person who has a proposal of how we might work together,
you can schedule a call here.
Not a question, but I get this message a lot.
If you send me this message and nothing else, you’ll have to wait a couple of hours (or days when I’m on vacation) until I have time to check my messages. Then I’ll respond back with “Hello.” – what else did you expect? Then (after a couple of hours when you check your messages) you might ask me what you intended to ask in the first place.
Save yourself some time and just ask what you want to ask! You see, I’m not good at small talk and prefer direct communication (which is very German of me 😉 ).
How are you?
I’m fine, thanks for asking.
I’m not good at small talk (see above). Also, I have personal boundaries I like to maintain so my answer will always be “I’m fine.”
I won’t tell you all about the things that are not “fine” in my life right now unless we are friends or I choose to make it public as a way to authentically teach you something.
Where are you? Are you still in …?
I’m currently in Penang, Malaysia. (When I move, I will update this page.)
Why are you abroad and why did you choose your current location?
I love seeing new places!
As someone who works online, I enjoy the freedom of being location independent. As a digital nomad, I change my location every 3 to 6 months.
Also, I want to invest as much time and money into this project as possible.
So I pick places with low living costs, easy visa requirements, good Internet, and sufficient security. Even better if the climate is warm and the people nice.
Wherever I am, that’s where I found a place to spend a lot of time working* and save money that I can reinvest into Authentic German Learning.
*Unless I don’t have a work permit or am not allowed to work because of my visa. Then I’m on vacation.
Please don’t suggest I come to your country. I appreciate the sentiment but it’s important for me to make up my own mind where I go. Or at least please provide me with a good reason of how I would benefit with respect to my criteria stated above.
When are you coming back to Germany?
I don’t know yet. Maybe in 2019.
Can we be friends?
I get this question sometimes. It confuses me because it usually comes from people who haven’t done much for me (or nothing at all, they have neither donated nor purchased anything), which makes our relationship very one sided.
Since I publish so much free content they feel like they know me, so I get why they might think I’m their friend. After all, I’m aiming to be a friendly helper to German learners.
What they don’t realize is that a friendship is based on reciprocity and shared values, so I can’t be your friend if it’s just an excuse to get even more free German learning help from me.
Yes, I am your friend if we have developed a good relationship that’s mutually beneficial and enjoyable.
No, I’m not and will not become your friend if you have to ask the question in the first place.
If you have read all the questions I answered on this page but I haven’t answered your question, then feel free to write your public question below or ask me a question in private here.
My preference is that you ask it here or in the Facebook group by creating a new post (not comment) since then more people get to see my answer.
This post is also available in: German