The Bayou City is the fourth most populous city in the United States after NYC, LA, and Chicago. Boasting over 2.3 million residents, Houston is sprawled throughout 655 square miles of international appeal, Southern charm, and four rivers known as bayous because of their slow, meandering, and murky water.
Houston’s population is also a melting pot of races and ethnicities that is said to resemble the “nation’s demographic future”. More than 145 languages are spoken throughout Houston’s four bayous with 33% native Spanish speakers and 1.3% native Vietnamese speakers.
The influx of people from around the world moving to Houston has made learning a new language easy. The city’s diversity lends itself for people to learn a second or third language to better communicate with one another and for personal growth. If you’re on the quest to learn a new foreign language, then you’ve come to the right place.
Superprof, an online community of tutors from around the world, can help you find the right linguistic teacher that fits your schedule and your foreign language goals, learning to speak German is one of them. The platform can connect you with a German teacher as well as with many other tutors that can show you the ropes on the world’s most prominent languages, hobbies, skills – you name it!
Hiring a tutor has never been easier, with options to access German lessons in Houston from local tutors or virtually with tutors’ around the United States and the world. Tutors found in the Superprof community have all been evaluated so you can rest assured their competency in the subject you want to learn is unparalleled.
But, if you are still unsure if German is the language you want to learn then keep reading for a few tips, tricks, and reasons why German should be the next foreign language to master.
Is German Hard to Learn?
Many prospective German speakers at the beginner level might think that German is daunting. The misconception that German is an impossible language to learn is falsely noted, especially if you are already fluent in English. Perhaps the endless compound words and the attribute to genders in nouns can seem off-putting, but it is actually not as hard to learn German as you might think it is.
If you are already a fluent English speaker then it is important to note that both German and English stem from the same West Germanic family of Indo-European languages. This means that about 40% of the German vocabulary is fairly similar to the English vocabulary, they also share a large number of cognates, and about 80% of the most common English words come from Germanic origins.
German phonetics on the other hand can be a bit more challenging for native English speakers. The German language is prone to using long words, four noun case endings, and rough pronunciation that English speakers are not used to. But, it is nothing that a little bit of patience and repetition can’t fix. Starting with the German alphabet and getting used to each of the sounds of the letters is the best way to start decoding sounds, hearing patterns, and noting differences.
Mastering the German Language
Practice, Practice, Practice. Even if it sounds like a broken record, practicing is the only way to master anything from a new language to a new hobby. Regular practice is essential to improving your comprehension and pronunciation, taking weekly German classes can be a great way to keep constancy. At the beginning of learning anything new, there is a phase of awkwardness, but you should learn to embrace it. The faster you embrace your novice level in German, the faster you will be to ask questions and welcome any corrections.
Memorizing the German language rules of grammar is another key aspect. German grammar has gotten a reputation from native English speakers as being mind-boggling difficult, but it is only because German like most other languages attributes genders to nouns.
For native English speakers who are not used to gender attributions, it can be hard and confusing at first. German nouns go under three different gender classifications and can be either masculine, feminine, or neuter (the German word for neutral). Other languages that use gender attributions include Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, and many more.
The concept of time is crucial when learning German. Do not expect to speak German fluently from one day to the next. The process to learn how to speak German takes time and a lot of patience. Even if you put in a great deal of time and effort, the longer you practice the better you will become in learning its nuances.
Once you’ve passed through various levels in your German studies you will start noticing new intricacies of the language from urban words and dialects – the same as in every language. You will always find something new to learn in German!
Finally, engaging with others that are also learning to speak German or are fluent can increase your comprehension in a vast amount. Local cultural centers around Houston can be the best resources in finding local gatherings, events, art showcases, and film viewings surrounding the German culture.
Language schools like the Deutsche Samstagsschule Houston in an addition to their wide course offerings also host community gatherings that are open to anyone that has an interest. The German Institute for the Southwest based out of Houston is also another great resource to keep up on your studies offering online workshops, volunteer opportunities, and access to planned trips/excursions.
German Books to Read While Learning
Reading is one of the most valuable past times as it increases your comprehension, cognition, and brain functionality. So, reading while learning a new language has a bigger impact than watching a foreign film or practicing your German pronunciations. While investing more time in writing and speaking German is valuable it will not result in your German literacy or development, but more reading surely does.
Starting with small beginner-level German books is the best way to start your journey. A few great children’s books to start with include:
- Emil und die Detektive, a German classic published in 1929 that tells a story about a young boy whose family moves to Berlin from a small town.
- Die unedliche Geschichte, written by Michael Ende in 1993 follows the story of a young boy who becomes a mighty hero.
- Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt, is a great picture book that tells the short story of a very hungry caterpillar written by Eric Carle in 1969
You might feel a bit foolish reading a children’s level book, but they are great books to make basic connections on objects, environments, and feelings. They are also easy, meant for native German speakers, meant to be read out loud, and are often very repetitive.
If picture books are not your favorite there are also book resources that now largely available that contain a collection of short stories at every level from A1-B1. These beginner-level books will also be written in simple conversational language that starts with manageable chapters and increases as you keep moving along the text. Books can be easily ordered through amazon’s German site or support local businesses in Houston by calling your local books store, German schools, or cultural centers. You can also visit your local library and check out their selection of German books and other resources.
Looking to learn how to speak German in your city? Searching for German lessons around me just got easier! Superprof connects prospective students with tutors all around the US including cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and many more around the world.