It is estimated that around 130 million people speak German around the globe, making it one of the world’s most popular languages. As a result, a large number of people looking to learn a second language opt to learn German.
Up until the turn of the 19th century, standard German was almost exclusively a written language and a complete standardisation of the German language did not occur until 1901.
Today, however, German is the most widely spoken language in the whole of Europe. It is the primary language of such countries as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg and countries like the Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Russia also have a large German speaking population.
Outside Europe, around 5 million people speak German in the United States and there are over 3 million German speakers in Brazil. Additionally, according to Netz-tipp, 7.7% of websites are written in German. The advantages of learning German are therefore clear.
German is considered to be a relatively easy language to pick up for English speakers, primarily due to the use of the Latin alphabet. However, in addition to the 26 letters, German also contains the letter ß (ess-zett) and has three vowels with umlauts (ä, ö and ü.)
Grammatically, perhaps the biggest obstacle for people trying to learn German is the fact that German nouns are all considered either masculine, feminine or neuter. Learning which words belong to which ‘gender’ can be extremely confusing. However, it becomes second nature in time.
There are a variety of options available to people wanting to learn how to speak German. Language courses are a popular choice, as they enable you to receive feedback and guidance and give you the chance to speak German with other people on the course. It is also possible to learn German online from language websites. Many people decide to learn or polish their German by travelling to a German speaking country and completely immersing themselves in the language. One way to do this is through an exchange program. These programs enable you to arrange a place to stay and allow you to engage in conversation with fellow German speakers, who will be able to correct issues you have and teach yourself how to speak German to a level with which you can hold full conversations.
An exciting alternative is to learn how to speak German with Babbel. Babbel is an award-winning, comprehensive learning system which combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology. With Babbel, you will learn German at your own pace through various multimedia grammar exercises.
Voice recognition will aid pronunciation and allow you to speak German, rather than just learning it in written form. All you need is a microphone and the latest Flash Player.
Babbel also provides different mobile apps for iOS and Android which can be synchronized with your progress on the Babbel website, allowing you to learn even when you are away from your computer.