7 Minutes: Learn a New Vocabulary Word
Words are all around us.
Even if you don’t understand all the words you read or hear, a lot of times you can understand the basic idea of what they mean.
Instead of using context clues (the words around a vocabulary word in a sentence), take just 7 minutes a day to really learn one word well.
7 Minute Vocabulary Word Exercise:
- Get a blank piece of paper (or an index card).
- Choose a vocabulary word to learn.
- Divide the paper into four parts.
- Write the vocabulary word in the center.
- In the top left, write the definition and the part of speech (e.g. noun, adjective, verb, etc.) of the word.
- In the top right, write a sentence using the word.
- In the bottom left, write synonyms for the word. Synonyms are different words that mean the same thing.
- In the bottom right, write the different forms of the word. For example, for “swim” you would also write “swims,” “swimming,” “swam” and “swum.” Try to understand when you would use each form.
Now use your new word during the day!
5 Minutes: Learn a New Phrase
Phrases are just as important as individual words. If you only learn the meanings of single words, you might be able to say “wie gehts?” but you won’t know the phrase “was geht?”
It’s not always obvious when something is a phrase and not just a regular sentence. One way to tell is if you hear the same words repeated in the same order more than once. 5 Minute Phrase Learning Exercise:
- Choose a phrase from any of the sources you have.
- Read the phrase and the sentence that the phrase is in.
- Answer these questions: Does your native language use a similar phrase? When might you use the phrase?
- Come up with your own sentence using the idiom in a way that you would in your everyday life.
5 Minutes: Strengthen Your Grammar Skills
Ask a native German speaker about the grammar in their sentences, and they’ll probably just say that it “sounds right.” Can you name all the word forms and tenses in a sentence in your own native language? You probably can’t!
As a language learner, though, it’s important to understand grammar rules. There are so many new rules and words connected to German grammar, though, that learners sometimes don’t know where to start.
Take a deep breath and learn a little at a time! Choose one grammar rule to learn each day. You might be surprised at how much better you remember things when you learn them one at a time.
5 Minute Grammar Building Exercise:
- Read a short grammar lesson from any of the sources.
- Visit any website you love that has at least a little writing.
- Look for examples of the grammar rule being used on the website. For example, if you’re learning about conditionals, you can search the page for the word “if” (just press Ctrl+F and enter the words you’re looking for).
Can you think of your own examples of German grammar usage?
13 Minutes: Read the News
Your German learning can help you know what’s going on in the world as well. Just read the news!
Reading the news in German not only helps you learn the language, it also gives you something current to talk about when you meet with others who are speaking German. Find some news that you find interesting every day. You can then join into the conversation when others talk about what’s going on in the world.
There are many websites with news articles written for German learners. Follow this link http://german-learning-easy.com/tips/3-tips-for-learning-german-through-the-news/
13 Minute News Reading (and Speaking) Exercise:
- Find a news article that interests you.
- Scan the article for words you don’t know and find their definition. That means you should look through the article without actually reading every word.
- Read the article.
- Did you understand at least the basic idea of the article? Explain out loud what the article was about, as if you’re talking to someone about it.
5 Minutes: Review What You Learned
In just half an hour you’ve learned a new vocabulary word, phrase and grammar rule, and you’ve found out a little bit about what’s going on in the world today.
This article could’ve been about how to learn German in 30 minutes—but these last 5 minutes are very important!
Take 5 minutes to review (go over) the things you studied. How much do you actually remember from what you learned?
The human brain remembers the last thing on a list better than the rest of the list. So make sure you take a moment to go over everything!
5 Minute Review Exercise:
- When you do this exercise, do everything out loud to practice speaking. Write everything down on paper to practice writing. You can also quietly review it all in your head.
- Use your new vocabulary word in a sentence.
- Use your new phrase in a sentence.
- Use the grammar rule you learned in a sentence.
- Summarize the article you read in a sentence or two.
If you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to learn German, now you do! All it takes is about 35 minutes per day and you’ll discover how fun and easy learning German can really be.