Hi! I’m Richard and I like German a lot. Twelve years ago, I decided I really wanted to learn it to fluency. I spent the next several years teaching myself using books and the internet, eventually reaching a pretty high level after around 3 years – just 1,000 days! (not 30, 60 or 90 days… that’s impossible). I went on to study German and Linguistics at the University of York, and have worked as a translator for 7 years.
When I started out learning German, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had never learned a language before except in crappy lessons at school in the UK. Being as obsessively-minded as I am, I wanted to find the most efficient way to learn, which inevitably led me to read a lot about language acquisition. There were a number of sources which were very influential on my methods such as the research carried out by Stephen Krashen in the 1980s, and the website antimoon.com.
I began to realise that most of what people believe about language learning is just plain wrong. It’s not only inefficient, it’s often counterproductive. Things like speaking from day one, not worrying about making mistakes, even reading too early on, can be highly detrimental.
I understand the struggles that German learners face, because I had to overcome them all myself at one time or another. The frustration of not knowing where to start, not knowing whether you’re learning in the right way, feeling like you’re stuck in mud and not progressing, the fear of making mistakes, and the stress surrounding cases, genders, adjective endings and prepositions.
I’ve met a lot of people who are learning German. Their stories are usually very similar – they really want to learn this language, attending classes and spending hours studying. They are often very intelligent and hard-working individuals. But there’s a glint of doubt in their eyes. I can see this language is just eating them up inside. I realised when talking to these people – I know the solutions to their problems!
And that’s what I want to share with you here. I believe that learning a second language (I focus on German but most of the content is applicable to other languages) is one of the most worthwhile things you can do, and a life-changing experience. It literally allows you to send your thoughts through the air to a new group of people, understanding them both literally and metaphorically, while people who don’t know that language hear just garbled sounds. That comes close to magic if you ask me.
If what I’ve written on this page resonates with you, then it would be my pleasure to share my experience and knowledge with you and help you get to grips with German, because let me tell you a little secret – it’s actually quite easy.