How to Improve German Vocabulary: 7 Tips to Learn German Vocabulary Effortlessly

What happens after you already have a basic knowledge in German? Well, it’s time to improve German vocabulary. But how can you do this?

Easy German explored this topic a while ago, and they made a video about why learning German vocabulary is hard. Take a look!

In this blog post, we’ll explore 7 effective ways to learn German words and expand your vocabulary to become more confident in speaking German.

1. Read German Books to Learn German Words

One of the best ways to learn German vocabulary is by reading easy German books.

It doesn’t really matter if you prefer novels, short stories, or non-fiction: reading German texts will expose you to a new words in context. And that is what you’re trying to achieve! To learn new chunks by seeing and using them in their natural habitat.

This is what Conversation Based Chunking focuses on. The method allows you to naturally absorb your vocabulary and better understand how words are used in sentences. You can sign up immediately, and learn more about Conversation Based Chunking: you’ll get resources, chunking lists and exercises FOR FREE!

Start with books that match your current German language level and gradually progress to more challenging material as your skills improve.

For safety, keep a dictionary nearby to look up unfamiliar words, and consider creating a vocabulary list to review later. You can also do that with flashcards but later on that!

2. Learn German Vocabulary with German Podcasts

German podcasts are another excellent way to learn new words and phrases while improving your listening comprehension, too.

There are different podcasts available for German learners of all levels. You can decide yourself if you want the standard, German learning podcasts or if you want to learn from native speakers and discover different topics, like the news, culture, politics, and entertainment.

Listening to German podcasts is great because you can do something else while listening, and you passively still learn the language. Of course, the best would be to pay full attention to what you hear and try to understand the meaning of new words. Pause the podcasts and repeat the German phrases out loud to practice your pronunciation – you can doo that with Speechling, too!

3. Learn New Vocabulary with German Movies

Watching German movies on Netflix is not only entertaining but also another effective way to learn new vocabulary.

Movies give a rich context for language learning: they expose you to authentic German conversations and German sayings.

improve german vocabulary with watching tv in a living room

To make the most of your movie-watching experience, choose films with clear audio and subtitles in German. Our Lingopie review actually offers insights on how you can use that specific platform to do that.

Pause the movie occasionally to write down new words and phrases, and look up their meanings in a dictionary – or find out their true meaning from the context!

4. German TV Shows Are Also Helping You Learn New Words

In addition to movies, German TV shows offer another excellent opportunity to learn new vocabulary in an entertaining context.

From crime dramas to comedies and documentaries, there is a huge variety of German content available to suit your interests and language level – check our dedicated article to learn about these!

As with movies, use subtitles in German to reinforce your learning and pause the show occasionally to note down new words and phrases.

5. German Language Shadowing

Language shadowing is a powerful technique for improving your German vocabulary and pronunciation. It is all about listening to native German speakers and simultaneously (or a few seconds later) repeating what they say, trying to match their intonation, rhythm, and accent as closely as possible.

To practice German language shadowing, find German audio content (maybe even some that includes transcripts), such as podcasts, audiobooks, or YouTube videos.

Listen to a short segment of the audio and then repeat it out loud, focusing on mimicking the speaker’s pronunciation and intonation. As you shadow, pay attention to new vocabulary words and try to understand their meaning based on the context.

6. Use German Vocabulary Flashcards

Flashcards are a tried-and-true method for memorizing German vocabulary.

You can create your own flashcards using index cards or use digital flashcard apps like Anki, Quizlet, or even DuoCards, which offers comprehensive grammar explanations for languages.

On one side of the card, write the German word or phrase, and on the other side, write its English translation or a definition in German.

Regularly review your flashcards, use the spaced repetition system and test yourself by looking at the German word and trying to recall its meaning.

As you become more familiar with the words, focus on using them in sentences so you’re getting closer to being fluent!

7. Improve German vocabulary by speaking German to Yourself and use Conversation Based Chunking

Speaking German to yourself is a simple yet effective way to practice using new vocabulary words in context. As you go about your daily routine, narrate your actions in German, use the new words and phrases you’ve learned from the previous methods.

This habit will make you comfortable with the language over time. When speaking to yourself, you can use the Conversation Based Chunking method, and throw in some of the most used chunks you found while listening to podcasts or watching TV shows.

Let’s say, instead of just learning the word “Kaffee” (coffee), learn the phrase “Ich hätte gerne einen Kaffee, bitte” (I would like a coffee, please).

By chunking vocabulary into meaningful phrases, you’ll be better equipped to communicate effectively in German. Sign up now and get your German Conversation Based Chunking Guide!

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