I'm doing AS level german (CIE) and I'm writing in November (mocks in 6 weeks!)
I'm starting to get worried for exams, I've been doing really well in german but the exams and tests that have been set have all been based on topics i've just studied, not random texts like you get in the exam.
I was thinking about it and the fundamentals of language are vocabulary and grammar.
Obviously it's important to be able to read and understand texts, speak well etc. but you can't do any of that without a good vocabulary and writing and speaking you need good grammar.
Let's say that you spent the whole course only learning vocabulary and grammar you would still do pretty well right?
My vocab is not fantastic and my grammar just seems to be getting worse... I guess practise is key. They don't teach german at my school (it's a british international school and it's small so subjects are limited) so I learn with a tutor, she's very young and not experienced and I feel like she's not preparing me very well...
With learning a language you have to be quite disciplined, which I haven't been so far. Do you make sure that you are regularly reviewing vocabulary? Do you learn lists? Or put sticky notes around the house?
There are so many ideas but I never actually do anything....!
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Vocab + grammar - the most important things? watch
- Thread Starter
- 28-07-2013 15:57
- 28-07-2013 20:32
Well to answer your question, theoretically yes, you could do well if all you did was learn lists of vocab and grammar.
But how boring would that be?! That's how I was taught French and I ended up hating it for years after. Languages aren't just grammatical structures with a few fancy words thrown in. To learn a language you need to immerse yourself in it. Hear how people actually talk and read how people actually write. To do this you should read articles, books, watch films, plays, listen to music. And if you do these things regularly, you'll subconsciously pick up on new words, phrases, expressions and grammatical structures. And it will be much less tedious.
I'm not saying don't practise your grammar and vocab separately - go ahead. I did hours of grammatical exercises for both French and German AS, and I did learn lists of vocab too. But don't restrict yourself to those things because you'll die of boredom. I've said this so many times to people, learning a new language does not have to be boring. So don't make it boring.
- 28-07-2013 21:03
- 29-07-2013 13:53
Definitely the main tools in speaking a language are vocabulary and grammar.
Without vocabulary you can't express your ideas and without grammar your ideas don't make sense.
This doesn't mean that you have to just read vocab lists all the day and study grammar intensively. Vocabulary can be picked up by reading articles that your interested in but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use vocab lists especially when you're studying a language for an exam. I've always enjoyed learning vocabulary using flashcards (digital ones I mean though, using computer programs like Anki or Supermemo) or there are websites that treat it like a game eg. Memrise or Duolingo.
For grammar the only main way to learn is using a grammar book (or immersion but moving to another country isn't a realistic choice) however you shouldn't do loads of grammar at once. I find it's best to do short bursts so you have time to think over the rules in your head.
At the end of the day you should definitely use vocab lists to make flash cards or label things in your house and study grammar from a textbook because that's the best way to learn fast. If you're struggling to motivate yourself then every time you learn a new word/grammar rule think how that will benefit you eg. By knowing the translation for "equality" you'll be able to talk about poverty or discrimination. Or by learning the future tense you'll be able to talk about your hopes and aspirations.
- Thread Starter
- 30-07-2013 13:51
Thanks for the replies
I can understand how just learning lists and grammar rules can be boring but I quite like it because it means I can speak and write better and I see the results. I love learning german, and I'm really excited to get to a decent level of fluency so I can speak well with natives and read books and watch films with ease. It's just that for my exams (mocks start in a month) I need a strong vocabulary and sound grammar. I get to start prepping my speaking test now, which seems odd because then it's not really very spontaneous speaking but for an exam it's necessary. I'll be going to germany next year for a few weeks to do an intensive language course to properly learn the language, it's just getting through the exams
I'm starting to make posters for my wall (sticky notes just all fell off!) of all sorts of words, repetition is key for me so having them there where I can see them throughout the day will be useful. I just find vocabulary so frustrating because I want to be able to remember the vocab instantly but it doesn't work that way!!! need to constantly be learning little by little.