WHERE IS THE BEST GERMAN SPOKEN?
German is spoken in a number of countries, of course – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, to name the most important – and you should not think of “German German” as necessarily being the best model. The answer to this is similar to our guidance on Spanish – provided the people (teachers, people you do business with etc) are educated native-speakers, their German will generally be a good model. Swiss German, a variety of German that is quite different from “Hochdeutsch” (High German = BBC English, more or less!) – is probably best avoided, however.
WHAT IS THE BEST ACCENT TO ADOPT?
See above – depending on where you plan to use your German, copying any good model (a teacher, or person you work with) is fine, but make sure you listen to different people speaking! Some language students who model their language completely on one person – usually their teacher – can sound like a “clone”.
I’VE HEARD GERMAN GRAMMAR IS REALLY TOUGH – ANY ADVICE?
German grammar is quite tough, yes. There are four “cases”, which relate, essentially to the function of the part of the sentence (for example, whether something is the “subject” or “object”). Syntax (the order of words – part of grammar, in a sense) follows set patterns which are different from English. Plurals of words are formed in a wide variety of ways. And so on! But, as with all language learning, if you accept that you can’t get everything right straight away and learn from your errors, gradually eliminating them, you will get there.
Get a good grammar book with exercises you can work on in your own time – the “problem-solving” side to grammar exercises can be quite fun!
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