Learning German Easily was this year’s winner in the Facebook category of the Top Language Lovers competition 2014. His Facebook page is all about learning German and we’ve asked him some question to figure out who is behind this popular Facebook page.
Languages: German (native), English, a bit of Spanish and started French and Italian.
Facebook page: Since 2010
How did you manage to get so many likes on Facebook?
Good question 🙂
I’m not sure. I don’t have a special strategy. Learning a language is a long process and I just try to keep the motivation high by posting funny things on Facebook. I post almost always in German with the English translation, that makes it easier to understand my postings. And this seems to be very much appreciated. Not only advanced students but also beginners can learn many new words every day. A lot of fans share my content with their friends and quite a lot seem to use the “Invite your friends to like this page” feature.
You also have three websites for learning German next to this (leicht-deutsch-lernen.com/, learn-german-easily.com/, learn-to-speak-german.de/), why these three?
Well, on http://learn-german-easily.com I publish basic lessons. These little audio lessons are suitable for complete beginners to get started with the German language. On http://leicht-deutsch-lernen.com the audio lessons are more advanced and rather suitable for intermediate and advanced students. On my third page: http://learn-to-speak-german.de I started publishing song lyrics in German and English. If you want to improve your language skills it is very important that you get involved with the language as much as you can. And learning with songs is usually much more motivating than learning with a second or third grammar book 🙂
When and why did you decide to share your German knowledge with the world?
It started 5 years ago when some friends asked me to help them to improve their speaking ability. The problem was that they lived abroad. In my opinion you can’t learn to speak a foreign language by studying a book – so I created some audio lessons for them and because the files were too large to send via email, I published them on a website. My friends were very excited and told their friends about my audio lessons. Step by step the number of visitors increased and I decided to create more audio lessons to help everybody who is interested in the German language.
What is your favourite German word, why?
My favourite German word is “Frühlingsgefühle” (Frühling = spring; Gefühle = feelings) the counterpart in English is “spring fever”. The word refers to an increase in energy during the spring season. Spring is my favourite season and I really like it when the “Frühlingsgefühle” grow inside of me 🙂
What is the best compliment you’ve ever gotten on your Facebook page?
I receive a lot of nice messages and I’m always very touched especially when they tell me that they have improved their German because of my audio lessons. Recently, someone posted this at my wall: “Hallo lieber Herr Kern, ich wollte Ihnen noch vielen Dank sagen. Ich war in Deutschland im Juni und die Leute waren so beeindruckt wie gut ich Deutsch sprechen kann. Wieder mal vielen Dank!”
Messages like this keep me going!
Did you ever get funny requests on Facebook?
I think it is funny that for some people I don’t post enough. They want more and more whilst other fans ask if I could post less, because they can’t keep up. It is always difficult to satisfy all needs and expectations and to find the right balance.
What is/are your favourite language-related Facebook page?
I don’t have a favourite one. I think there are many interesting pages.
Finally, what is the best language learning tip according to you?
Learning a foreign language is a long process. Therefore it is important that you find a way that suits you and that you like. If you like grammar, great – buy a grammar book and start reading it. If you like novels, great – read novels. If you like watching soap operas on TV, great watch them in the language you want to learn. It doesn’t matter what medium you use to improve your skills, but you should be aware of the following. If you read or listen to something that you don’t understand, then you won’t make much progress. Always try to find books, podcasts, movies etc. that you do understand (at least 80% of it). If you do that, then something really amazing will happen. Your brain will start to guess the remaining 20%. Many times you will understand the meaning of a new word just because of the context. This is a great way to add new words to your vocabulary.
Here is one of my favourite techniques that I’d like to share with you. However, to use this technique effectively you should already have an intermediate level. For beginners, this could be a little too exhausting.
Here it comes: Buy an interesting, funny or thrilling novel in your native language and the same book in the language you are learning. Also buy the unabridged audio version of this book. Now start to read the book at first in your native language. Then read and listen to the other book.
It is up to you how you use this technique. You could switch after every sentence or after you have read a whole chapter. You will learn a lot of new words and also the correct pronunciation in a very short time.