In today’s world, the knowledge of foreign linguistics can be considered wealth. In addition to your mother tongue, it is desirable to learn at least one or two other foreign languages, as you will most likely need that knowledge in your life. Most jobs today require good multilingual skills. Plus, if you are traveling abroad, know that there is always a chance that someone will not understand your English.
Numerous doubts and fears are connected with the German language. You will admit, it is not very melodic and easy to pronounce, with so many hard consonants next to each other and words not represented in everyday speech. But far from this language is an insurmountable obstacle.
The problem is actually in you. If you start late, you probably create an aversion to learning in advance. Maybe you don’t have enough time and desire to dedicate yourself. That’s why language learning should start early, as explained at this link.
You may have thought that you would never need this skill. But you maybe got a chance to develop professionally somewhere in the German-speaking area. You certainly don’t want to miss a good opportunity because you don’t know the language. You may struggle a little, but you will succeed if you work on it. So, if you have the will to learn German numbers, it’s never too late.
The basics of learning a foreign language are words and combining them into sentences. Numbers are a group of words that are quite common in everyday speech, especially in business vocabulary. Even the simplest going to the store or paying bills can be a problem if you don’t know how ordinary numbers are written, read, or pronounced.
Counting in German won’t be a problem if you approach learning studiously. The numbers themselves are pronounced differently than you might think, but some pronunciation rules are similar to English ones. Those unique rules can be problematic, especially when learning more complex numbers, such as two-digit or three-digit ones.
Online courses are the fastest and most efficient way to learn numbers in German (or any other foreign language). You can enroll in a language school or dedicate yourself to learning, as there are many materials on the Internet. In either case, there are some things you can do to make this language endeavor successful. So, drei, zwei, eins, let’s go!
Basics First – Zero through Twelve
It would be too difficult even for native German speakers to pronounce every single number in a single word. Even counting to 100 would be problematic. So, the first ten numbers are usually marked with unique words, while the names of all other digits are formed on their basis.
Like everything in life, learning numbers needs to start from scratch. In other words, you should start from zero. The first 12 digits in the German language are unique terms used to build the names of other numbers. You can’t do anything other than learning them by heart. The good thing is that these words sound very similar to their English equivalents.
Although it sounds harsh, German is actually a fairly simple and logical language. You won’t have trouble learning more complex numbers once you master the first ten, which are almost like a short song. It is only important to learn some basic rules for constructing multi-digit numbers.
The forms of the German numbers 11 and 12 are specific and unique. So it’s best to remember them if you join them to the ‘song’ of the top ten. The second ten is built as a word for the base number 1-9 combined with 10 (zehn). From 21 to 99, this rule is reversed. The name of the digit is built as a single unit plus a ten unit.
For multi-digit numbers, you get pretty complex terms whose pronunciation seems like rocket science. Work on them by learning sets of tens (one day from 30 to 39, next day 40 to 49, etc.). Also, you can use the tricks listed in the rest of the article. You will see that you can acquire these terms quickly.
Make It Singable
Most of the tips for counting in any foreign language that you find will involve learning numbers through songs. Even linguists agree with that. Making words singable is an excellent way to learn and remember them. Do you know how you memorize songs quickly? That’s the catch, as the music and melody ‘enter’ your ears much better than some hard-to-pronounce words.
For example, you can create your own song by coming up with catchy phrases for every three numbers in German. Even the simplest ‘ay, ay, ay, eins, zwei, drei, forget your ex, vier, fünf, sechs’ can work if you repeat it often. You can record these short songs on your phone and listen to them while you are on a subway, training, and even at work when you have time.
You can also try memorizing numbers by listening to pre-written songs in German. If you already have some basic language skills, this material can be very fun to listen to. The lyrics can be about any subject, including history, travels, foods, or anything else you choose. They may even include math exercises that you can do while listening to the song and memorizing the answer.
Make It Visual
Some tips for learning to count in German involve visualization. You may think that this method is only child-friendly, but the real truth is that it affects ‘students’ of all ages. Most people have a photographic memory. It means that if they can’t remember something at first, they need a few seconds to recall some pictures related to it. Thus they also recall what is important.
So don’t hesitate to be creative and design your own way of visualizing numbers and pronouncing them in German. You can learn numbers just by looking at a chart right above your work desk where the pronunciations of each digit are written individually. Make it colorful and vivid, as your brain is prone to memorize extraordinary things faster than usual ones.
But don’t underestimate the power of charts, even plain ones. If you lack a talent for painting, you can make a simple graph with numbers and hang it to your office, work desk, or anywhere you spend time. Even simply looking at it will help you memorize its content.
Repetition of material is a technique that is often overlooked, as many find it dull. But it is still the best way to acquire some knowledge permanently. Your brain has too much capacity that is not used, so there is enough memory space for German numbers. So, whenever you can, you should repeat what you’ve already learned and what you are just learning.
A good tactic, for example, is to count the steps you take up and down the stairs each day. Do the same while changing TV channels while looking for your favorite show. Or in a gym, while you’re doing a series of exercises. That’s pretty much repeating, but you’ll see it will pay off.
As your linguistic skill progresses, so set yourself numerical challenges. For example, you can count down instead of up. You can do that by twos (pronouncing only even or only odd numbers). If you have perfected the ordinal numbers, you can even pronounce the dates upside down. For every job well done, reward yourself J
Use Numbers Practically
Words are most easily learned when placed in a meaningful context. That’s why many tutors force practical activity, i.e., utilizing German numbers in sentences that you will use every day. You will need this knowledge in work and daily activities, and that is how you should learn it.
It would be best for you to practice pronouncing numbers in conversation with someone. If you can’t find anyone who knows German well, ask a friend or family member to help you out. You may even convince them to start learning German with you. But if that’s not possible, there are pretty good online lessons that give you a solid basis for conversation.
You can even use some linguistic apps where you have to do the task correctly if you plan on moving forward. For example, there is handy software to listen to the native speaker saying numbers and then record yourself doing the same. That’s a good way to work on pronunciation and check your progress.
Learning can be fun if you make it that way. But German lessons for adults are usually not designed to be entertaining. That’s where most language tutors make mistakes, as their students will quickly lose their interest if they’re presented with plain lessons only. On this page, you can get some guidelines on how to find a good language teacher.
If you have decided to learn German numbers online and on your own, take full advantage of the Internet. In addition to having high-quality materials and lessons available, you also have access to online games and quizzes. These can be excellent activities for memory training and testing your German numbers knowledge.
Find some memory tests. For example, you have a classic card game that will challenge your mind – there are numbers on one half of the cards and the names of those numbers on the other half. The point is to pair them as soon as possible, of course with pronunciation with the right accent. You can also play these games in pairs or with other online participants. The sense of competition can really have a positive impact on your motivation to learn.
By installing some apps to your smartphone, you can even learn on the go. So whenever you have some spare time, you can use it to work on your linguistic skills. Of course, use headphones if you have audio material or watch educational snapshots. That way, you will have a better focus and won’t disturb others.
Don’t Push Yourself
You will do everything you start on time and work studiously with minimal stress and on time. That also applies to language learning. Clearly, numbers are the basics without which you cannot function in any foreign-speaking area.
So give them priority but don’t set unrealistic or excessive goals for yourself, especially if you’re starting to learn German as an adult. You can’t expect to become fluent in a month or two. That’s why you shouldn’t always believe all those ads that promise you’ll speak German like a native in just three months. Just learning numbers could take that long.
There is little chance that you will remember the numbers of the first hundred within a week. You may learn them, but it will take you a few seconds to remember how to pronounce them. Instead, set yourself less demanding goals. You should work on ordinal numbers for one month. Practice to perfection until you say these words quickly but clearly. Next month, focus on ordinal numbers, and so on.
Without a basic knowledge of counting, you can’t order coffee, tell someone your phone number, or travel easily. Even your written correspondence can be hard, as not everyone write numbers with digits only. You will have problems at every turn, which can often cost you time, nerves, and money. By implementing tricks from the text to your learning, counting in German will become your second nature.