“Wie heissen Sie?” “Ich verstehe nicht.“ “Du musst sehr gut Deutsch lernen.”
These were just some of first and simplest German sentences that I have learned in Switzerland. I kid you not, I felt my tongue literally twisting as I tried so hard to pronounce those foreign words. Not to mention the difficulties I had pronouncing German words with aspirated consonants. Those were some funny lip and jaw exercises.
*German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union. In Switzerland it is also widely spoken along with French and Italian. It is very crucial for immigrants like myself to learn the local language in order to integrate to the society, have a better standing in job search, and really, who wants to always feel frustrated after someone talks with you and you just stare at him clueless amidst the gibberish string of words?
After months and months of studying the language I am soon approaching my time to take the TELC Prüfung Deutsch B2 which is basically an exam wherein one will be given a certification upon successful completion, say an affirmation that “Hey, you can now speak another foreign language properly!” I think that the tips that will be given below apply to many others who will take/are planning to take language examinations for any other languages (Dutch, Spanish, etc.) across Europe.
Allocate a time for studying the language everyday. Do it religiously, so to speak. A couple of days off from studying means laziness to me. Each hard-labored day means gain.
If you have the resources attend intensive language courses which normally meant a 2-hour (Monday-Friday) class. I find it a very good way to learn a language through this way because of a professional teacher who guides you and answers your inquiries plus you could really feel motivated to learn with your new found acquaintances. In Switzerland, language schools offer free placement tests and trial lessons for a day so you can know for yourself to which level you really belong.
If you do not have much resources to attend regular classes do some extra work by buying/borrowing books and CDs (check out your local library) which follow similar lessons as the ones in the language schools and study them on your own. This would mean though that you will have less of the spoken exercises so have regular conversations with the locals or anyone who is fluent with the language and ask them to make corrections and some comments on your grammar/vocabulary.
The internet is a place of vast resources for learning languages in the areas of writing, listening, and speaking. All you have to do is to click that mouse.
Youtube provides countless videos of everyday conversations to test your listening skills. They sometimes also have subtitles in English. Plus you can have a good laugh with some silly topics too.
Take the opportunity to attend conversation groups in your area. Read and translate a local news to someone, could be a good way to inform yourself about happenings too.
There are practice exams provided by the language schools and there are also a couple online. Take those practice tests until you feel quite confident enough.
The language exam consists of two parts: written and oral. The written part is divided into reading and listening comprehension, and writing. For the writing part familiarize yourself with some basic letter formats and salutations. Practice talking with someone about simple topics as your preparation for the oral exam. Prepare yourself very well for each part.
Bring pen, pencil, maybe some of your materials for reviewing, and some snacks. Arrive at the testing place on time.
If you have any other tips kindly share to everyone here.
**The Levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) defines six internationally comparable levels of progress:
A1 and A2: basic language skills
B1 and B2: independent use of language
C1 and C2: proficient use of language
Each aforementioned level is further divided into parts that I hope you would take heart to study carefully, patiently, and with interest. At first it might seem impossible to undertake such a seemingly hard and frustrating language learning but like learning ABAKADA during our primary school years, I know that our efforts could go beyond the mere “Danke” and be the multilingual Pinoys in Europe that we are capable of being.
God bless all who are about to take their language examinations.