A lot of people have this problem. You know all the grammar, you have an extensive vocabulary, but once placed on the spot you have no idea how to speak. A syndrome which I describe as stuck in grammar.
Does this sound familiar?
Then read on… this post is for you!
Tips for when you are stuck in Grammar
Speak to people who are fluent
In normal conversation you will be forced to think faster in order to be able to understand what people tell you and to form your own sentences. You won’t have to time to look up words in a dictionary. Your brain will thus automise and figure out meaning for itself.
You will also be able to get accustomed to the German Idiom; meaning you will be able to use the language as Germans do. Each language has its own way it works and that is exactly why we cannot translate directly.
Read as much as you can
The same goes for reading as for talking. The only difference is that while reading you have time to use your dictionary, but refer to this post for what you should do when reading.
In short, you should only use your dictionary when it is crucial for context. This will automate your brain in German and will also be great practise fir real-life conversations.
Stop translating all the time while you are reading
If you have read the above mentioned post you would understand where I come from with this one. You have to let your brain do the work. You should only look up words that are crucial for context. Remember reading is your practice for conversations and in conversations you do not have the ability to use your dictionary.
Listen to music in your target language
Well, I assume you can understand this one since it is the same as the previous ones. It gives you the ability to listen to pronunciation, pick up a few new words and will help you to understand natives and will improve your comprehension in the language.
You can look for the lyrics if you do not understand but, again, your dictionary is only allowed for context.
Watch TV in the language, without subtitles
This is the same as the music, but note the WITHOUT SUBTITLES. If you need subtitles to be able to hear or understand, use it in the language you are learning, not in your native language. Dictionary… same as before!
Do not use Google Translate unless you really need to
Yep, this is a weird one. I agree, but hear me out. Please. Google Translate works well enough for one word or when determining Gender as described here. Just remember that it is not a person and can’t yet be trusted to give you the exact translation as a native would use it. Sorry Google, still gotta work on that one.
This is why I recommend your using a dictionary and building the sentences yourself. This will also be of great help when you are in a real-life conversation.
Another noteworthy point is something I have heard and found true for myself: somehow we remember the words we have used a traditional dictionary for better. Give it a try and let me know of your thoughts.
This is it for today. Please let me know if you have more to help people who are stuck in grammar. Subscribe here to be notified of new posts.