I’ve been learning German with Chatterbug for a few years now, almost since the start of the platform. I’m more than 90% of the way to C1 (though I get the feeling my German isn’t actually quite that good). I’m wondering, after I finish with all the topics available in the advanced lessons, what should I do next? I still want to continue to improve, so I will probably keep doing live lessons and reviewing vocabulary. I have toyed with the idea of going to live in a German speaking country for a few months, although it would present a few problems for work, since I would probably need to work remotely from noon until 8 pm German Time to keep my current job. Anyhow, what ideas do you have on where to go with my learning after I finish the material here?
@stefilios In order to keep in touch with the language, you can still take live lessons and maybe talk about interesting topics. Feel always free to ask the tutors to correct and improve you.
At first, congrats on your progress towards German C1 @stefilios, that’s amazing!
Stephan is right - as I experienced with my Spanish: if you don’t use it, you lose it…
So when you reached C1 and you’d like to further improve your Deutsch-skills, live lessons are a great tool to do so!
The chatterbug linguists are constantly putting out new issues for C1 students and if you’d like to explore new topics with your tutors, that’s absolutely fine too. You can always put more emphasis on the conversation part of the LLs. I had very interesting conversations with C1 students about politics, philosophy, machine learning, finance, travel, language, culture,… The interests of the tutors are as diverse as the interest of the students, so it’s quite hard to run out of something to talk about.
If you think you are fluent enough, you could also dig into phonetics, German Umgangssprache, dialects, typical expressions, timbre, etc. This is C2 stuff and it’s immensely fascinating!
To move to a German-speaking country for a while would be full immersion and I always recommend spending some time abroad.
You could also check out chatterbugs other language tools: “chatterbug streams” (available for android and iPhone) and “chatterbug go” (whatsapp extension) is pretty cool too!
This might be an interesting blog post too! -> How fluent would you think you are atm?
However you continue your language journey, you came a long way and you can be proud of your achievements! Just keep in mind, that there’s an entirely new landscape waiting behind every mountain you climb.
Thanks for the detailed response, Toby! I do really enjoy just chatting with my tutors. Actually, it has really been a blessing during COVID to see people regularly and be able to chat. I’ll have to check out the streams again. I think when it first launched, there wasn’t anything live close to a time when I would be available and it felt like a lot of the cool features centered on being there live. I understand that most people are learning German because they are living in a German speaking country, so it makes sense that it would be timed for that audience.
I think I’ve reached some level of conversational fluency- I know that I still make a lot of mistakes that make me sound like a total foreigner, but I can generally understand/be understand, and am comfortable with the fact that I will just make lots of mistakes I can make some jokes, but puns are tough. I’m at least noticing a few things that can serve as punchlines (lösen being both solve and loosen definitely should have a joke attached to it). Anyhow, thanks for the encouragement, and I look forward to continuing to learn.
That’s true! I probably should seek a little more feedback and try to track which mistakes I make most frequently.
I absolutely get it @stefilios! The lockdowns were tough and to be able to communicate with fellow human beings while learning a new language has been a great distraction for many students.
You make a good point with streams. The streamers are all located in Berlin as far as I know. I guess that’s to ensure high quality in production and content, especially in the beginning. I’ll try to find out, if they plan to get streamers in other time zones on board and get back to you asap.
edit: Chatterbug is definitely planning on having lots of streamers in different time zones to cater to students around the world! There will be an announcement here in the community forum in the streams section when a new streamer is joining the crew.
I have a lot of the same issues. I started here in level 2, I believe, and now I’m like 40% done with C1. I would be more done, but I spend most of my live lessons chatting and maybe do one or two exercises. Sometimes I wish my tutors would correct me more, because I’m sure I’m making a lot of mistakes, but when I get on a roll it’s hard, because they don’t want to correct what I’m able to say fluently, even if it’s not grammatically correct (likely because I’ve used the wrong article AGAIN).
I also TOTALLY feel you on the human contact during COVID thing! Was such a lifesaver!
I’ve been watching some interesting series on Netflix, but I don’t know if they’re all available outside of the DACH region… Charite (based here in Berlin), Freud (Oesterreichisch), Biohackers (Freiberg am Breisgau). The nice thing about Netflix is the high-quality German subtitles, which help when I’m watching Freud for example, because Austrian is a bit tricky for me to understand. Do you watch any shows?
I haven’t watched a ton of German language TV shows, but I did watch Biohackers. I also found a pretty interesting concert today that stretched me a bit. The Symphony in Bonn played Beethoven’s unfinished symphony, but they had an artificial intelligence finish it and they played the end written by the AI. There’s about 15 minutes of discussion in German about mensch and maschine, so if you’re interested that might be something to check out. https://www.magenta-musik-360.de/beethoven-10-sinfonie
A very interesting discussion. I have also had students asking me what will come after C1?
Is it possible to start the C-Levels over again? The lessons are so interesting and I am sure a second run would improve grammer, vocabulary and fluency even more.
@stefilios I am pretty much in the same boat. I started at a very low level with Chatterbug after moving to Germany and I completed C1 last January. Although I am living here in Germany, I work for an American company and I’ve studied here in English as well. I’ve continued using Chatterbug to stay in touch with all of the cool tutors I’ve met and keep my conversational skills up. I’ve started learning French now with Chatterbug to justify keeping the App, however, I still routinely have German live lessons to practice. Here are a couple thoughts, ideas and struggles in my mind while I am trying to continue my German progress.
Have you tried watching or reading the news? I’ve learned as the world changes there are always opportunities for new areas of vocabulary (e.g. words related to the Corona-Pandemic or the current geopolitical situation in Ukraine)
Do you listen to music in German? I started researching bands in Germany that play music in the genres that I enjoy. It can be either a great passive learning experience with your headphones on while working or you can look up the lyrics to make sure you completely understand everything. I’ve learned a lot of good colloquial expressions this way. If you have no idea where to start – try looking on Spotify and going from there. They also have German podcasts there.
I would definitely take a look at Netflix and see what is available in German where you are located because I’ve found that to be an abundant resource for different types of German media I’ve consumed (movies, documentaries, series). I’ve read that you’re unfortunately not here in Germany, but there are a ton of public tv programs that I find great for practice. If you like travel documentaries youtube the channel WDR Reisen and you can find free travel documentaries.
Pronunciation / Phonetics - this is great recommendation above from Toby. I’ve started in the last months trying to limit my accent and gain some coordination with my tongue to make new sounds given that I am or was an inept American with foreign languages. I think there is always room for improvement in this area for every learner. While I still hate my accent – I know it is better than at the beginning, and I’m hoping to still make progress… However, I have recently enjoyed telling Germans that I can’t understand their English when they hear my accent and switch.
perfect recommendations Kurt and you are the walking example that it worked
Great thoughts! Thanks
This is such a valuable thread with lots of great tips!
I’d like to encourage you to move to Germany for a few months, @stefilios. I feel like this could be the cherry on top of your German learning journey and might help you to find out where or how to improve your German next In case you have doubts where to go exactly, I’m sure the community is happy to help, too.
Have you considered joining a Study Group on our mobile app? As a Live Lesson subscriber, you have free access to these 15 minute video chats with a native speaker and up to four other students.
The advanced groups might help you to train or retain your vocabulary on various topics. Every day, there are new live streams - and study groups to be found in the app. We hope to increase the number of study groups per day very soon, so you will have even more groups to choose from.
People who already reached Level C1 can also study in Germany at university. In most states it is free and there is also the Fernuniversität Hagen, which costs a bit of money (1500 Euro for a degree), but offers a variety of degrees that you can study ‘just for fun’ entirely online and in German. The difficulty level will be very high, but I am pretty sure you will learn a lot when you use German in an academic environment.
Well, it’s been awhile and I thought I’d give an update on what I’ve tried and found helpful or not helpful.
- Spent a month in Deutschland! Lots of fun, very good practice, and made me realize that I have a long way to go still.
- Tried out the Study Groups. Not really very helpful in my opinion. You don’t really get much time to speak, considering it’s divided up amongst a bunch of other people and is only 15 minutes in the first place.
- Watch livestreams. Also, not really my thing. I understand Chatterbug has really moved the product in this direction and probably lots of people prefer to just watch things, but it feels like I don’t get a whole lot out of simply watching. It’s also a bit harder to measure progress from this, because I’m not being asked to recall anything. I think recall is much more difficult than recognition, and streams primarily helps with recognition.
- Went back through and did any exercises that were added after I finished. I found lots of writing exercises that were not completed. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t able to be corrected anymore, but I did find doing the writing to be helpful.
It’s tough to identify the best ways to make progress now, but I’m starting to read a novel in German and listen to some weekly broadcasts, as well as continuing live lessons to make sure I don’t forget everything I’ve learned. I may also try preparing to do one of the “official” tests, which would probably help me improve my grammar significantly. But beyond that…I might just have to start over with Spanish now
It’s so nice and inspiring to have your feedback @stefilios !
Thanks a lot for that !
I think official tests can be a good way to practice and to have a nice goal .
I started learning German at school. After hitting a plateau - I was able to communicate more or less fluently - what helped me to progress was :
to use it for a specific thing .
In my case, I studied German cultures, Philosophy and Translation at University.
Having to read tough books, listen to specialists during conferences or writing a master thesis in German made me progress to a new level.
I also volunteered in an organic farm in German for several weeks - again, I learned a lot in a specific field and it helped.
Now I’m learning Spanish. As soon as I master the language enough to be able to communicate (that would be C1), then I think I’ll start to learn a new thing using Spanish. There are plenty of free Moocs and courses so that would be an interesting challenge !
to focus my learning more specific aspects like pronunciation, idioms, etc.
That’s a lot of time for little progress. But this progress tends to make a huge difference, I think .
@stefilios , may I give you - and people like you - some out of the box thinking? Ok that’s rhetorical, I’m going to do it anyway.
Reading your posts, it seems you need interaction with other speakers. Yes there are German films, audiobooks, online TV broadcasts and the like, to keep up your listening skills. But who are you going to actually talk to? Especially as it seems it’s not easy for you to get to Germany.
Suggestion no 1: Play an MMO RPG. (Find the translation for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and whatever the shortform is in German). Go to a German Gaming Site, and see what games have subject matter that would interest you. I suggest something quest-heavy, where you have a lot of interaction in-game. Then — join a German guild, club, or whatever that game calls it, making sure to join a club where voice chat is very important. Voice chat is often used for group content, but often people just hang around and chat about anything and everything. I play Elder Scrolls Online, which is a fantasy medieval game, very quest-heavy, so if you enjoy books like Lord of the Rings, it may be worth a look. Sometimes games have free trial periods, if not you can always go to Twitch.com and search for the game that looked interesting, and watch people playing it.
Suggestion no 2: Find a good German dating site. Set up your profile to say you don’t want to date, you want to chat online, be it on WhatsApp, Discord, Zoom or whatever medium. List your interests as topics you want to chat about. If you like films and/or books, say which genre interests you. Make it clear you want to practice your German and have some fun conversations.
Suggestion no 3: Search for online clubs about things that interest you. They may not have voice chat, but you will be interacting with other real people, even if just in text. You may find something on Discord, but I’m not sure how to search that, normally you get given a link and just join. Discord has text chat and voice chat options, people create their own little server on particular topics or for clubs. I don’t need to say you should always search in German, but I will anyway.
It is worth looking at children’s books, German history, German radio classics and the like, because what separates a native speaker from a second-language speaker is the cultural overhang that comes from growing up in a country, growing up with the children’s stories, growing up with the important bits of history, growing up with the quotes and memes from the past.
C1 is just the beginning of the journey. Seriously. March on!
These are some great out of the box ideas. Thanks for sharing!