Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Language corner
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #61  
Old 13.07.2014, 11:45
Pixie B's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: SZ
Posts: 941
Groaned at 11 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 729 Times in 302 Posts
Blog Entries: 23
Pixie B has a reputation beyond reputePixie B has a reputation beyond reputePixie B has a reputation beyond reputePixie B has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Thanks for the recent replies! My "official" learning has slowed down since we moved from Baar. There we had a cleaner and TV package, and there was no school; so we had the TV on every day and I had more time to devote to duolingo. Since moving to our own place, I've been much more focused on my daughter who has started school, and cleaning myself (the apartment is fairly large, so it takes up a lot of time!) and we havent had time for TV! I've been helping my daughter with her homework for her intensive German lessons, but it hasn't taught me anything yet as (so far!) most of it is stuff I already know (colours, numbers etc) Her teacher asked me if she could communicate in German though to which I said yes; so when she writes emails and I have to get some parts translated that teaches me little bits. She speaks to me in what I presume to be slowed-down and standard German, but I am surprised at how much I do actually understand! Somewhere between 60 and 85 per cent and I can easily fill in the blanks. My speaking ability is way way behind my understanding though, I'm too slow to answer in German much of the time and keep finding myself automatically answering to her German in English

I eavesdrop on the nearest conversation on buses and trains haha. Very slowly I pick out more and more words that I recognise. I noticed recently that at the supermarket when asked for loyalty card I am now hearing each individual word rather than just hearing "karte" at the end and guessing the first bit of the sentence.

Very slow progress! We finally start our official lessons though in 2 weeks! and then a week or two after that our daughter will go back to school, and our son will start Kindergarten, perhaps with him immersed as well we can all practise together

I'll keep updating and thanks for all the advice!
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 13.07.2014, 11:50
AnAustralian's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Posts: 1,201
Groaned at 6 Times in 4 Posts
Thanked 557 Times in 315 Posts
Blog Entries: 3
AnAustralian is considered knowledgeableAnAustralian is considered knowledgeableAnAustralian is considered knowledgeable
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Forever.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank AnAustralian for this useful post:
  #63  
Old 13.07.2014, 11:50
HollidayG's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kanton Zürich
Posts: 3,021
Groaned at 52 Times in 36 Posts
Thanked 1,172 Times in 732 Posts
HollidayG has an excellent reputationHollidayG has an excellent reputationHollidayG has an excellent reputationHollidayG has an excellent reputation
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

To get a lot out, you have to put a lot in.


To really make Progress, surround yourself as much as possible
with German Speakers.


If you can, it would be beneficial to get to at least B1/B2 in the
language. The German language Institute from the German
government is called "Goethe Institut".


Here is a link:
http://www.goethe.de/lrn/prj/pba/bes/enindex.htm
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank HollidayG for this useful post:
  #64  
Old 27.07.2014, 16:55
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Zürich
Posts: 9
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
MercedesEcuador has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

It really depends on a lot of factors!

I am from Sudamerica and live here in Switzerland almost 4 years. I didt several German intensive courses the first year when i arrived. No more than 6-8 months in total.
Now I'm able to speak fluently high-german and also understand a lot swiss-german.
I'd say motivation and time to learn are the most important factors!

I wish you luck with this "crazy language"!

M
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 31.07.2014, 13:34
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

With buckets of blood, sweat and tears I was able to get through B2 in 8 months by doing the Migro Klubschule intensive track.

That's 4 hours a day for 8 months. Plus homework (1-2 hours per day) and two to three language exchanges per week. Throw in reading the 20 Minuten on the train and watching Galileo here and there and it's a full-time job.

All classes were designed to teach High German, but if you keep your ears open Swiss German starts making sense when you start recognizing some of the patterns. (Actually, reading the SMS messages in the back of Blick am Abend helps with that.)

I know this is a non standard approach but I had the luxury of time since my wife had a job and could support us. I worked freelance just to pay for my classes (about 1000chf per month).

I also understand that this is a fairly expensive up-front cost to learning a language but the ROI is proving high; with the new language skills I was able to find a job very quickly and integrate into the country we'll be calling home for a long time.

This was my solution, it might not be for everybody but with the situation we had it was the correct one for us.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank roughlytranslated for this useful post:
  #66  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:10
Spellbound's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 656
Groaned at 50 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 284 Times in 175 Posts
Spellbound has become a little unpopular
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

It's obviously variable, and means different things to different people, as I outlined here (On Linguistics) previously this week.

I don't believe in fluency in any language, because language skills are lost, when not used. A language competency can only be judged on current useage, and you need to keep learning even your mother tongue until you die.

A lot of English-speaking expats are lazy and egotistical about learning languages, believing everyone else should bend to accommodate them. German is learnt as a foreign language in Switzerland, so it would be wrong to assume natives have a good command of it - as you become more proficient with German, you'll find it easier to see/hear the difference.

It takes me about a month to feel confident to spontaneously speak, write, read and hear a new language, and 2 more to handle anything quickly, whether in a professional or personal scenario. My method is using the language in every way every day as much as possible, and to only learn from great examples (if I know someone is a bad user of a language and/or has a weakness in writing/speaking/whatever, I don't use the language with them, or, in the case of the latter, only use it in the area they are skilled). I don't hang around expats, unless I happen to find an interesting one.
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:21
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
...German is learnt as a foreign language in Switzerland, so it would be wrong to assume natives have a good command of it - ...
Is it not true that High German is the language in all public schools (in the German-speaking parts of CH) starting after Kindergarten?

I remember reading that after they decided that Kindergarten would be taught now in Swiss German...
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:25
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CH
Posts: 5,109
Groaned at 189 Times in 148 Posts
Thanked 6,068 Times in 3,281 Posts
greenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

A few years. And still learning....

But, I have to ahem, modestly add that I do speak very well. My other half says so.
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:31
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
...My method is using the language in every way every day as much as possible, and to only learn from great examples (if I know someone is a bad user of a language and/or has a weakness in writing/speaking/whatever, I don't use the language with them, or, in the case of the latter, only use it in the area they are skilled). I don't hang around expats, unless I happen to find an interesting one.
And, can you not learn from bad examples? I understand if you don't want to pollute your polished foreign language, but I work with people with terrible German (not that mine is perfect--far from it) but it's those little things that you hear that may be incorrect that can reinforce your own learning. Mistakes others commit can make you doubt--which I think is always positive--and lead you to look up the correct term, phrasing, declination, to further reinforce your language.

Frankly, if all people learned languages like you, nobody would interact with you as you learned a language if you weren't "skilled" enough even to have a conversation with people who were.

And that's not very fair is it?
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:31
Spellbound's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 656
Groaned at 50 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 284 Times in 175 Posts
Spellbound has become a little unpopular
Quote:
View Post
Is it not true that High German is the language in all public schools (in the German-speaking parts of CH) starting after Kindergarten?

I remember reading that after they decided that Kindergarten would be taught now in Swiss German...
Before anyone can comment, don't we need to know how you are connecting what you have quoted from me to your separate discussion points? At the moment, it's hard to see why you have quoted me.

Quote:
View Post
And, can you not learn from bad examples? I understand if you don't want to pollute your polished foreign language, but I work with people with terrible German (not that mine is perfect--far from it) but it's those little things that you hear that may be incorrect that can reinforce your own learning. Mistakes others commit can make you doubt--which I think is always positive--and lead you to look up the correct term, phrasing, declination, to further reinforce your language.

Frankly, if all people learned languages like you, nobody would interact with you as you learned a language if you weren't "skilled" enough even to have a conversation with people who were.

And that's not very fair is it?
You can learn from bad examples, if the people making the mistakes acknowledge they are likely making errors and are working to stop their mistakes generally. In that sense, you can grow your skills together. Otherwise, it just hinders your language learning to hear/see/speak badly, and have your own mistakes reinforced, and/or to learn from someone else's reinforced mistakes.

I can't comment on "Frankly, if all people learned languages like you, nobody would interact with you as you learned a language if you weren't "skilled" enough even to have a conversation with people who were." as I've no idea what you mean. My apologies, but this makes no sense to me.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 31.07.2014 at 15:06. Reason: merging successive posts
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Spellbound for this useful post:
  #71  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:37
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Howdy, Spellbound--

I was just questioning what you were saying about German being learned as a foreign language here in CH. Was that not clear?
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:39
Spellbound's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 656
Groaned at 50 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 284 Times in 175 Posts
Spellbound has become a little unpopular
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Howdy, Spellbound--

I was just questioning what you were saying about German being learned as a foreign language here in CH. Was that not clear?
Not really, unless you explain how what you typed relates to it. At the moment, what you typed doesn't contradict what I typed, so it doesn't raise any questions.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:42
drmom's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Somewhere in SG
Posts: 2,333
Groaned at 13 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 2,181 Times in 1,045 Posts
drmom has a reputation beyond reputedrmom has a reputation beyond reputedrmom has a reputation beyond reputedrmom has a reputation beyond reputedrmom has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Is it not true that High German is the language in all public schools (in the German-speaking parts of CH) starting after Kindergarten?

I remember reading that after they decided that Kindergarten would be taught now in Swiss German...

technically, yes But I have heard many a Swiss person refer to high German as a foreign language... Makes it easier for me here as it really doesn't matter if I make so many mistakes, but I do think my high German is suffering a bit here, and I am a bit too lazy to read a lot in German or watch TV just to keep it up My mom chastises me for it when ever she thinks of it...
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank drmom for this useful post:
  #74  
Old 31.07.2014, 14:54
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Quote:
View Post
...I can't comment on "Frankly, if all people learned languages like you, nobody would interact with you as you learned a language if you weren't "skilled" enough even to have a conversation with people who were." as I've no idea what you mean. My apologies, but this makes no sense to me.
No need to apologize, I didn't realize it'd be unclear to you.

You say you don't use the language with people who are "bad users" or weak in an area.

As you learn a language you will be considered by most a "bad user" for at least the beginning part.

If everybody declined to use the language with bad users (yourself included) nobody would use the language with you as you learn thereby greatly hindering your learning.

Unless you're saying you're never a bad user and are skilled enough to carry on a conversation even as a beginner. But I would imagine you'd be the exception. And if you are, kudos.

Spellbound, Drmom--

Fair enough; the point that High German is being learned as a foreign language is a tricky one since the kids are learning it from age 6 on. But, I'll have to concede since High German is not the language they're speaking at home.

Cheers

Last edited by 3Wishes; 31.07.2014 at 15:06. Reason: merging successive posts
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 31.07.2014, 15:20
Spellbound's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 656
Groaned at 50 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 284 Times in 175 Posts
Spellbound has become a little unpopular
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
No need to apologize, I didn't realize it'd be unclear to you.

You say you don't use the language with people who are "bad users" or weak in an area.

As you learn a language you will be considered by most a "bad user" for at least the beginning part.

If everybody declined to use the language with bad users (yourself included) nobody would use the language with you as you learn thereby greatly hindering your learning.

Unless you're saying you're never a bad user and are skilled enough to carry on a conversation even as a beginner. But I would imagine you'd be the exception. And if you are, kudos.

Spellbound, Drmom--

Fair enough; the point that High German is being learned as a foreign language is a tricky one since the kids are learning it from age 6 on. But, I'll have to concede since High German is not the language they're speaking at home.

Cheers
I believe I clarified further above about the difference between people intent on being better users growing together, and that being a positive thing, because the general standard improves, and the mistakes aren't reinforced/enabled.

People commonly learn languages in school. There's nothing unusual with German vs any other foreign language they, or any other student in the world, learns. A foreign language is not a native language.

In addition, schooling doesn't automatically equate to good standard of command in any subject. Plenty of people here claim the native language English, but don't use English well, and they've lived with it for decades. Plenty of people study mathematics for 10 years, and can't do basic arithmetic. Language competency is about so much more than a measure of time. Effort, commitment and useage are better measures of command.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Spellbound for this useful post:
  #76  
Old 31.07.2014, 15:37
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zürich
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
roughlytranslated has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Thanks, Spellbound--

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on one of the points brought up.

"Otherwise, it just hinders your language learning to hear/see/speak badly, and have your own mistakes reinforced, and/or to learn from someone else's reinforced mistakes."

It was precisely this point where I wanted to stress the importance of learning from all aspects and sources of the language, correct and otherwise.

Whereas you feel poor language use by others hinders, I see it as another avenue to learn, challenge and doubt what you have learned.

When something I hear, read or say sounds wrong, I look it up. Here I believe we are in agreement in the commitment to the language; just not so in the sources necessarily.

Cheers
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 31.07.2014, 15:46
Spellbound's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 656
Groaned at 50 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 284 Times in 175 Posts
Spellbound has become a little unpopular
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Thanks, Spellbound--

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on one of the points brought up.

"Otherwise, it just hinders your language learning to hear/see/speak badly, and have your own mistakes reinforced, and/or to learn from someone else's reinforced mistakes."

It was precisely this point where I wanted to stress the importance of learning from all aspects and sources of the language, correct and otherwise.

Whereas you feel poor language use by others hinders, I see it as another avenue to learn, challenge and doubt what you have learned.

When something I hear, read or say sounds wrong, I look it up. Here I believe we are in agreement in the commitment to the language; just not so in the sources necessarily.

Cheers
The danger in that method, in my opinion, is it assumes you'd recognise the errors, and I don't reckon that's often the case, and it relies upon you [in the case of conversation, remembering accurately and...] knowing how to unpick the error in the instances where you spot it, but rules in language have so many interdependencies and exceptions. It will sometimes happen, and happens more if your competency improves, of course.
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 31.07.2014, 15:56
TidakApa's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Top of a Triangle
Posts: 3,009
Groaned at 42 Times in 33 Posts
Thanked 5,673 Times in 2,039 Posts
TidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Before anyone can comment, don't we need to know how you are connecting what you have quoted from me to your separate discussion points?
Quote:
View Post
Was that not clear?
Quote:
View Post
Not really.
Quote:
View Post
I didn't realize it'd be unclear to you.
I can't begin to imagine how dysfunctional this conversation would have been in German
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank TidakApa for this useful post:
  #79  
Old 31.07.2014, 16:02
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CH
Posts: 5,109
Groaned at 189 Times in 148 Posts
Thanked 6,068 Times in 3,281 Posts
greenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
I can't begin to imagine how dysfunctional this conversation would have been in German
Don't know any native German speaker who'd converse this way with another German speaker....
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 31.07.2014, 16:05
MusicChick's Avatar
modified and reprogrammed
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: La Cote
Posts: 9,717
Groaned at 88 Times in 71 Posts
Thanked 11,205 Times in 5,568 Posts
MusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I think the field of language learning has moved away a little bit from the idea "good" language, "correct", the proper ways, high standard, etc. Even the concept of errors is being re-evaluated, this movement has been on for long. Purism has been out.

I think I am somewhere in between, tbh, see a great value in error making, even those which get identified later if self corrected hold high value. I think I am more fond of accuracy and appropriacy (in relation to what my comm objectives are in order to be efficient). Not the idea of correct. Since to find 2 linguists, or even grammarians agreeing on what is still corect and what is not anymore, is rare. Codification is a problematic process, falling in and out of fashion. And, not functioning in one language, needed in another.

People who are often deffending the purity and correctness, are more often than not advertising and justifying their own role or achievements as high standard providers, not really showing language necessarily needs them to survive. Not saying it's like that all the time, but language does not need deffenders and protectors.To read something interesting, in a classy correct form, is a joy. But to read something just correct, is boring and pedantic. Mistakes are often just cosmetic flaws, and usually get corrected with time.

I do like affection that people show towards their language(s). I think it is a sign of mindfulness and care.

Some people get better more they speak. I get better more I read.

PS - I dislike articles. They are growing on me, but still feel foreign and pointless, though I have to use them in 3 languages and not in those Slav ones I speak.
__________________
"L'homme ne peut pas remplacer son coeur avec sa tete, ni sa tete avec ses mains." J.H.Pestalozzi

Last edited by MusicChick; 31.07.2014 at 17:38.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank MusicChick for this useful post:
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How long did it take you to adapt from High German to Swiss German? Rach_UK Language corner 74 15.05.2014 22:12
How long did it take to rent a place? Roam Housing in general 26 07.01.2012 10:18
How long did it take to renew your permit? giff Permits/visas/government 29 24.11.2011 15:39
How long did it take to get a permit telandy Permits/visas/government 19 16.02.2011 15:47
How long did it take you to get used to swiss lifestyle? mazule Daily life 35 19.06.2010 15:46


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 18:22.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0