Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Language corner
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #101  
Old 13.01.2015, 23:21
Queen of Cups's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Zurich town
Posts: 331
Groaned at 11 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 342 Times in 176 Posts
Queen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of many
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Hmmmm - see posts 89 and 90 above. Not sure what you understand to be "semi-fluent" and "hold my own in a conversation in German" but I would be amazed if you managed to achieve A2 level in 6 months of a few hours study per week. I wouldn't describe A1 or A2 as fluent, semi or otherwise. But maybe you are unusually gifted linguistically ...
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Queen of Cups for this useful post:
  #102  
Old 15.01.2015, 00:51
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Zurich
Posts: 7
Groaned at 2 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Switzerland12 has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Pixie B,
So how is your German going? Almost 1 year since your post
Reply With Quote
  #103  
Old 15.01.2015, 10:27
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: countryside
Posts: 12
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
fadilli1234 has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I'm swiss, and I would say it's nearly impossible to speak fluently if you haven't learned it as a child. The hardest thing about german is that you have 3 articles. But if you study hard I think it will be possible for you to talk about the everyday stuff.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank fadilli1234 for this useful post:
  #104  
Old 15.01.2015, 11:26
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: ZH
Posts: 4,445
Groaned at 55 Times in 45 Posts
Thanked 2,164 Times in 1,311 Posts
SOBEIT has a reputation beyond reputeSOBEIT has a reputation beyond reputeSOBEIT has a reputation beyond reputeSOBEIT has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
I'm swiss, and I would say it's nearly impossible to speak fluently if you haven't learned it as a child. The hardest thing about german is that you have 3 articles. But if you study hard I think it will be possible for you to talk about the everyday stuff.
Thanks for the motivational advice.
Reply With Quote
The following 4 users would like to thank SOBEIT for this useful post:
  #105  
Old 15.01.2015, 14:10
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?

Quote:
View Post
I agree with above poster - fokus on getting through A2 quickly, it can be done in under a year or even faster if you're studying full time.

Then you have decent conversational german. Ive been here for six years and am at a lower B-level, but lack the motivation to do classes etc to further my german. Im a lazy sod.

Its when you get to B-level it gets tricky and you realise just how bad you really are...despite how proud you are over your conversational A2-german. I feel a lot of expats just call it quits after A2 and decide thats enough and I fear I'm one of them.
This last paragraph is so true. The more my German improves, the worse I think it is!

Quote:
View Post
there are movies and tv show options in both German and Swiss German, and some of them are actually watchable. I strongly prefer to watch without subtitles, since the subtitles are frankly distracting and the translations are not word-for-word. there are plenty of excellent written resources for learning the differences between German and Swiss German.

on a related note, people who think that they have become "fluent" in a foreign language in 6 months, one year, two years or even three of four years must have a much different definition of "fluent" than I do. as a native English speaker who always tracked well above his peers in English class, it took me until I was 17 or 18 to be truly "fluent" in English, and even then I still had plenty to learn. I don't care how much you immerse yourself in a foreign language, true fluency takes years.


Quote:
View Post
Hmmmm - see posts 89 and 90 above. Not sure what you understand to be "semi-fluent" and "hold my own in a conversation in German" but I would be amazed if you managed to achieve A2 level in 6 months of a few hours study per week. I wouldn't describe A1 or A2 as fluent, semi or otherwise. But maybe you are unusually gifted linguistically ...
I wouldn't describe A2 as even semi-fluent either, as it's the level I'm at and I am far from fluent! I really struggle when on unfamiliar grounds! I've only put in a few hours a week though (less than that, sometimes) and achieved this level around 6 months so it is possible! Languages do seem to be one of my strong points though, I enjoy learning and it does not mash my head like, for instance Mathematics

Quote:
View Post
Pixie B,
So how is your German going? Almost 1 year since your post
Ok thanks! I feel like I am on track of reaching my 12-month goal (finishing A2/starting B1) I don't put as much time into it as I would like to, but fortunately I seem to be able to grasp it easily enough to offset this. I have a tutor now one hour a week. Her feedback is very positive and encouraging Like I said above though, the more I improve the more I realise how much further I have to go
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Pixie B for this useful post:
  #106  
Old 16.01.2015, 12:44
Queen of Cups's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Zurich town
Posts: 331
Groaned at 11 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 342 Times in 176 Posts
Queen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of many
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
I'm swiss, and I would say it's nearly impossible to speak fluently if you haven't learned it as a child. The hardest thing about german is that you have 3 articles. But if you study hard I think it will be possible for you to talk about the everyday stuff.
I don't agree. Yes, it takes a huge amount of effort and a long time but it is possible. I had my first German class at the age of 19 and then worked in Germany after college for almost 10 years. I was fluent enough that I was often mistaken for a German at the beginning of a conversation, albeit a bit of a stupid one, until the other person picked up on my slight accent.

Getting the declinations right while at the same time searching for the words you want and arranging them in the proper order is extremely challenging when keeping to the speed of a normal conversation. But like anything else, you get used to it.

Now after moving here 3 years ago (after almost 20 years in the US) it's taken quite a bit of effort to bring my level of fluency back up and I'm still not to where I used to be. This is partly due to the confusion of the Swiss dialects vs standard German, but also just because my middle-aged brain just doesn't have the spark it once had.

I speak more slowly in German than in English and I use crutches like "wie sagt man" or describe a word if I can't think of the exact one that I want. But that doesn't keep you from having a discussion or limit your conversation to everyday topics. I admit though, I hate to have an argument in German and will revert to English if I'm really upset.
Reply With Quote
  #107  
Old 21.01.2015, 08:49
Wollishofener's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glattbrugg
Posts: 19,028
Groaned at 333 Times in 258 Posts
Thanked 11,712 Times in 6,857 Posts
Wollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

In the Canton of Zürich, people have German lessons
during 6 years Primary School
during 3 years Secondary School
during 3 years of Apprenticship
and Germanistik-students are concentrating all efforts on the German language for a while
Reply With Quote
  #108  
Old 11.02.2015, 10:33
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 3,383
Groaned at 62 Times in 32 Posts
Thanked 2,966 Times in 1,470 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Gaaah, my German doesn't seem to be getting any better. I work on it for a few hours every day. So frustrating!!

I must be really dumb, because other people seem to be able to speak several languages without even trying! I really want to be good at languages


……. sorry having a "German is getting me down day"
Reply With Quote
  #109  
Old 11.02.2015, 11:58
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Kanton Zürich
Posts: 22
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 30 Times in 12 Posts
jacquiam has earned some respectjacquiam has earned some respect
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I am at B2 level spoken but writing is not hot. I lived in Germany for 7 years before moving to CH. I don't motivate myself to get better - a 'lazy sod' indeed. I think there are definitely people who are really talented at languages and those who have to work at it - like all talents. I also think it is possible to learn and be fluent with discipline - that is a driving factor for those who are not 'naturally' talented.

I think it is important to just use the language, mistakes and all. It is through the mistakes we learn. I have met many non-German speakers who want to learn but because they make mistakes they give up or use the language as little as possible. I tried to remind them that, back in their homeland, they would probably be happy to talk with someone who is trying to learn the language, even if that person was not perfect in the language and that hopefully would respect that the person was trying their best. Generally, I think people here (and in Germany) are pleased when someone tries their best.

And in terms of Swiss-German, I just ask the person to please speak 'Schrift-Deutsch' and 95% of the time they do. I had always assumed that Swiss folks speak either Swiss German (one of the many dialects) plus German, or plus French, or plus Italian, or plus Reto-romanisch. But that isn't so. I now understand that for a good number speaking German is not easy, despite having learned it in the school. It is like a foreign language - they speak Swiss-German as the first language - from the first word, at home, at work, and at school. A number of Swiss folks have told me German is uncomfortable for them and if they don't have to speak it, they won't. One woman I met told me she has to translate in her head from Swiss German to German when she speaks - was that a surprise for me! Now I understand so much more and am not so frustrated.
Reply With Quote
  #110  
Old 12.02.2015, 12:06
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Zurich
Posts: 11
Groaned at 5 Times in 4 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Jamakka is considered a nuisanceJamakka is considered a nuisanceJamakka is considered a nuisance
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I was learning German one year every day in language school, have reached level C1, then have stopped it for almost a year and the problem is, that I've forgot a lot and to get a certificate I'll need to repeat a lot of things again. I would love to go again to the school, but spend again 1200 fr every months for what I did learn before..?)) Trying to renew my knowledge by myself at home
Reply With Quote
  #111  
Old 12.02.2015, 13:24
Queen of Cups's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Zurich town
Posts: 331
Groaned at 11 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 342 Times in 176 Posts
Queen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of many
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Gaaah, my German doesn't seem to be getting any better. I work on it for a few hours every day. So frustrating!!

I must be really dumb, because other people seem to be able to speak several languages without even trying! I really want to be good at languages

……. sorry having a "German is getting me down day"
Don't feel too badly, Island Monkey. I think there are a lot of us who sometimes feel like the German language has gone over us with a cudgel. We lie there all black and blue and try to work up the energy to drag ourselves up and continue on.

And don't even go there with comparing yourself to those lofty folks who can speak several languages. They inhabit some higher sphere, as far as I'm concerned. The rest of us poor schmoes just have to do what we can with what the gods gave us ...
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Queen of Cups for this useful post:
  #112  
Old 13.02.2015, 23:15
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 3,383
Groaned at 62 Times in 32 Posts
Thanked 2,966 Times in 1,470 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Don't feel too badly, Island Monkey. I think there are a lot of us who sometimes feel like the German language has gone over us with a cudgel. We lie there all black and blue and try to work up the energy to drag ourselves up and continue on.

And don't even go there with comparing yourself to those lofty folks who can speak several languages. They inhabit some higher sphere, as far as I'm concerned. The rest of us poor schmoes just have to do what we can with what the gods gave us ...
Thanks! I'm considering moving to the West of the country and learning French
Reply With Quote
  #113  
Old 14.02.2015, 13:14
Queen of Cups's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Zurich town
Posts: 331
Groaned at 11 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 342 Times in 176 Posts
Queen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of manyQueen of Cups has earned the respect of many
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Quote:
View Post
Thanks! I'm considering moving to the West of the country and learning French
You terrify me
Reply With Quote
  #114  
Old 16.02.2015, 22:54
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 12
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
t.masselot has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Well one thing I learned while studying languages is that you need to activate the 4 channels of learning. Here is what I do to learn german (I have a B-1 level).

-Read : every morning in the train, I read 20 minutes and do flash cards for every word I don't. I learn the flashcards on the way back

-Listen : I'm listening to a cool internet German radio that broadcasts news and music without ads

-Write : I try as much as I can to write emails in German rather than english

-Speak : I do all my administrative tasks in German (up to a point where the other person switch to english usually :-D)
Reply With Quote
  #115  
Old 22.02.2015, 20:31
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Zurich
Posts: 14
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
gregorr has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I learned Italian from TV as a kid, but German i simply can't. Everybody speaks English around me,...one really good advice would be to just speak German no matter what and after a very steep learning curve i would probably just start speaking and understanding more and more...but it's hard, or not? Maybe we just make it too hard...one should just speak, mistakes and all, ... that's the only way i think. Being too concerned with mistakes is a killer, like with everything in life.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank gregorr for this useful post:
  #116  
Old 22.02.2015, 22:13
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Zurich
Posts: 13
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
SMN7295 has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

I think that's a very difficult question to answer and will depend on your dedicate your willingness to practice. I agree that it is difficult to learn by hearing German because of all the Swiss German but it won't take long before you can recognize the difference. I would suggest 1-2 months of intensive classes (if your schedule allows) and then make sure you practice/read even a few news paper articles each day. It's also important to let the Swiss know you want to speak in German "nur deutsch bitte" as they have a tendancy to automatially switch to English once they hear your accent.

If you want a quick and dirty method- read Tim Ferris' book 4 Hour Chef, specifically the section on learning languages. He suggests to learn the auxilary verbs first (need, want, looking, etc) It has helped me greatly!
Reply With Quote
  #117  
Old 23.02.2015, 09:21
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?

Quote:
View Post
It's also important to let the Swiss know you want to speak in German "nur deutsch bitte" as they have a tendancy to automatially switch to English once they hear your accent.
I have noticed this too!
Reply With Quote
  #118  
Old 10.03.2015, 22:05
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Basel
Posts: 11
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
cketani has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Life is too short to learn German
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank cketani for this useful post:
  #119  
Old 10.03.2015, 22:20
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 13
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
DT007 has no particular reputation at present
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Hi, try a good school. I went to Benedikt Schule and the intensive course was fantastic. Now I do not have the time but everytime I meet new people, I do not let them speak to me in English. I change immediately to German and that works.

Best wishes.
DT007
Reply With Quote
  #120  
Old 11.03.2015, 15:53
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Zürich
Posts: 452
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 135 Times in 98 Posts
standardgirl has earned some respectstandardgirl has earned some respect
Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Just over 5 years in Switzerland now whilst having a full-time job the entire time. 2 of those years (year 2 and 3) I did only the absolute minimum, meaning showing up to my once-a-week class and that's about it. The last 2 years, however, I was working my a$$ off which really brought my German level up. I'm now at C2 where I can read and write very comfortably in pretty much any topic, including proper essays in German . Speaking and listening are a slightly different story though - probably more like a solid C1 level here due to the lack of practice . This is all from someone who lives and works in an English-speaking environment. I'm convinced, if I actually had a better German environment here, my German would've improved much faster.

Hard work and a wonderful teacher help a lot!
Reply With Quote
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 21:27.


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