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Old 10.03.2014, 13:15
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How long did it take you to learn German?

I tried searching this but found no results!

I know it must be different for everyone, I'm looking for an average.. How long does it take for an adult to learn German? Share your experiences please!

Found out that my husband's relocation package covers 6 months' language tuition for spouse (y). I'm expecting 6 months to maybe be enough to hold down an everyday conversation but I am probably going to need to top it up as I want to be fluent so that I can carry on/restart my nursing training. I'd like to know approximately how long this will take so that I can have some structure to my 3-to-5-year-plan! At the moment I speak none at all but when we move I won't be working so will be able to really focus on learning
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Old 10.03.2014, 13:23
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

how long to speak enough German to work

As for me, 10 years in the country and my German is painful.
Still, I'm not the cleverest of people...
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Old 10.03.2014, 13:53
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Seven years of trying to learn by myself, no courses, and I can just about cope in bars, restaurants and shops. It doesn't help of course that the locals speak Swiss German and I also get flustered and forget the the basic stuff.
I'm still trying though!
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Old 10.03.2014, 13:53
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

30 years and I still can't decline my nouns correctly. Frustrierend.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:00
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

For me 9 years here, and I feel my German is still painful Good enough for basic conversations, but not good enough for writing - even reading is still painful. For study purposes, with good grammar sentence construction, I`m still in kindergarten.

My German speaking only improved dramatically when I had NO more English conversation and HAD to converse ONLY in German!

I`m told my German conversation is good - to the point where I`m now no longer forgiven when I automatically address strangers with "du" - with all the conjugations.
Where before I was an ignorant foreigner - now I`m mistaken for a bad mannered German.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:13
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

two years with one hour a week lessons, and a kid in full time German-speaking childcare, and I can just about order a meal and have a very very basic conversation... Of course, my high German is littered with Swiss German words and English words with a German accent hoping that it's a German route word and that people will know what I mean.
It would be great to do an intensive... Good luck.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:15
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

You didnt say to what level of German... if you mean complete fluency, then it could be a very long time... It also depends on the amount of daily exposure you get to using it.

Remember, there are many people out there who have not mastered English yet...
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:19
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

"My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it." – Mark Twain, Appendix D of A Tramp Abroad, "That Awful German Language"

I was born into it 66 years ago, and I'm still learning. Maybe that helps.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:22
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Do you have children? Can you do an intensive course? I did a year of intensive classes- 2 hours a day M-F, and if I had really applied myself could probably have taken and passed the B1 TELC exam which is the minimum requirement according to some nurses in my classes to be able to work here as a nurse.

I did repeat level B1 which is why it took a year but I did that instead of moving on to B1 plus or B2 because I wanted to improve the basics.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:57
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Yes I have children; on previous threads have been told they will have picked it up within 6 months and fluent within a year, so (perhaps naively!?) assumed from that I might take 2 years, maybe 3. I was actually hoping it might be possible within a year if I pushed it! I wasn't expecting so many replies that it could take best part of a decade, eek! Will certainly look into whether I can take an intensive course. Yikes!
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Old 10.03.2014, 15:53
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Consider the difference in fluency for a child vs adult in terms of active vocabulary, thoughts to be expressed etc. and that will help explain why a 10 yr old might be fluent (loosely interpreted) in 6 mos, whereas the adult will need much longer to express themselves in the same way as they would in mother tongue.
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Old 10.03.2014, 16:34
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Some people are really motivated, others talented at learning languages- some are both. For most though, adult or child, learning a language, and the speed this is taking place, is mainly related to necessity. In those pre-internet, pre Forum, pre satellite tv and pre 'expat' days, people found themselves in full immersion most of the time- and learnt much faster I think. If not learning the language isolates you- you are much more motivated to learn. So I'd say time taken will be proportionately related to the amount you spend on EF Welcome.

Last edited by Odile; 10.03.2014 at 17:12.
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Old 10.03.2014, 17:07
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Do just 3 months intensive course and gou will be very fine ( about 3 hours every day )

And if you are bilingual you will learn very fast any other language
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Old 10.03.2014, 20:05
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

My German is not that good, still pretty half hearted about it and one or two lessons a week does not do much good unless you are willing and able to sacrifice a lot of your personal time.

Some of my friends speak it well and they are the ones that went on 6 month (or longer) intensive courses when they first arrived or had a good background such as a good a level standard.

BTW not all kids speak "fluently" after 6 months, some manage well, quite a few go very quiet or even just keep chattering in their home language!
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Old 10.03.2014, 20:15
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Most kids would speak fairly fluently after a few months, if they are in full immersion- and if they feel the necessity to do so to make friends and 'survive'. Most expats parents, for all sorts of reasons, think it is more important to keep up with their own language/s- rather than acquire the new one. Which I can totally understand, especially if the stay abroad is a short one with a return to the home system or another within a couple of years. But then, if the stay does last longer than expected, the child is often penalised when it come to selection at 14 between vocational and academic. When our daughter came here to stay with friends (her choice, her idea) for 1 term aged 12- she was very quiet at school and in the friends' home for about 6 weeks, then became almost bilingual overnight.

Apart from talking to us on the phone once a week- she was in total immersion in the family, no computer, no English TV- only French, day in, day out. By the end of her 4 month stay, she was word perfect orally and her writing skills were very good, if not perfect. She then went back to school in UK without any problems- and caught up any missed work very quickly. She's never lost her French- and still speaks with a slight Neuchâtel accent, 26 years later - although she's lived in Spain for some years, and now back in UK.
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Old 10.03.2014, 20:37
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

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I tried searching this but found no results!

I know it must be different for everyone, I'm looking for an average.. How long does it take for an adult to learn German? Share your experiences please!

Found out that my husband's relocation package covers 6 months' language tuition for spouse (y). I'm expecting 6 months to maybe be enough to hold down an everyday conversation but I am probably going to need to top it up as I want to be fluent so that I can carry on/restart my nursing training. I'd like to know approximately how long this will take so that I can have some structure to my 3-to-5-year-plan! At the moment I speak none at all but when we move I won't be working so will be able to really focus on learning
If you can organise childcare and take an intensive course say 5 mornings per week in 3 months you will be very well equipped and probably A1/A2 in 4-5 months level or end of primary school sort of! The next level is B1 which is like A level and B2 is university level. Many nursing jobs want you to be B1. Know this from friends.
6 months would probably get you to the same level A1/A2 doing two evenings per week. I can recommend the Alpha Spache Studio in Stadelhofen Zurich but don't know any down by Lachen but sure there is. Maybe you could ask them what their system is as I have friends who rated it much higher than the equivalent Berlitz course.

I would recommend just throwing yourself into intensive for 4-6 months and hope for the best for once you start working you prob will not have time!

Good Luck!!
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Old 10.03.2014, 20:43
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

It took me almost 15 months.But i have tried hard and with all possible methods.Rosseta Stone, michel thomas , Primsleur (didnt helped me a lot ) ,reading books (mostly romans),and then the most helpfull i think it was TV. .At the start i didnt see progress and i wanted to give up , but i think time is the most important factor when you try to learn a foreign language.It is much more sufficient to read 15 minutes every day for a long time than many hours avery day in short time
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Old 10.03.2014, 20:48
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Pixie, if you are going to have 6 months of lessons paid for then by all means go for an intensive course. The problem is going to be that you'll be overwhelmed with everything else when you get here and might be tempted to put off more intensive learning until later. And usually later never comes!

Like others have said, much will depend on whether you have a knack for languages. Some folks just have brains that facilitate language learning. Apparently there is some sort of link between mathematics, music and language and those who are gifted in one may have an easier time in another. Who knows? Maybe you're a musician or a math whiz? Otherwise, it's a matter of serious dedication. But as you know, a lot of the diagnoses and medications are terms based on Latin roots so you'd have a leg up in that respect.

Do check out the German conversation groups - the more time you dedicate to actually speaking German the sooner you'll make real progress.
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Old 11.03.2014, 22:05
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

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Pixie, if you are going to have 6 months of lessons paid for then by all means go for an intensive course. The problem is going to be that you'll be overwhelmed with everything else when you get here and might be tempted to put off more intensive learning until later. And usually later never comes!

Like others have said, much will depend on whether you have a knack for languages. Some folks just have brains that facilitate language learning. Apparently there is some sort of link between mathematics, music and language and those who are gifted in one may have an easier time in another. Who knows? Maybe you're a musician or a math whiz? Otherwise, it's a matter of serious dedication. But as you know, a lot of the diagnoses and medications are terms based on Latin roots so you'd have a leg up in that respect.

Do check out the German conversation groups - the more time you dedicate to actually speaking German the sooner you'll make real progress.
I am hoping I do. I studied GCSE Spanish and found it both enjoyable and quite easy to get the hang of. I've been able to read music since I was 7 and my mum always said "it's like another language!" lol. I hope I have a knack for languages. I certainly have the enthusiasm . I was going to add, my plan is to treat it like it's my job, at it all day every day! as I won't be working when I get there so it will be my job of sorts! I want to spend at least 2 hours every day learning or practising. I noticed the convo groups I shall definitely be attending. As soon as I can say more than "Das ist eine katze" (we watched some kiddie cartoon learning thing on YouTube lol!)
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Old 11.03.2014, 22:45
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Re: How long did it take you to learn German?

Did you mention where you'll be moving to? I've forgotten it if you did. Sounds like you'll do fine picking up on German with your experiences with other languages and your determination. But do I understand you correctly that you are planning on resuming nursing studies? Did you begin and have to leave off? Or do you have a degree and are adding to that? If you'll be studying then your location will make a big difference.
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