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Old 14.06.2016, 01:11
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Learning German at 29 y.o

Hi,
I'm starting my German at the age of 29. Does anybody have any experience, if it's possible or too late?
I'll be very thankful for useful pieces of advice and methods, including the contact of the private tutors, programs, books, etc..:
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Old 14.06.2016, 01:57
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

Why is 29 late? I plan to keep learning until I die. What's the big deal?
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Old 14.06.2016, 03:41
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

Are there any German speaking meetups in your region?
The more time you can spend with people actually speaking German and interacting with them, the better.
That, and consuming German media like http://www.dw.com/de/themen/s-9077

It's certainly a challenge. How much time can you devote to it?
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Old 14.06.2016, 07:16
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

I learned starting at 26. I guess it depends on how many brain cells you have left after years of drinking at uni.* I had just enough left to manage it. Good luck.

*Not really. It actually depends on whether you're willing to work at it, like anything else.
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Old 14.06.2016, 07:33
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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Hi,
I'm starting my German at the age of 29. Does anybody have any experience, if it's possible or too late?
I'll be very thankful for useful pieces of advice and methods, including the contact of the private tutors, programs, books, etc..:
29? That's too late to learn anything, you have one foot in the grave for God's sake!
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Old 14.06.2016, 08:42
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@troublawesome, @Corbets thank you for encouraging words!

@rainer_d thank you for the link and for the answer!
I'm a very very beginner now. The problem is that there are no German speakers around me. I can devote 1-2 hours a day, it's not too much, but all time I have for this activity.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 14.06.2016 at 15:39. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 14.06.2016, 09:42
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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@rainer_d thank you for the link and for the answer!

I'm a very very beginner now. The problem is that there are no German speakers around me. I can devote 1-2 hours a day, it's not too much, but all time I have for this activity.


1-2hrs daily is actually a lot of time to have for an intensive self-study. After a year you might be at an intermediate level.
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:07
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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1-2hrs daily is actually a lot of time to have for an intensive self-study. After a year you might be at an intermediate level.
Thank you! Could you please recommend what should I start with? What books or programs? Is it more useful to obtain an intermediate level of German and then to switch to Swiss German?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:17
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

Written resources for learning Swiss German (and first you'd have to choose which dialect!) are few and are mostly written in German.

So yes, begin with standard German. You can always pick up a dialect of whatever sort later.
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:20
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

29 is ok for learning a language, no doubt about it. People start studying some cool ancient near-east languages (aka very complicated language structures) at their 40s/50s.
As a general suggestion regarding a method for learning, if you have only 1-2 hours, devote at least 30mins for repeating your previous notes. Remember too that taking notes contributes significantly to your memory as well as perception.
Book suggestion: search ISBN 0820467596 This book is a highly recommended one.
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:21
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

You should be right, but the cut off is 30, so you will need to hurry. I left it too late and can now only discuss apples, aardvarks and cats.
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:22
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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Thank you! Could you please recommend what should I start with? What books or programs? Is it more useful to obtain an intermediate level of German and then to switch to Swiss German?

Thanks in advance!

My approach was


Start with a course until you've covered the basics and grammar.
Read Children's books.
Read the local newspaper/watch the news (every day).
Stop reading your mother tongue for pleasure (for a couple of years)
Re-Read books you have already read in your mother tongue but in German.


From the very beginning get out there and practice (every day).


I learned Schriftdeutsch, but found that I picked up Swiss German on the way.


It's a bit like swimming... you can only learn to swim when you are in the water: once you've mastered not drowning there is only a slight difference between salt and fresh water (the salt water just tastes a bit funny).
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Old 14.06.2016, 10:30
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

No worries, the age wont be an issue, and certainly not at 29!

2 fully hours dedicated of German per day are great and probably way more than most of the people learning German.

In terms of schools, I am going to VHS (http://www.vhsbe.ch/) and I'm quite happy. I also attended Inlingua and Migros and they are OK as well.

Regardless of the school, book or method, the very important thing will be the effort and time you are willing to dedicate, and 2 hours daily is a super advantage!

Good luck!
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Old 14.06.2016, 11:25
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

29 too old?!

I had to start at 55. At your age you can learn anything easily!

A good teacher helps a lot - to get a good grounding in grammar.
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Old 14.06.2016, 11:32
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

I think it more depends on if you're a complete idiot or not
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:21
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

Pay attention to the grammar. Learn the der, die, and das, for every new noun! It will be important when you try to write German correctly.

After about the age of 12 or 14, people learning German will usually have a non German accent, so don't worry about that.

Begin at the beginning and work your way forwards. A simple Volkshochschule course in proper German, over 3 months, will start you off well.
Once you have mastered that, you might consider doing more courses, but you MUST get the basics right before you advance.

I began at age 33, and made some errors.... avoidable as above!
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:30
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29 is ok for learning a language, no doubt about it. People start studying some cool ancient near-east languages (aka very complicated language structures) at their 40s/50s.
As a general suggestion regarding a method for learning, if you have only 1-2 hours, devote at least 30mins for repeating your previous notes. Remember too that taking notes contributes significantly to your memory as well as perception.
Book suggestion: search ISBN 0820467596 This book is a highly recommended one.
Thanks for the recommendation! At what level do you recommend me to switch to Swiss German? or should I start it from the very beginning?

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You should be right, but the cut off is 30, so you will need to hurry. I left it too late and can now only discuss apples, aardvarks and cats.
I'm no sure that I'll be able to obtain a level of B2 before 30...)

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Written resources for learning Swiss German (and first you'd have to choose which dialect!) are few and are mostly written in German.

So yes, begin with standard German. You can always pick up a dialect of whatever sort later.
Ok, thanks, at the beginning it's very difficult to understand what are the first steps...

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Pay attention to the grammar. Learn the der, die, and das, for every new noun! It will be important when you try to write German correctly.

After about the age of 12 or 14, people learning German will usually have a non German accent, so don't worry about that.

Begin at the beginning and work your way forwards. A simple Volkshochschule course in proper German, over 3 months, will start you off well.
Once you have mastered that, you might consider doing more courses, but you MUST get the basics right before you advance.

I began at age 33, and made some errors.... avoidable as above!
At what level are you now? How long did it take you to obtain it? What books and methods did you use?
Thanks in advance

Last edited by 3Wishes; 14.06.2016 at 15:40. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:38
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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I'm no sure that I'll be able to obtain a level of B2 before 30...)


Well then you'll be stuck for the rest of your life with nothing other than


"The man is smoking a pipe." and "Do you have more blue pencils?"


better get cracking.
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:39
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

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My approach was


Start with a course until you've covered the basics and grammar.
Read Children's books.
Read the local newspaper/watch the news (every day).
Stop reading your mother tongue for pleasure (for a couple of years)
Re-Read books you have already read in your mother tongue but in German.


From the very beginning get out there and practice (every day).


I learned Schriftdeutsch, but found that I picked up Swiss German on the way.


It's a bit like swimming... you can only learn to swim when you are in the water: once you've mastered not drowning there is only a slight difference between salt and fresh water (the salt water just tastes a bit funny).
I see. What book did you use in your studies? What is the average time to get B2 learning approx 10 hours a week?
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:41
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Re: Learning German at 29 y.o

it's never too late, my grandmother started learning German in her late 80s. Everyone learns differently, so try to find out which way you learn best. For me full immersion works best, but if I can't be in the country whose language I want to learn, I use a combination of textbooks and speaking comprehension, either via tutor or via online learning. Good luck
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