How long does it take to learn German?
Hi! I wonder how long it would take me to learn enough German so I can work in a professional Swiss environment. Any ideas and experiences? How long did it take you?04 Nov 2004, 01:55 Anonymous
Some people learn quicker, some are slower... However, you should calculate at least one year until you get to a level that you can work with. Just take the time it took you to learn English and multiply it by two ;o)Anonymous 10 Nov 2004, 01:14 - Report
I have been doing an intensive course (every day 4 hours) for 5 months now and although I am able to communicate effectivly, I have some time to go before I will be really competent and able to use it for business purposes.
orlaAnonymous 23 Nov 2004, 02:30 - Report
German is a very complex language. I have been living in Germany for the past half year, and while I can understand everything said, its very hard to come up with your own correct sentences in return.Anonymous 16 Feb 2006, 12:07 - Report
I have just returned to England after taking an Intensive German course in Germany for 4 months. As others have said some people learn quicker than others, but after 4 months i could talk basically and have basic conversations. Grammar is a nightmare, ein, eine, einen, einem just for 'a'....der, die, das, den, dem, des for 'the' ...there are seemingly 20 different combinations to every sentence depending on if it is in the Nominativ, Dativ, Akkusativ or Genetiv and the gender...formal speaking, informal speaking (the list goes on) To talk at a decent level, id say 10months to a year minimum, to be totally gramatically correct i would say several years.
Im now planning on going back for a further 4 months, to try to get better and then see from there if a life in Germany is possible. Im not sure i could ever do a 100% German job however there are opportunities with UK/US companies as well as working for a Language school or University teaching English.
Even if you never work in a professional job over there, learning, especially in a language school is a great experience.
Mike 22 May 2007, 07:05 - Report
I can't imagine what are the main the problems using german for others who speak native english. I speak english only a little bit and I speak some german also (I come from a east-european country). I know my grammar isn't very well. I think for lot of jobs mostly need fluently communication, and meaby not too high quality grammar. What are you thinking?andrew 22 May 2007, 02:11 - Report
In Switzerland you have an even bigger problem to learn German with the fact that they speak Schwyzer Duetsch and this is VERY different from Hochdeutsch. It varies from community to community and then even Hochdeutsch within Switzerland has its own rules. If you want to learn High German, I recommend heading northward up to Germany.
Uff Wiedaluegga!!! Gruetzi, gruetzi!!tony 13 Jun 2007, 03:10 - Report
i was just wondering if you could tell me what sort of course it is you take?? because i really want to learn german aswell but i dont learn it at school and try to do so at home!
olga 08 Jul 2007, 10:10 - Report
i wanted to tell you about my selft
i begun learning german when i was 17 but i did it my selft with books and singing rammstein, but now i am 21 i live 1 year in zürich and i can not speak damn!!!!!
i can understand, but i don't know what is my problem
( well i hope you're better than me
küssenadda 19 Jul 2007, 01:16 - Report
I lived in Switzerland for 9 years. Unfortunately, I worked for an international company where even the Swiss needs to speak English. My Swiss wife speaks excellent English too that means we only communicate in English.
I took intensive German course in Berlitz (same like Orla)immediately upon my arrival in Zurich which really helped me a lot. I was able to read signs and make very basic conversation immediately after the course. In addition, I also took 1 year one-on-one German lesson and Swiss German for 6 months.
After seven years, without any practice at home and at work, I can speak German like a 4/5 year old child. I can go around for my basic needs but always nervous and very anxious to speak German.
I lost my job and was forced to do business and stay at home and took care of our son as my wife had to go to work. Since then with the daily exposure to speaking Swiss German with our son, his friends, neighbours, sales people in the stores, business contacts etc... My German has improved a lot and lost my anxiety even over the telephone. I talk to people and I really don't care whether I use German or Swiss German or mix, what is important is that they understood me. Believe me, they will be happy to hear that you are trying to speak their language. Now, my written grammar has even improved!
The lesson learned:
1. It is hell to learn German in Switzerland as it is not the local language. You cannot use on the street what you've just learned at school!
2. Once you can make basic German communication, forget that you speak English (or another language), try to mingle around with Swiss people who can not speak English.
3. Watch German shows only and listen to German songsd too. Read German newspapers etc... live like a Swiss!
4. You need to evaluate how German do you need at work. If you need to write business letters in German, then you have no choice but to learn proper German. But if you only need it to communicate with colleagues, friends verbally, you may want to consider learning Swiss German directly.
You may want to consider in buying Victor Ebner Videos, I also used this for my self study at home. I think this helped me too.
Egger 01 Dec 2007, 07:50 - Report
That's right! I'm in the same situation. It's even harder to learn German in Switzerland while everybody speaks the dialect. Even if you are taking classes, you need a person to communicate to each day in order to improve your German. The grammar is difficult, but not impossible to learn, and I'm saying this as a latin-based language speaker, where grammar is a challenge, too. Every language has its own rules which makes the learning process interesting. And I believe, if you put passion into it, it works! So, step-by-step, in our own pace, pushed forward by a liiiiiitle bit of motivation (depends on each of us what this could be) we'll see the result faster then we would've expected to.
Hopefully, for myself too, that the German we're studying will improve considerably as soon as possible, so we can be content of braking a barrier of communication!
Good luck, and have fun learning!
Mihaela 10 Jan 2008, 02:57 - Report
I live in Boston, MA and I will be moving to Bern, Switzerland, very soon and I have just read everything all of you have written here: everything sounds compelling, exciting and gives me a little bit of anxiety but I think it all depends on the willingness you have into learning, rght?
Anyways, I don't speak german at all, I am learning by myself and the reason I'm moving is my boyfriend, he is german and works in Switzerland. I want to get there and start a course right away but my question for all of you is: Can I find a course that it's not too expensive but yet effective?
Please help!MSS 11 Jan 2008, 02:35 - Report
wenn ich deutsch gelern habe, mein Leherer sagte mir, Deutsch ist leicht zu lernen, aber schwer zu erlernen.
Ich fand ein Websit, hier kann man online miteinander zu unterhalten. versuchen Sie mal
http://deu.tt4you.com/partner.asp?id=call4VIVA RAMMSTEIN! 03 Apr 2008, 09:56 - Report
After moving to Freiburg, Germany with next to no knowledge of German I got a office job in a respected and well paying company in Basel, Switzerland 6 months later.
During those 6 months I studied everyday often for several hours and also had the bonus of being able to practice the language with my German girlfriend. Of course you'll be perfecting the language for years to come.
I so enjoyed the experience of learning German that I have now left that job in Switzerland and my girlfriend and I now teach German idioms, slang and colloquial language with a weekly podcast. If you're interested, the web address is http://pukkagerman.com
Best of luckTyler 29 Apr 2008, 10:41 - Report
I have a German family but they stay in Germany and I stay in Scotland. They come over every year and I slowly begin to speak and learn how to say the words but when they leave I don't speak it anymore and I forget. I listen to German radio play German games, but my German is rubbish.
Like when my German cousin had a nose bleed I tried to help but I knew no German. It was a stupid day him running around screaming naze blood and me hurrying through the medical version of my phrasebook. Can anybody help me learn German please? I need some way to remember german.Liam 08 Apr 2009, 11:38 - Report
Okaaay, so I am going to learn German in high school next year and am very excited but it sounds like learning a language in schools is completely useless and rubbish-that you need some kind of actual exposure to the language to actually learn it. Am i screwed???English Hopeful 19 Apr 2009, 10:27 - Report
Hallo, a question to all of you:
Actually, I'd firstly just like to thank in advance anyone who does in fact read this, and provides some much-appreciated insight.
I figure it'd be wise just to provide some basic background information as to my current situation, so:
I am currently an academically successfully student in a Canadian high school. I am fluent in English, French, Serbian, Croatian, and I attend daily Latin classes in school.
However, my one true, ultimate goal is to study medicine at Vienna's Medical University, where naturally, all of the courses are offered solely in German.
Therefore, that leaves me with approximately two years and some months to obtain a considerably thorough understanding of the admittedly beautiful language that is German, so that I may... well, successfully pursue what is arguably my greatest goal.
Therefore, my question to all of you- is this a feasible feat for me to accomplish? My native tongue is Serbian/Croatian, meaning that in my lifetime I've had to learn both English and French from scratch- but I was able to with little to no difficulty, hence my consequent fluency in both today.
Any insight, suggestions, etc will be very much appreciated. Thank you for your time, everyone.M 29 Apr 2009, 11:15 - Report
I landed by accident on this page but if anyone needs help with learning german just write me an email.
At the moment I am living in Glasgow to improve my englich but I am native german. Not swiss german though.
MSN, ICQ and Skype are availabe as well.
I would prefer meeting a native english person to get on with my english but I will help everyone who wants to learn german. I am not a teacher but we can just write some emails or messages in MSN and I can correct you (if you want) or you can ask me some questions if you like.
The thought about publishing my email address doesn't feel good because I had some bad experience in other Internet boards so I would kindly ask you to post your email address, ICQ number, MSN/Skyp ID and I will get back to you
MelliMelli 30 Apr 2009, 08:53 - Report
I've just found a nice BBC-website which might help you.
It's the website of BBC. There you'll find some basic steps for learning German!
You'll find explanations of the grammar, pronunciation of the words and some exercises. - For free!
Hope I could help you a bit.
Have luck!Marsal 10 May 2009, 08:07 - Report
I live in Switzerland since 2 and half years and I travel a lot so it was quite difficult to learn German here. I have reach A2 level easily with a method, so now I don't have any problem in my normal life.
I highly recommend you to try with Assimil method. You can find it in http://www.assimil.com.
It's an incredible method, you can use in Gim and while traveling, worthy every penny.
By the way, if there anyone wants to practice german and meet to drink a beer in Zug or Zurich, you can let me know in Skipe my nickname is mcs1900.
Good luck with your learning!!!
MarlemMarlem 28 Jun 2009, 10:54 - Report
Like the title says, I am able to help a german native speaking person learn english if they can help me learn some german. I use MSN messenger and email.
contact me at if you are interested or , make sure you include a subject line that does not sound like spam. I also use msn messenger with the same hotmail address as listed aboveMatt 09 Jul 2009, 05:05 - Report