How long do I need to learn German?
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
How long do I need to learn German?
INDEX OF CONTENTS
- The language bubble
- How fast can we learn German?
- What time should we dedicate to study?
- The vocabulary for each level of German
- What is your attitude towards learning?
- Your goals?
- Here’s how you can reach your goals faster
When we start to study a language, we have always been interested in knowing how much time we are going to need to bring it to a more or less fluid level. However, lately we have seen much more urgency in those who decide to study German. This happens especially when you undertake your studies with the intention of going to live and / or work in one of the German-speaking countries. In this way we put teaching methods to the test, demanding many times from our teachers that they be magicians who help us achieve the impossible. So how long do we really need to be able to learn German?
The language bubble
Lately we live in Spain in a kind of «language bubble» and the appearance of some academies that promise their students to achieve a good level of a language in record time. And if promises are not kept, the problem is with the student who has not tried hard enough. However, the brain is governed by its own rules and needs time to learn something new, languages included.
How fast can we learn German ?
The Goethe Institut, the organization that promotes and disseminates German culture and language in the world, estimates that the following hours of classes are necessary for each level:
45 minute class units
The hours indicated on the left refer to adults and those on the right to children who may need more hours . The hours indicated are indicative and how quickly we can reach a level depends in the end on many factors. Age and hours of study are surely the most important, but not the only ones. Our progress with the language will also depend on:
- our personal motivation,
- interest in learning the language,
- the effort with which we study,
- the quality and frequency of your own classes or studies,
- the volume of vocabulary that we reach,
- whether we live in the country of the language we study or not.
The point is that those who study regularly tend to get better results . For example, a person who studies 15-20 minutes a day or takes classes for an hour and a half twice a week will normally progress faster than a person who does two-hour classes once a week.
We have to remember that learning a language is a long-distance race, not a ‘sprint’ . Many people want to speak German in record time, but all they do is break the record for exhaustion. The faster we learn, the faster we forget! So the secret is based on the distribution of studies over a long period of time.
How much time should we dedicate to studying?
If we want to reach level A1 in German , we need at least 80 hours of teaching. If we do classes of an hour and a half a week (that is, two units of 45-minute classes according to the table), we would do about eight units a month. So we would need about ten months to reach this level of German. Some could do it faster than others, but it is very difficult, if not almost impossible, to have the level in two or three months, if we study at this rate.
Also, it is very important to build a solid base in German from the beginning . The quality, not the quantity of studies during the first months is crucial. Once the quality base is achieved, we can add the quantity.
If you have a very high language goal like B2 or C1 in mind, you should plan for at least nine to 12 months of daily intensive German courses or a visit to the preparatory school if you start with zero knowledge.
The vocabulary for each level of German
In addition, we should take into account the volume of German vocabulary that we should handle at each level. Also here the Goethe Institut gives us some reference values:
|Level||Words per level|
From level B2 the number of words is no longer indicated , since it is assumed that our linguistic skills should allow us to hold conversations and write in most everyday and work situations.
What is your attitude towards learning German?
A positive attitude is the most important prerequisite for learning German successfully. If you think you can do it, you can too. You won’t care how much time or effort it will take once you see that you are getting closer to your goal on a regular basis. The most important thing is that you have fun learning!
How specifically did you formulate your end goal and intermediate goals? How well do you want to be able to speak German?
a) as good as a native speaker
b) good enough that I can pass my B2 or C1 exam
c) to be able to converse normally with people and in everyday life
d) I just want to be able to travel in Germany, order in restaurants and go shopping.
One thing you have to be clear about : the more ambitious your goal is, the more you will have to do to achieve it. This may (under certain circumstances) take longer.
Here’s how you can reach your goals faster:
- Why are you really learning German? Think about WHY!
- Why are you learning German?
- Who are the people you can communicate with in German?
- How important is German in your daily life or in your life?
- What meaning do you want it to have?
The stronger your WHY is, the stronger your motivation and the easier it will be to keep going and keep learning regularly.