If you have ever considered learning German, you might have wondered how long it would take you. Learning how to speak the language fluently can seem intimidating, but it’s not nearly as difficult as it appears.
According to the FSI, learning German takes about 30 weeks or 750 hours for English speakers. That said, the actual time taken would depend on your motivation, previous experience, current proficiency, personal effort, learning technique, and schedule.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at the factors that determine how long it would take you to master this language.
Why would you want to learn German? For pleasure, to learn a new skill, to visit the country, converse with German friends, for school or work? There are many reasons why you would take up a new language, but your why needs to be strong enough to keep you motivated when the going gets tough.
Your Previous Experience
If English is your first language or you know another language similar to German, it might take you a shorter time to learn German. German and English hail from the same Germanic family, and languages that share family origins share similar attributes. Other Germanic languages include Swedish, Dutch, Afrikaans, and Danish.
The US Foreign Service Institute, FSI, conducted a study establishing that English speakers take a mere 30 weeks on average to learn German. Compared to Japanese or Arabic, which take approximately 88 weeks, this is pretty fast.
Bilinguals might also find learning German easier due to their previous experience learning a second language.
How Much Time You Can Devote to Learning German
Learning a new language is like learning any new skill. It requires lots of practice, dedication, time, and commitment. You need to give your brain time to develop neural connections around the new language.
If you don’t have the time to devote to studying the language, you’ll never be able to learn it in a timely manner. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t learn anything. Still, people who dedicate more time to learning German will most likely pick it up more quickly.
Your Learning Method or Technique
Your proficiency in German will depend highly on the technique you employ. While you can learn German by watching movies, reading books, practicing writing, or using an app, the most efficient way to enhance your communication skills is by experimenting. You can do this by speaking with native German speakers.
How To Learn German Quickly
Practicing speaking the language is the fastest way to learn, but there are several other ways to speed up your German acquisition process. These include the following:
- Get yourself a tutor. A German tutor can help you attain language fluency by providing guidance and accountability. Check out online platforms like GermanPod101 or Rype that enable you to connect with your tutor from any location.
- Immerse yourself in the language and culture. Look for opportunities to hang out with German friends, attend German concerts, listen to German music, eat German food. Simply put, ‘live’ German.
- Have fun. Forget about being perfect in the language and simply enjoy yourself as you learn. Like a little kid, ignore your speaking mistakes and don’t get too hung up on pronunciation.
- Find opportunities to speak German. Listen to German podcasts or watch movies and repeat aloud what you hear. Also, get a language partner and practice conversing together.
- Travel. Travel to a German-speaking location if you can. Alternatively, travel with German speakers and get the unique opportunity to boost your fluency in the language.
As we have seen, how long it takes to learn German largely depends on you; your situation, efforts, motivation, and the time you put in. So go all out and enjoy the journey.