What dedicated language student could pass up the opportunity to spend endless days studying the German language and all its intricacies?
Unfortunately, in our society, time is money and the reality is often quite different. Most of us simply don't have the time to study languages at our leisure.
Because time is so scarce, there is one important question you should ask yourself before you start learning this beautiful language: How long does it take to learn German?
Mark Twain said, "A gifted man should learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days, and German in 30 years." But maybe it doesn't take that long!
I'm sure we all instinctively look for the quickest and easiest way to learn something new. If we use our time efficiently, we can start practicing and applying our new skills much sooner, so we can find a better job, travel abroad, or communicate better with a loved one.
Learning a foreign language is always an amazing and fulfilling, though often tedious, process. By learning to understand, speak and think in another language, we not only add a new skill to our repertoire, but also change the way we see and interact with the world.
It's understandable that you'd like to know exactly how long this wonderful language learning trip will last so you can make plans and develop firm expectations. However, the reality is that there is no one best way to learn German, and there is no set schedule for it!
Everyone learns differently, and how long it takes to learn German depends on many factors.
In this article, we'll go over some of the factors that affect your learning and how you can speed it up as quickly as possible!
One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about how fast you can learn a language is your personal experience with languages.
The language(s) you speak
What is your native language? And what other languages do you speak?
Yes, this could actually be a determining factor in how quickly you can learn German. If you speak English as your native (or near-native) language, you're lucky. German and English share the same roots, and forty percent of German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary!
On the other hand, if you are a native speaker of a Semitic language such as Arabic, learning German may be a little more difficult - but all the more challenging and rewarding! So don't be discouraged. Just be aware that your English-speaking classmates may have a bit of a head start.... but that doesn't mean they are learning it better than you!
Your previous learning experiences
Have you ever learned another language before?
If you are already fluent in a foreign language or grew up bilingual, you may find it easier and faster to learn German. Several studies have now proven that bilingual people find it easier to learn a third language. This is because they already have experience learning and using a second language and are therefore used to the whole process.
Even if you are not bilingual, it helps if you have learned a foreign language before in your life. Being fluent and proficient in one language will help you learn another, even if the two languages have nothing to do with each other!
Your previous grammar knowledge
One of the first steps in learning a foreign language is to find out how it is constructed and how it works. This is usually done by studying its structure and grammar.
If you already have some experience with grammar and syntax, even in your native language, it will be much easier for you to learn the grammar and syntax of a foreign language.
So if you want to start learning German (or any other language!), it's a good idea to have some grammatical basics to build on!