Better German Podcast with Susi

Susanne Schilk-Blümel

Episode 29 - How Long Does it Take to Learn German

Some Guidelines to Give you an Idea What to Expect

2024-03-28 11 min

Description & Show Notes

This episode of the Better German Podcast discusses the time it takes to learn German, covering different levels of proficiency, hours of learning required on average to learn the different levels and what to expect to be able to do when you learned the level. If you are trying to figure out how long it will take you to reach your individual goal of learning German, this episode can help you!

In this episode of Better German, host Susi Blumel dives into the intriguing question of how long it takes to learn German. Drawing from her own experiences and insights, she provides a detailed breakdown of the hours required for beginners to progress from basic conversational skills to more advanced levels. Listen in as she addresses common scenarios such as learning German for travel, living in a German-speaking country, or starting a business in the region. Susi also shares valuable tips for language learners and highlights the ongoing nature of language acquisition. Plus, she invites listeners to explore the various resources and courses available for German learning. Whether you're considering embarking on a German learning journey or seeking to enhance your language skills, this episode offers practical advice and encouragement for your language learning endeavors. Tune in and join the conversation on how to navigate the fascinating world of mastering the German language.

Bullet Points
Primary Topic: How long does it take to learn German?
- Time it takes for a total beginner to start speaking a little bit
  - Hours of learning to speak about immediate environment in short sentences
- Time it takes to reach the next level and beyond
  - Approximately 300 hours for every further level
- Factors affecting learning time
  - Differences based on the learner's native language
  - German may be more difficult for beginners compared to English, Spanish, or some other languages
  - Similarities between German and Slavic languages like Russian
Primary Topic: Learning German for vacation
- Language requirements for travel in German-speaking countries
  - In big cities and tourist areas, English is commonly spoken
  - Effort to learn German can be appreciated by locals
  - Longer time needed to fully understand the locals
Primary Topic: Learning German for business purposes
- Language proficiency needed to start a business in a German-speaking area
  - Various levels of proficiency according to the European framework for foreign languages
  - Time estimates for achieving different levels of proficiency
  - The need for lawyers or interpreters for serious business matters, regardless of language proficiency
Primary Topic: Continuous learning and citizenship requirements
- Continuous nature of language learning
  - Even native German speakers continue to learn new words and improve their language skills
  - Time estimate for achieving the level required for Austrian citizenship
  - Resources and courses available for learning German, including individual lessons, group lessons, and online self-paced courses offered by Susi Blumel
Primary Topic: Conclusion and further support
  - Offer of support for those seeking to learn German, including a link to further information and a free consultation

- Appointment for free consultation and placement

Here you can get early access to the upcoming A1.1 (total beginner) German course.
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Welcome to the Better German podcast. My name is Susi Blümel, and I will teach you German and everything around the language , the countries and the culture. So this week's episode about how long it takes to learn German, is actually taken from a video from a video interview that I did a while ago. So I'm going to also put the whole video on YouTube. So if you want to see it as a video, then you can see it there too. Enjoy this episode. So, how long does it take to learn German? if you're a total beginner, and you want to start speaking a little bit, this generally can be done, I've seen it done in maybe 100 hours of learning. And when I say hours of learning, I suppose that you have a way of learning, either a good course or a good tutor that you're like making good progress with, plus your extra time, you take to practice to read, to write sentences or whatever you do to practice. So it should take somewhere on average people about 100 hours to go from nothing to go to the first level where you can start speaking about your immediate environment in short sentences. This sounds maybe long or short, but that's on average something that people have. And then after that, It's maybe about two, three hundred hours to come to the next level where you can use very basic tenses, you can also speak about the past a little bit and about the future, and, maybe just to give you an idea, after that, about three hundred hours for every further level. That being said, it can make a difference, which language you're speaking originally. If you speak English, you may have a little bit of a harder time to understand the German grammar than maybe if your native language is Russian. sounds maybe funny, but Russian or a few other Slavic languages have, according to the grammar, similarities with German, and it's going to be harder. It is work. I think it's work to learn any language. but German maybe, I think German could be a little bit more difficult in the beginning than, for example, English. It is relatively easy to start speaking English or to start speaking Spanish. These are languages that easier in the beginning. German is a little bit more like French or probably Russian, which I've not really tried to learn, but I know it a little bit from some students. it's not so easy to start in the beginning, like you have to learn quite a bit to like even make correct. Shorter sentences, but that's not that there's too much importance given on the correctness of the sentences in the beginning. So the next question was. If I want to go on vacation to German speaking country. How long do you think it would take me to learn enough German? To talk to language? to get along. Cool. Wow. That's an interesting question. First of all, most of my students actually try to learn German because they live in a German speaking country and it's not their native language and they need it. So it's a very different situation, but it's a good question because obviously people learn German maybe to speak to German speaking people, which I think is a very nice thing. first of all, the good news is, in the big cities at least and in the tourist areas, I think, in all three of these countries, you will find people that speak English. I mean, it's a general thing. It's not like in in maybe France or Italy where it is very hard to find people that speak English. So that's the good news However, if you put in these first 100 hours that I said in the beginning, that will give you, the possibility to speak about your immediate environment. I think it will give you credit because If you go to a place and you make an effort and you show that you care to learn the language, even though it's not perfect, I think people will be happy about it and will like it. However, obviously to really understand, Austrians or Germans or, or Swiss, it obviously takes longer. It takes much longer. yeah. Okay. And the next question was. If someone wanted to start a business in, the German speaking area. how long, would it take to learn to speak, German, good enough to do that. Oh, wow. That's a good question. Okay, good. Let me first, I will, I wanna say something, even though I'm trying not to, to use too many, how do you say, I. Special words. there is something called the European Framework, for foreign languages, basically, and they have a numbering system for the level of the ability to use a foreign language and it starts with A0, A0 means you're a total beginner and you know nothing, basically. And, A1 is this first level I said you can achieve with usually about a hundred hours. And, then we come to A2. Which is, by the way, an important level, because you need A1, for example, if you want to get a visa in Austria. The first visa, they require you to know A1. And to really have that level It's about a hundred hours. A2 is a little bit more advanced. You need this for the next visa. Like if you want to have a visa, where, where you can stay about two years in Austria or something like that, then you need A2. And that's maybe another 150 hours. And then the next level that is very, the, next levels are B1, B2, and then it's C1, C2. So B1 and B2 are already longer levels than, A1 and A2. So, I would say B1, B2 is about two, three hundred hours of learning while being in a German speaking environment. So, it's learning for about three hundred hours each plus going out and having communication, conversations with people that are in a German speaking area. And then C1 is a level that most people will only try to achieve when they want to go to university, to be honest. I mean, most people that I know, even business people, will usually be happy with B2. So I think when you are in a B2 level, It means you can speak about pretty much anything except for maybe highly philosophical or scientific. Subjects and I think most people are very happy with B2 and then if you want to start a business and you have B2 Then you can talk to people and get an idea of how they are and communicate with them But then for the real serious stuff you get a lawyer or interpreter, which you will anyway, even if you speak German So I would say If you sum this up, this is about 100 for A1, 200 for A2, 300 for B1, and 300 for B2, so this is about 600, 800, 900 hours, I would say, so you can do the math. It depends a little bit on how much time you put into it. I do not think Even though it is offered as intensive courses, that these things work as super intensive course. Like, you do not really achieve a B2 level by doing a 50 hours a week course for six months. I don't think it works that way. But you may be able to pass a B2 exam. However, if that's, yeah, I don't suggest that because I think if you live in in a German speaking country you should actually speak the language and not just have the exam. In summary. I mean, first of all, learning German, if you really go into this, and if you live in a German speaking area, I think you have to understand that you never stop learning learning a language. my native language is German. I've been speaking it for, like, almost 50 years. And, I don't stop learning German. I still I look in a dictionary and so on. So this is not something that ends. However, if you want to learn German and you like start putting in maybe one hour every day, I think, what did we say? In about three years, you can be at the level where you you know enough German to apply for the Austrian citizenship. This is not the only prerequisite you have, but many people that come to Austria want to be able to eventually apply for a, Permanente Niederlassungsprivilegung, so that means that they can stay here or even a citizenship if they married an Austrian, for example. and in order to do that, you need B1 2 level. And I think, and you can, you should be able to achieve that in learning about three years, like one hour every day on average. With a good course or a way that helps you because it can be much longer if you have a bad course, obviously And if you are looking for a course or for classes, We can help you. I offer everything from individual lessons, to group lessons. and online self learning courses. Self-paced courses. And you can find the info's on and you can also make an appointment, for a first free consultation. I'll put the link in the show notes and I wish you the best for your German learning experience and. if you want to reach out, then hear from you soon. Bye-bye.


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