How to become fluent in German?
Without going to a language course at a school/college? I want to become fluent in this language at home. Is it possible?
A language course probably wouldn't make you fluent. You have to use the language and be immersed to become fluent, and it will take time and effort. Finishing the Duolingo tree is a pretty great place to start...
Take another interest
from other elements
use with the language
smile, dance, sing, cook
enjoy with other activities
and slowly fluency
in differing ways
Gustav Metzger was the German academic that taught Pete Townshend, which inspired and influenced his famous guitar-smashing when he played in "The Who".
fluency can be expressed in so many differing ways
Yes, it's possible. Do not underestimate the power of immersion. It means that you will need to imitate immersion by listening to online shows (TV websites or movies on youtube). Read the German language newspapers online, same for magazines. Read german language novels and so forth.
Also, translate every day. Write in german every day by using the words you already know. Ask all your friends if they know or have german speaking friends and practice with those people. Get in touch with the local German embassy (so they can refer you to german speaking people or organizations) or other German language associations if ever they exist in your country.
You get the idea! My native language is French but I am also fluently bilingual (French-English). I read and write in English every single day. And, I speak in English to several people every week.
If your goal is a C2 I'd say you're going to need a course at some point, but in the meantime you'll need:
- exposure (books, films, etc.)
- someone to talk to (ideally a very patient native speaker)
- some more exposure
- and yet more exposure (I mean thousands of hours)
The CEFR scale is really unimportant and inaccurate, to be completely honest.
I completed the German C1 exam with over 90%, yet the average native German couldn't pass that exam. (As stated by my native German teacher and also native German friends of mine.) And my German definitely isn't better than the natives!
While I agree that scales in general, not just the CEFR, can be innacurate, I wouldn't say it is unimportant. A person who can pass a C2 exam obviously speaks a lot better than someone who can only pass an A1.
That does not surprise me. Looking at my own native language, the average person makes so many mistakes that I doubt they could pass anything over a B2, and in some cases that is a generous estimate. I think that says more about native speakers than it does about the test, to be honest. Also, the Goethe tests (the higher levels at least) are notorious for their oral comprehension exams, as they pick the most difficult accents imaginable.
Edit: There is also the fact that knowing a subject (any subject) does not mean you can pass any exam on it with no problem. You have to study for the exam as well. I had that problem recently, where I didn't do all that well in a high school level maths test, even though I have a degree in a STEM field and can solve problems that would make my high school maths teachers cry.
Edit2: I know a native English speaker who makes so many mistakes when writing that she always lost marks in her reports because the markers couldn't understand what she meant. Now, she certainly speaks English a lot better than I do, but if we had to pass a writing examination she would be penalized quite heavily, and would probably do worse than me.
I can agree with that. Perhaps "unimportant" was the wrong choice of words. However, I would say it is often, though not always, irrelevant when it comes to defining fluency. And you're certainly right, if someone can only pass an A1 test, they definitely aren't as fluent as someone who can pass a C2 test.
Different people often have very different ideas of "fluency". Some are very strict in what they consider to be fluent, whereas other's are lenient. Different people base the concept of fluency on many different factors.
In English, it is technically wrong to end a sentence with a preposition, however, no one really follows that rule. You're much more likely to hear "Who are you going to the movies with?" than "With whom are you going to the movies?". The latter sounds very rigid and formal, though, on an English exam, the more common usage could very likely be marked as incorrect. Many (perhaps even most) English speakers don't know that it's "wrong" to end a sentence with a preposition. Students of English as a foreign language, if they've been taught from the beginning to never end a sentence with a preposition and similar grammatical rules, while maybe sounding awkward when speaking to a native, would likely score better on a language exam. This is one issue I have with the current setup, you have to sometimes sacrifice sounding natural to be "correct".
But what's "more fluent"? Speaking 100% according to the rules and sounding rather awkward, or speaking like natives and being more easily understood while using technically incorrect grammar?
I say the latter.
Absolutely, but that would make designing and marking this kind of test very difficult. They may not be perfect, but even in school we lost marks if we wrote things that technically aren't correct.
They aren't really testing your "fluency", they are testing how well you know and apply the rules of the language. In everyday life these tests mean nothing (I know half German people, native speakers, who failed the C2 exam because of the oral comprehension part). However, if you work at a university, for example, you need some sort of proof that the foreign students you are admitting speak the language at a sufficiently high level. It's like IQ tests, a high IQ doesn't mean you will succeed in life, but it does improve your chances in some ways (while lowering them in others, but that's another story).
It is possible. I did it on my own with Spanish, Chinese, Latin, and French, and now I am trying to do it with German as well. You must immerse yourself in the language. If you read, write, speak, watch (movies, etc) and interact in German then you will be successful. Also try to travel to Germany or places that speak it. I spent a while in Argentina, and that is how I gained Spanish fluency, aside from my language courses.
Yes, it is possible. I'd say that as well as using Duolingo, you should try to speak, read, and write German in real life. Using it as a part of your life will really help you become fluent.
Yes, it's possible. Duolingo's good for the basics; after Duolingo, you'll need some resources to work on your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. You can read German books and newspapers, and watch TV and films and listen to the radio. Lang-8 is good for improving your writing skills, and there are websites for helping people find language exchange partners.
Singing in your target language has a way for you to soak in the language faster than any other way. Try it!
Yes you can learn without a class. You have to create your own program. It should include all elements of the language, speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. Speaking is the most challenging and the one that will help you to remember more words. There a lot of free resources, I listed some of them today on this post: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21269345
The early part of learning a language is easy, but it is very important, because you need a strong foundation. Duolingo teaches a lot of grammar, but you need more and you can find it on websites, youtube videos and traditional books. After you progress a little you may want to get a language partner, there are many websites for that, also find out if there are meetups groups for German speakers in your area.