German from scratch since March 19th. Apart from the started activities, what else could be done ?

Hi all ! As I mentioned in the title of the topic, I started learning Deutsch almost a month and a half ago. I've been visiting a language course twice a week since then (100 minutes on Monday + 100 minutes on Wednesday). We are usually given a lot of HW, extra things to deal with, as it it obvious that I manage to make some progress. Apart from it, I started Duolingo about at the same time when that coursed was launched. I may honestly say that I am absolute beginner.. It will be the whole truth to admit that I didn't even know the personal pronouns before these 45 days. What else could I do as to improve faster ? I am not after some "rapid" and "short-term" results, but more likely a stable progression. Still, I wil be glad to understand the best ways so as to achieve it with the fastest methodoly. I suppose that since English is not my mother tongue (but still somewhere between C1/C2), but I have invested so much efforts and time to reach some sort of fluency, that could be some advantage because more or less I have developed some sort of discipline when learning a certain language. On the other hand, I haven't learnt English that way (only as an adult) - it started in the childhood and continued gradually, so I am unable to use the same methods here.What's more, some people say that L3 acquisition is not at all the same (especially when you have passed the "critical period"). Yes, I had German at school for two years, but these hours were something like an addition- nodoby remembered or understood anything. So, people, I will appreciate any sort of advice that I might be given in terms of useful sources, websites and etc.

I need fluency in German as well. Let's say that B2 is the minimum level that I am aiming at.Sure, I don't expect to reach the same level as in English, but I need it for professional purposes.The problem here is that I haven't been exposed to German at all (excluding that stupid lessons at school - they were worthless), I don't know how to develop more thoroughly. Is it possible to reach B2 in the next 18 months, let's say, given that I may be characterised as quite a disciplined guy ?

Thanks in advance.

5/1/2018, 9:53:06 PM

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Yes it is possible for you to reach your goal in 18 months. But it depends on you and your ability to remember new things.

5/1/2018, 9:56:50 PM

I recommend doing the tree slowly of the course of some time, but doing some every day. If you do insane and set 50xp daily as your goal then you can go quite quickly through trees but rushing through does not work very well. Also, practice speaking can be very very helpful, so or if you have friends that speak German, they can help too.

5/1/2018, 9:57:34 PM

Thanks for your opinions. I agree that persistent work and efforts are the best way. Here, in my case, the problem is that I don't know or more likely I am not so sure how to "lay the foundations" in German. I wonder whether it will be a good idea to watch movies in German with English subtitles or something, so as to get the word order, at least. The problem with all this is that we are all grown people and have limited time to do this sort of activities, so we need to find the best and most usefil ways to perform them.

I would like you to share your personal experience from similar situations. It will be nice to get an insight into all this. As for friends, no, I don't have German-speaking friends.

5/1/2018, 10:02:49 PM
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Hallo, lieber Balianbel! We seem to have similar experiences; even if I had more years of schooling in German, my foundations were so weak I never could do anything other than "decoding" with much trouble, then I let go completely for (cough) some years, before the regret grew too big, and I met Duolingo. Not English native either.

I'm proof it's possible to learn here, I'm not sure of my level, but I can quite confortably read B2 graded texts. As you can see (my streak is the time I've been on the site), it took me around a year and a half. Six months in, however, I was surprised to find myself capable of basic understanding and communication (mainly written, I should say). I used to work up to five hours a day (average three) on the site as my main source (others at the time were just dictionnaries and grammar sites, plus this fun little vocabulary game, Ba Ba Dum (look top left corner to experiment with the different games)) You may not have this kind of time to spend, but you have a real life classroom, which should be an advantage.

My advice would be not only to work, but to use what you learn, as a way to convince your brain this data is important. Speak all day, even if you have to speak to yourself: nobody will correct your grammar, but you'll have your tongue and throat used to the new sounds. You'll also see clearly where you have to work, when you can't express things you want the way you want them.

If you live alone or with someone who doesn't mind, the odd method of putting post-it notes all over your home and things is indeed efficient, as is turning the interface of your phone, computer, GPS, game device… in German as soon as you feel confident. Your agenda should be German as soon as possible too, and everything you can think of (grocery list, to do list…). Make it bilingual if you're afraid you will miss something important. Someone once suggested on the forum to name things as you walk outside, especially interesting as, on your regular route, you will likely have plenty of things to review everyday (die Bäckerei, die Ampelanlage, der Bürgersteig, der hübsche Hund der blonden Dame, das graue Auto neben dem Postamt…)

I found very useful also to write a sort of diary/log about my learning journey, auf Deutsch natürlich: what did I learn, where and how, what was easy or not, what I felt… Even if it was only one line or two, it was satisfying on multiple levels, a way to wrap up the day, to put things in practice as well as in perspective, and when you inevitably hit a plateau, it's conforting to reread the early struggles, both in content and form. Yeah, look where you've been, look where you are, you will make it!

Then, the golden key is finding a practice partner, a pen-friend, or, in this day and age, a chat-friend, preferably around the same age and level as you, of similar interests (even more important than the age), and willing to practice your mother tongue in exchange for some German training. There are dedicated sites, or you could hunt down a blog with a friendly webmaster, or a Facebook or other page, if you don't mind social media.

Viel Glück, Freund!

Films (or series) are great if you like them, but can be very intimidating. Plus, I would rather watch with German subtitle when available, to make the experience more immersive: the brain is lazy, as it has so much to do, it will always turn to the easiest option, hence reading the subtitles he understands the best instead of listening to the painfully new language. But you immediately see the catch: if you don't know the word or phrasing, you're stuck, and time being, as you said, limited, it's hard to watch a movie time and time again until it all sinks in. Shorter videos seems better in that regard. I personally like songs, as you can listen to them infinite number of time, actively of passively, and the new vocab is easily remembered as it's emotionaly invested. Truth is, those German singers are extremely good! I could give you some starting points, or you just youtube your favorite genre + "Deutsch". Sing Deutsch is also excellent not only to discover artists, but to study as well, as it's designed for learners (you may have to click "comments" to see the lyrics and the worksheet).

5/2/2018, 2:57:45 PM
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