https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I'm dying here

Sorry ladies and gentlemen of Duolingo, I'm back again but my attitude is increasingly negative. I'm stuck in a rut, I've been here 4 months and some days I can't manage to say a sentence in German. I was told that 3 months into being immersed in a language many people are fluent, this, being either factual or false, is bringing me down. I've been here for so long, my grammar is non existent and I don't feel like I get better every day. A baby in the first year of it's life grows REALLY quickly, as you get older it slows down. It seems to be the same with my German, That first 2 months where a steep learning curve, now I can go over a week without learning a new word. I need some advice, I need a pen pal, but mostly I need support from you Duolingoers. I'm so happy to have you guys as a community, to vent to, to speak German to and to just get me when everybody here doesn't. I hope some of you get how frustrated I am!

November 21, 2014

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spideoigin

Hey, it took you years to utter your first words in your mother tongue. Years. You have been doing German for 3 months. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Maybe go back and do the basics again. Focus less on fluency and more on your confidence with what you DO know. Sometimes trying to progress very quickly can make you blind to what you actually do know. Fluency comes with practice, confidence and a good foundation with the basics.

I don't think that was very helpful, but just know you aren't alone, learning a new language is tough. Feel good that you are trying and when you feel like giving up, decide to try just a little harder instead. Alternatively, take a break. Look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

This was really helpful! Thank you!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spideoigin

Any time. I'll be in the "fully immersed" situation you are in next year; I'll be moving to Germany for at least 6 months... I am nervous, to say the least!

You say you don't have many English friends where you are. Well, with the Internet you have all of us! ;)

If you are only speaking German at work, I would guess that you are being very hard on yourself altogether. You obviously have enough German to have gotten the job in the first place, and you are coping day-to-day. Why not ask your colleagues if they notice anything you are particularly bad at verbalising? Be ready for some honest feedback and don't get upset. Take it all as constructive. I find all of the Germans I work with very helpful and eager to share their knowledge of their language.

Remember, on a daily basis you are probably using the same vocabulary over and over. That may seem to you like you aren't progressing, but it would be the same in an English speaking job. You are just more conscious of it in another language and feel like you are repeating the same phrases because you don't know anything else, as opposed to the situation calls for the same phrases you used yesterday.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

This was really helpful and encouraging thank you! Germans are also rather honest!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spideoigin

Yeah, but it is wonderfully refreshing, as opposed to disheartening! My boyfriend thinks I've gone German-crazy since I returned from my work placement a few months ago!

If you ever need to chat, just message me. I probably can't do much more than send a few encouraging words, but sometimes that's all you need after a terrible day...

Best of luck with it!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davidvdb

After 3 months you just can't be fluent! It will take a lot of time, but it will be worth it ;)

And "immersed" means you would only be able to speak German for 3 months, as in moving to Germany or Austria :p

Practice makes perfect!
November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I do live and work in Germany. My work environment is German, I'm only meant to speak German! Crazy huh!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rocko2012

I would call C2 level fluent and estimates are 1200 hours of study to reach that level. There are 2200 hours in 3 months. That leaves you a good 1000 to sleep, eat and bathed but you would be pretty much focused studying all day long (13 hours) everyday till your eyes bleed. That is totally unrealistic for most people.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

This is an amazing thing to read. Thank you

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frosch0066

Hi there, don't be too hard on yourself and try to relax a little. I think it's quite normal to hit a wall at some stage where you feel you are making no progress. Just try to persevere without putting too much pressure on yourself. Also, I don't believe there are set rules on how much progress one should have made after a given time. It really depends on the individual. To build on your vocabulary I would suggest reading but without using an English-German dictionary. Try to guess words from the context, or if you really need to look it up, use the German only dictionary (Duden). Read something you actually like, a crime novel or glossy magazines. Try to think in German, like in everyday situations such as "Ich werde mir einen Kaffee machen" or try to imagine conversations in German. And also make sure to do the things you really enjoy beside language learning. Kopf hoch! Alles wird gut...

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

Vielen Dank! Ja, Ich habe nicht so viel bis jetzt gelesen weil mein Grammatik ist total schlecht. Aber das macht sin! Danke :)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jothirams

In Nebensätzen stehen die Verben am Ende. z.B. Ich habe nicht so viel gelesen, weil mein Grammatik schlecht ist. - Notice the 'ist' is at the end. Learn the nebensatz, it will help in kick starting your first communication

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

Sorry to take up so much space here, just hope to help. If you can't take a class buy a grammar book. Hueber is a top publisher and you can find their books easily in Germany I am sure. You can work through them level by level. A LOT happens at the B1-B2 level to smooth out your tenses and word order issues. You just gotta train it piece by piece. I'd be very impressed if you could learn German without a class. I KNOW i could not have! (And I'm pretty damn educated/taught at a university!)

Here are some great tips: http://www.quora.com/German-language/How-should-I-study-for-the-Goethe-Instituts-B2-Zertifikat-exam

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I love that's you're taking up the space here :D Naja, mein Deutsch passt in dem alltag! Es ist richtig stressig weil jeden tag ich muss mit mein team Deutsch eden, wenn wir ein Konferenz haben (wirklich oft!) ich muss mit mein ganzes organization Deutsch reden. Ich kann Deutsch sprechen, aber es ist gany einfach Deutsch mit schlechte Grammatik, deswegen habe ich kein Konfidenz dafür!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

Ich verstehe! Manchmal mein Deutsch ist nur ein Wortsalat! ;)

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chilvence

I am going to be deadly serious here, but trust me: learn the music. Listen to it all day long, and learn every single line of every single song you hear, until you can sing in time and in tune without stumbling. Music is the lifeblood of any language. It is the best exercise you can possibly imagine, It blows every other kind of training out of the water. No It won't teach you everything, but it will give you such reserves of strength and confidence that you won't care about how frustrated you were before. God how I wish this advice was given to me when I was younger, I hope you take it on board :)

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

If you are just using this site you aren't "immersed" in the language. You only learn at those speeds if you put in hours and hours of study a day doing reading, writing, listening, and speaking - and homework! (And being tested on all of those skills)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frosch0066

From one of her previous posts I gather the OP is actually living and working in Germany.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

Ah, I see. I live in a German speaking area and I can tell you it is quite easy to almost never use German. I also have a built-in translator (my partner). If you wanna learn German in this environment you have to push yourself and use it. I watch a heck of a lot of German t.v., and read, and speak when I can. (And they are beating Konjunktiv I & II into me.) It'll take a lot time and work. That's all there is to it. :)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

Hehe we posted at the same time. Yes, you are right I live in Germany :)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I actually live and work in Germany. My work environment is German, I don't have a single English friend here. This is why I'm worried. I'm VERY immersed.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ameliablue

Don't push yourself too hard. Follow me. I'll help you as much as I can, although German isn't my language. (I'm attempting to learn it...so far a FAIL...lol) If I listen to a Spanish CD in my sleep, in the morning i wont remember a thing, but if I keep playing the CD in my sleep, I begin to learn. The mind is a strange object. It also depends on whether you like the language or not. My family is completely different...my sister does French, I do Spanish, my cousin does Vietnamese, and my Aunt does Hindu. Together we speak to eachother, helping eachother learn the languages. Speak to someone in your language. Begin from the basics. I had to start over, as well. I know your frustration. I'm here if you want to talk to me. You're not alone....:)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

Thank you! I'll be following you (Totally not creepy right?)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SIRWLT

I've became fluent in Pontugues in six months, but i moved to portugal And i atended school here só there Is a big diference. So i was bombarded on as daily bassis with the language not only on the street but in the classroom aswell. For my parents was more dificult since They Did not Had the same interaction with the language that ive had. My Father after 10 years still cant speak perfectly Portuguese and still has a very strong accent. Só i think you should not worry too much about it, let ir run Its course Eventually you will get fluent. :) The most important IS to Have fun.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

The only thing that is different is that you would have had Portuguese lessons, right? I actually work in a school in Germany, but without lessons I'm struggling I think... I don't know. Thank you for your encouragement, you're very right with the fun part. Learning German is part of my job, sometimes I forget fun should be factored in!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

You aren't in school for it? Oh, ya gotta go if you can afford it and want to speed this all up! It is much more affordable in Germany than it is here in Switzerland. I would LOVE to go to school there! Go! :)

Short of that there are some great grammar videos that can help you a lot. Check out "German for Spalding" http://www.germanforspalding.org/id55.html

and "Hammer Grammar" http://youtu.be/9oy6VbEzDqA videos on Youtube.

Oh, and there is a teacher in the US, in Texas, who is from Germany...she puts up pretty good Grammar videos too. Here ya go: http://youtu.be/p0lKH8IBjv4

Fun? Have you seen German soaps on DasErste? http://www.daserste.de/unterhaltung/soaps-telenovelas/sturm-der-liebe/index.html

http://www.daserste.de/unterhaltung/soaps-telenovelas/rote-rosen/index.html

You will get a kick out of them and pick up some interesting insight into Germany. Watch them and then let's chat! ;)

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I don't have the time to go to school :( I work at school :P Ooooo, good advice! I'll check this stuff out!

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

If you watch these shows we can chat about them on our streams. I am dying to find anyone to watch these shows with me! :) They have very old episodes on Youtube. They are really well done. At the least just watch one and enjoy! They have subtitles. Oh, and if you just need a short break look at their travel shows! There is one under the letter "L" titled "Lust auf..." and you can learn your travel vocab and see beautiful scenic places Germans like to travel to. (Edit: looks like they might not have it up anymore. There is one just about Germany itself though...) Oh, and if you watch those soaps they have great interludes between the scenes that show gorgeous German scenery! :) Especially the one set in the Bavarian region.

And these will help you with grammar:

DeutschAkademie: http://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/fragethema.php

and MeinDeutschBuch: http://www.mein-deutschbuch.de/index.php?site=home

German for English Speakers: http://germanforenglishspeakers.com

Deutschlingolia: https://deutsch.lingolia.com/en/

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antspants01

Looks like you beat me to it with the hammer grammar link :p

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Athenicuber

I've been on here almost a year. I am only about 2/5 through the tree.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1
November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregfromOZ

The biggest thing that hold most people back is fear. Being worried about saying the wrong thing can lead to saying nothing at all. At level 13 you know more than you realize - so you just need to bight the bullet and start talking to the locals. Do that everyday and see where you end up. Make lots of mistakes and laugh about them. Get away from English. Don't grab any life lines they throw out you - just say - Ich spreche nor Deutsch. Even on duolingo - say it in Deutsch. Wir allen wollen, das Sie es machen! Viel Spaß!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antspants01

I had teething problems in the first few months of learning German too and the exact same worries. I compared it to my Chinese and would get depressed because at least German uses the Latin alphabet. You just have to persevere and get over your hump with practice. If you haven't bought any resources then perhaps it's time to pick up a dictionary, phrasebook, a few grammar guides and then some of the more fun stuff like music.

Hammer Grammar (already mentioned but I credit it with giving me more confidence).

Practice Makes Perfect Complete German Grammar, a book with explanations and then exercises and doesn't get too wordy: https://booko.com.au/9780071763608/Practice-Makes-Perfect-Complete-German-Grammar

Lonely Planet phrasebook: https://booko.com.au/9781742208107/German-Phrasebook

Collins Comprehensive Unabridged dictionary app: Hopefully you have an iPhone... If you do, then it's useful if you decide to go to classes and much faster and accurate than consulting other sites or just hoping with Google Translate. This app even has verb conjugations for every verb and other useful features.

Dict.cc http://www.dict.cc/ is fantastic for more informal german words and phrases. There have been many times this site has been even more useful than my expensive Collins dictionary and has found certain words or phrases that my paid dictionary hasn't. Bookmark it!

About.com http://german.about.com/library/blgrammatik.htm is good for certain grammar articles.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

THANK YOU KIND PERSON!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dancremer

I'm also living and working in Germany in the Stuttgart region, for about a year now. I've been using Duolingo off and on to help me get the basics, and started speaking confidently only within the last month or so. It is still not even close to perfect and my feeling about German is so up and down given the day. Somedays I'm proud of far I've come, others I feel so far away from the goal. But, it takes patience and hardwork. My colleagues are very happy that I actually try at all and are so happy that we are finally able to talk about many things in German. I'd say after 1 year I'm not even to B2 yet, but a very solid B1. I still haven't finished my Tree in Duolingo because I refuse to go forward until I can keep my whole tree gold using only the timer without looking.

If you are in the Stuttgart region, my wife and I are here and both native English speakers from the US.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

I'm not too far from Stuttgart, I live near Würzburg. I really appreciate your comment and it seems you're doing very well! I will do a test soon and find out where I am :)

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BettinaKa

Ich gebe Dir direkt mal eine Gelegenheit, Deutsch zu praktizieren und schreibe in meiner Muttersprache. :-)

Gibt es eine Konversationsgruppe auf Duolingo? Oder ein deutschsprachiges Forum über ein Thema, das Dich interessiert? Ich habe mein Englisch dadurch verbessert, dass ich sehr viel auf einem englischsprachigen Forum (rateyourmusic.com) geschrieben habe und viele Interviews auf Englisch gelesen oder bei Youtube geschaut habe. Und ich gucke englische Filme immer im Original mit englischen Untertiteln. Daher meine Empfehlung: suche Dir eine Gelegenheit zum "plaudern" oder lies und schreibe viel Alltagssprache. Es gibt tolle Foren zu vielen Themen (Haustiere, Hobbies, Frauen-Themen, Männer-Themen) und deutsche Untertitel unter Filmen und Serien sind fast immer als "Untertitel für Schwerhörige" im Fernsehen verfügbar.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

Alle ganz gute ideen. Ich kenne die Deutsche Forums nicht, aber das ist ein echt gutes idee! Ja ich finde das ich lese und verstehe oder hören und vertehe aber zum reden oder schrieben, das finde ich schwerig weil satzbau ist komisch in Deutsch!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jfernatt

There are many great and detailed posts below but I'll just add once again that you will get through your if you stick with it!

You will reach these plateaus from time to time and it will feel like you're not going anywhere or you're sliding back but, all of the sudden a construct you were struggling will be come clear with or you'll realize you can use vocabulary you didn't know you could.

Just make sure you keep fighting through it. It will pay off.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

Thank you!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/foalan2

I am sure you can do it! Anyhow, that baby isn't learning a language other than her/his/his/her native language, so no comparisons allowed! Another thing: fluency is based on confidence (with credit to spideoigin and probably some others below, since they helped put the idea into words for me, allowing me to make my own words...kinda), so get confident in what you know and then take another step forward!

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/assaulttrooper35

That is how it is with any language. you just need to keep trying and don't give up. Learning a language is different for everybody. It also depends on the language and you mind set about it. Just stay positive and keep chipping away at it.

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JesusCube

Don't worry. Just keep at it. I've been at this about 8 or 9 months now, including using outside workbooks, etc. Sometimes you just hit a wall and think it's already on a plateau before it's even begun, that it's all hopeless and easier to just give in. At those times, I usually find it motivating to go back to the easier stuff, flashcards, sentences, whatever, and blaze through them. It's a good confidence boost and will remind you how much you have actually learned, while further cementing what you've acquired. It may have seemed that your progress has slowed, but really it just means you're into the more complex aspects of language, which are obviously harder and going to take more time to add to your reflex memory. I promise that before long, you'll find your rhythm again. Just say, "It's taken me ___ years to get to this point in my English development and I still don't know everything about it yet either, so it's going to take a while to add another language on top." Don't give up!

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schmatte

HEY !! HANG IN THERE! CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK!! YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY INTELLIGENT AND MOTIVATED OR WYOU WOULDN"T BE LEARNING A LANGUAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE. HAVE SOME LINGOTS.

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

You are a cool person. Thank you :D

November 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

Some years ago I lived in Berlin with a German family. I had studied 4 years of German in high school and in college. I had a great desire to speak fluent German. Because I didn't know any Americans, I spoke German all day long but I still made mistakes. The Germans I met were all very helpful and would politely correct me when I'd make mistakes.. Before I realized it I was thinking in German. You have the great advantage of living in Germany. Meet as many Germans as you possibly can and let them correct your mistakes! Trust me, they will be happy to help you. Alles gutes!

November 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GingerAR

Hey, Good for you for being to able live and work in Germany. That's what I hope to do in the next few years (once I finish my degree). Just wondering, did you learn German before you moved or did you just give it shot while there? I have been studying German pretty routinely for a while now. My goal is 2 hours each day. Some days I do more if I am feeling really good. But it's important to remember that any one person can only concentrate and take in new material effectively (meaning it can be recalled later) for no longer than 2 hours at a time. This is why most lectures are either no longer than 2 hours or have a break halfway if more. So this means when I am feeling off I just tell myself I will only do half an hour to an hour and I find that works because I'll actually concentrate because I am doing less. But don't be too dissappointed if you have a day or two where you don't learn anything new because sometimes when you try to learn when your not interested you won't actually be able to recall it later and just have to do the lesson over again. I don't know if that was helpful. I just find that if I think of my learning that I am able to keep motivated even when I have days when I don't want or don't do anything.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllieJaneHart95

So I used Duolingo on and off for 7 months before I went to Germany, only in the last 2 of those months did I decide to come here and thus study seriously. In any case my German didn't kick in much till I got here. I got off my 21 hour bus/ferry/train journey from England to Germany and went straight to a conference. I knew lots of people there who where with the organisation with me last year in England, people still wanted constant German from me. I didn't talk much, and I'm a talkative person! I understood amazing amounts of what I heard but I couldn't get a sentence out of my mouth. It's a new brain process. Please come to this country! You will love it, just remember that understand and speaking are like the speed of light and the speed of sound. You understand very quickly, your taking is a little bit further behind!

Since I got here I've spoken SO MUCH ENGLISH and every day I tell myself off about it a bit, but I've also spoken German and that's pretty cool.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GingerAR

I went to Berlin and Manheim a while back now and I learnt a little before I went but I was confident enough to use it especially when I was in the main parts of Berlin where they spoke English and where I stayed (just outside of Berlin) even though they didn't speak English I managed to survive through pointing and hand signals and a little broken English from them. And then in Manheim I was with a friend who could translate. So next time I hope to be more prepared and confident enough to try. But yes, I know completely that you can read and listen understand a lot more before you can speak. Thanks for the reply :)

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kimolei

Hi, we've all been there! Plateauing and frustration are natural parts of language learning. A friend shared a useful image with me recently: Think of language learning as putting ice cream in a very wide ice cream cone. It doesn't take very much ice cream to fill up the bottom of the cone - it's easy to learn a few words and grammar points. As you keep filling up the cone, though, it takes more and more ice cream, more effort, and more layers to reach each level. Language is the same way. As you go to higher levels, you have to put in more time, more practice, and add more vocabulary and grammar to reach the next level. It is even more frustrating because we expect to be making quicker progress as we advance. It just doesn't happen that way.

I would also note that it often feels like I am not filling up a cone. It feels like I am filling up a funnel with water running out the other end as quickly as I can add it to the top!

Good luck!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Booly88

i love your funnel analogy!!!! Fabulous

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ruthlilycat

I've been here since the beginning of Duo, I'm an early adopter/possibly beta user before that for years I was on Rosetta Stone. With German. And I'm down on the tree but still, I can't speak German nor understand it, really, if I hear it. And I love learning it. Some people just have to be patient. And I've been to Deutschland zwei zeiten. I felt that if I was IN Germany for a month that I would be able to start speaking it, otherwise, GL. At least that is my experience. Other people can do this in no time flat. Not me.

Sorry, I see that you're living and working in Deutschland. Keep talking to people. Keep reading and listening to German. GL :)

November 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

In German the rule is EXPRESSIONS OF TIME BEFORE EXPRESSIONS OF PLACE. Also man sagt : ich bin zweimal nach Deutschland gewesen. Man sagt nicht "zwei Zeiten" as that might indicate two periods of time. If you are currently living in Germany you have the great advantage of mingling with Germans who speak no English. Trust me on this, they will be your best teachers. Don't be afraid of making mistakes! That's the only way we learn.

November 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ruthlilycat

Raisin I'm not living in Germany, I've been to German two different times. The OP is living in Deutschland now.

November 27, 2014
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