This is what it looks like to learn a language in one year
The Lernen to Talk Show: How one American learnt German in 47 weekly episodes
Mickey Mangan made a show of his experience a few years ago about the time spent learning German as fast as he could in less than a year.
Each episode is quite short (3-5-7 minutes), but showed him putting himself into all sorts of language trouble from day one of knowing little to nothing of German to conversational fluency after 47 weekly episodes.
He met quite a few interesting characters along the way...
A video summary in his own words, with the same title as this thread (*):
(*) Sorry, I don't know how to make an image clickable.
I just came across these videos myself. Mickey's videos are fun and they introduced me to some new German words and phrases. I have lived in Germany now for the past 3 months. Without fail, I study a minimum of 20 hours per week (living and speaking with my partner who is German in German every day, attending language classes 5 days per week and 3 hours per day, reading German books, and using around a dozen different apps and German learning websites.
Doing all this religiously for the past 3 months, I can tell you I am still quite far from reaching fluency (by "fluency" I mean understanding everything spoken to me and being able to reply with confidence, normal speed, and few errors on a large amount of topics). I would say I'm relatively talented when it comes to learning new things, but I definitely struggle everyday with German.
One thing I'm learning though is that making TONS of mistakes is a great way to learn. Germans usually understand me because they can sense my effort and look past all the grammatical errors I make when I speak. And my boyfriend corrects every single mistake I make, which is frustrating sometimes but also great! I think my German accent is so much better because of this. Having now had the experience of moving to Germany and seriously attempting to learn the language, I estimate it will take roughly 1 full year until I can hold a more sophisticated conversation in German. But that's considering I keep up my 20 hrs of studying/practicing each week. People often think they know more than they actually do. The best test is to speak out loud in German to yourself (not memorised phrases, but actually translate the thoughts in your head in your day to day life). How much comes out, and how accurate is it? That is the true test.
For me personally, I understand more and more of what I hear and read every day. It's much more difficult however to pull the words from my memory bank on the spot. The speaking part is REALLY difficult for me though. But I suppose all learners are different. I write and read German much better than I speak it, whereas I've made friends in class who speak quite well but their writing skills are not good at all.
But I digress--I really like Duolingo. It's helped me a lot with spelling and comprehension. It's a great supplement to the other forms of practice I actively pursue. A question for all you reading this out there--how do you all feel about your ability to speak German out loud? And how long have you been practising?
Guten Abend, Lance. Congratulations on your discipline and dedication -- you certainly are on your way to great, lasting results! Thank you for the interesting questions about learning German. In my opinion, there is a difference between being fluent in a language and being a native speaker of that language. While I agree that we can all become fluent (depending on our natural abilities and the time we devote to the task), i.e. become able to discuss a wide range of topics in a spontaneous and effortless way, I don't think aspiring to become as proficient as a native speaker is realistic. Being a native speaker of any language involves skills that go beyond mere linguistics, such as not having even a trace of a foreign accent (almost impossible if the new language is learnt after 5 years of age) a solid knowledge of the local culture/history/geography, being able to recognize all the different local accents, understanding the local sense of humour and jargon, being familiar with the local social conventions, foods, music and rhythms, etc. etc. Brief, we all have one native tongue, which we may continue cultivating and expanding the rest of our lives, and then there are other foreign languages which we can learn to use with varying degrees of fluency. All this to say that you should persevere with your German at your own pace. One year to fluency seems realistic, specially since after we reach a certain degree of "mastery" of any new skill, the brain needs some time for the new knowledge to "settle" and become "second nature". Besides, in learning languages, the learning process is to be enjoyed, not rushed. All the best, and keep up the good work! Hope you have tons of wonderful experiences in Germany.
Thanks so much for your positive comments! I'm learning to take it a bit easier and not try to rush it. I can be an impatient learner sometimes, but it's only because I'm filled with enthusiasm. When my boyfriend's friends come over and they talk excitedly about politics, for instance, I want so badly to join in. Sometimes I do, and what I say probably sounds ridiculous... but hey! At least I am trying.
I am so happy for you, Lance! Having a boyfriend and a social circle of native speakers will do wonders indeed!. I would like to share some observations that hopefully will be of some consolation at this stage of your learning process: (a) speaking about politics is hard, even in our mother tongue; (b) speaking about politics, religion, money or sexual/gender issues can end up in major confrontations!; (c) being forced to think before we speak (as happens when we are learning a language) is something to be cherished; (d) joining in a conversation without fear of ridicule is a sure path to fluency :) Again, all the best. Enjoy your cultural journey in that phenomenal country!
Dont feel dump if you notice he was already speaking German on day 1. When someone claims that he went to Germany without having any knowledge of German and then I see him talking in German for 5 min then I call ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤...!!
Yeah but it was super sucky German at first. He was like mega failing. He did know some though, fosho.
Hey, y'all are like that idols/motivators to me!!!!!! Very awesome. I see after my post that he had some sort of scholarship/stipend from school and eventually worked limiting him to 400 euro a month or something. For the whole trip he had only $5000 usd total so I guess he depended on friends/host family a lot in the beginning or he didn't like to eat that much lol.
Tolle Videos! Ich habe mir einige angeschaut und bin erstaunt wie gut du mittlerweile sprichst. Es ist sehr hilfreich, dich in meiner Muttersprache hören zu können, und gleichzeitig die englischen Untertitel zu lesen. Das bringt mich beim Lernen der englischen Sprache weiter, und macht außerdem noch Spaß. Also von mir an dieser Stelle ein dickes Lob und vielen vielen Dank dafür. LG Andrea Schmidt
Wow. Cool Yototas!! Now I know there's no hope for me lol!! It would be awesome to have the time and money to study 10-12 hours a day, every day without having to do anything else (like eat, sleep, work) Previous exposure to language and /or languages? I am fascinated. Thanks (haahaha you'll have me use up my internet watching episodes tee hee) PS seems like he's relatively youngish like late 20s? PPS Not to mention - HAVING the $$$ and freedom to pick up and move to Germany. Wow. Fantasy time.
Hey, this looks great! I can't wait to watch all these episodes...thanks for posting this! Have some lingots, plus a few extra for that absolutely adorable bunny on your avatar picture too. :D
total immersion, I have heard, is always a better way to learn a new language. This video is nice because it shows me that it is ok to absolutely slaughter the language during the process. Reading and writing is hard enough, but vocalizing it is on a whole different level. Hopefully all of us will get a chance to use our skills like this fellow did. Wir werden nicht aufgeben.
Hey True that! I went and found a talk this guy did back in his hometown about the process of learning then the series. He actually has an extensive history with languages. Middle school and HS Spanish. Found he knew it and was gifted in it, but had no ability to converse so he went to Chile and did immersion. After that, he taught kids at an immersion school. I don't know if knowing Spanish helped his German any, but since immersion helped his Spanish, I guess that's what he decided would help him learn German most efficiently and best. He had previously dropped German after 4 weeks in college due to overload with his other classes, but then studied on his own. Looks like he also had some very patient conversation partners.
Interesting! I thought he said he studied for 4 weeks previously. 4 months is quite some time! I think it's a little misleading that he calls himself a beginner. The harm in this is that it creates unrealistic expectations for others. Aside from that, it's a cool project and I respect his commitment to make a new video every single week of his journey.
Oops! I apologize. I think I was calculating the weeks in class and the time spent learning on his own. For some reason,I thought it was in some talk he gave? Here is the link for the talk on his journey (it's really short):
I will correct my original post. Maybe in one Utube video, idk- a Brain dysfunction on my part. He does talk about his Spanish fluency and the fact that he already knew a language. I still believe he's got a good ear (he's a musician too) and slightly above average in picking up languages.