As you may have heard, German is tough to learn. It’s just one of those languages that have so many irregular verbs and obscure exceptions that it’s hard to wrap your head around it all. But there are plenty of other languages like that. The truth is, German isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, there are some tricky parts here and there, but learning German doesn’t have to be an excruciating process if you know what to look out for!
Why learn German
The real question you have to ask yourself is whether or not German will be helpful in your life. If you’re planning on relocating to Germany, then that may be a good enough reason. It’s also worth considering if you have friends, native speakers, or family members who speak German and will help you with learning it. Otherwise, how often do you expect to visit Germany?
How long does it take to learn German?
This is a tricky question to answer. Everyone learns differently, and some can pick up a new language faster than others. However, it generally takes around 100 hours of study time before students have a handle on basic grammar rules.
Common myths about learning German
1. Learning German is easy. It’s a common misperception that, since English and German share a lot of roots, they should be easy to learn together. This isn’t true at all—while one can pick up individual words or phrases pretty quickly, it takes a long time to become fluent in a language. So if you’re looking for an easy language, look elsewhere!
2. Germans are always friendly. While Germans have a reputation for being polite and friendly, you shouldn’t expect your new friends to open their homes to you immediately after meeting them—especially not if you just met them on vacation.
3. The German accent is cute. The truth is, most people outside of Germany find it annoying!
4. You don’t need help from a tutor/teacher/language exchange partner when learning German.
How To Start Learning And Speaking German
Learning a language takes time, and it can indeed be challenging. But with commitment, passion, and patience, you can pick up a new language in no time. To start learning German, you don’t need to take classes or pay for expensive software; all you need is some basic information about getting started speaking a foreign language!
The first step is being consistent with your studies and practicing often. Don’t try to learn everything at once; focus on one skill at a time and practice until you master it before moving on. If you are having trouble getting motivated, try taking small steps like watching movies or listening to music in German. You will learn vocabulary without even realizing it! We recommend you contact our professional translators to get theGerman translation.
Resources and links to help you get started
Rosetta Stone is a fun and effective language-learning system with courses in many languages. It’s generally considered one of the best programs for getting started in a new language. If you’re looking for a print resource,Berlitzis an excellent option, especially their German Phrase Book & Dictionary, which covers essential vocabulary like greetings and basic needs like bathrooms. For listening practice, check out Deutsche Welle.
German grammar is too complex, and the rules are often ambiguous.
German grammar is complex, can get frustrating at times, and will probably take a while to master. Most learners struggle with grammatical cases. So, learning the German language will not be a piece of cake. But once you’ve understood how useful they are, you’ll see why it’s worth the work. German is one of the few languages where pronunciation makes sense.
The following list of English language words contains many common errors in German. An English idiom may relate to a phrase in German, but they literally can be way different. Because English and German belong to the same language family, over 80% of everyday English expressions are also of German origin. It’s not a complete list, but it should give you an idea of what to look out for when reading or writing German. Understanding English grammar can be highly beneficial to understanding German grammar.
For example, the English idiom “piece of cake” refers to something we did with ease and joy. In German, it is “Das schaffe ich mit links,” which in English means “I could do that with my left hand only.” Another reason you might struggle with German is because nouns in German have grammatical gender (feminine, masculine, and neuter).
- Ach! (Oh!) Used to express surprise or dismay.
- Achtung! (Attention) It can mean “be careful” or “lookout!”
- Alles Klar! (Everything okay?) It can also mean “I’m fine.”
- Allein (Alone) A term used to describe someone who lives alone.
- Am Ende (At the end) is Used to indicate the final point of something.
Five reasons why learning German is complex.
Learning a popular language can be hard. It takes time, effort, and patience. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
1. German has more speakers than any other European language. There are over 80 million native German speakers worldwide. That makes it the second most spoken language in Europe (after Russian).
2. German is similar to English. Both languages use the Latin alphabet, so it’s relatively easy to learn the basics.
3. German grammar is simple. Unlike French, Italian or Greek, German does not have irregular verbs.
4. German pronunciation is easy. Most vowels are pronounced similarly to English, and consonants are pretty straightforward.
5. German language is rich in culture. From literature to art, film, and history, Germany offers plenty of material to study.
German is impossible to master, even for native speakers.
Learning a new language is difficult. Especially when we try to learn them in a fast-paced environment, either before or after work or even in the middle of other tasks; however, if you already know English, this may suffice: To begin with, over 40% of German terms have at least one English word with the same meaning. That’s nearly half of all the words you could ever learn! Secondly, English and German stem from the same language family, so approximately 80% of everyday English phrases are of German origin.
Why is German so hard?
The only reason German appears to be so tricky is that it includes grammatical rules that other languages lack. German has a lot of “tone of voice,” which means that the words in a phrase alter depending on their grammatical roles.
Is German worth learning?
While German is tough to learn, it is beneficial to your mental health. Learning a foreign language improves your cognitive capacities and sharpens your thinking, according to scientific research.
Is it better to learn German or Spanish?
German is more complex than Spanish, making the latter more straightforward to master. Even though Spanish is easier to learn than German, the scope of the two languages is what distinguishes them. Germany has several universities that provide world-class education.
What Is The Best Way To Learn the German Language?
The best way to learn German is to start now. You can take advantage of all the free resources available online. Start with Duolingo. It’s one of the most popular apps on smartphones. Duolingo will help you build your vocabulary and improve your listening skills. You’ll learn new phrases every day.
Duolingo is great for beginners. The app is designed to make it easier for anyone to learn a foreign language. You won’t find an app like this one. Duolingo is free, but you can upgrade to a premium membership for $15 per month.
With plenty of straightforward rules, German is not actually as hard to learn as most people think. And since English and German stem from the same language family, you might actually be surprised at the things you pick up without even trying! And on top of it all, it's definitely a useful one, too.Why learning German is so difficult? ›
German has a reputation for being pretty challenging for English speakers. There are many factors that make learning it a difficult task – the grammar, pronunciation, and the numerous verb forms just to name a few. But with enough dedication and practice, anyone can learn to speak this challenging language.Is German the hardest language to learn? ›
Many beginner level language students have the misconception that German is an almost impossible language to learn. Seemingly endless compound words and the concept of noun genders is often enough to scare people off learning German for good. However, German actually isn't nearly as hard to learn as you might think.What is the hardest part about learning German? ›
Learning German Genders Can Be Frustrating
German has three genders, which makes it even more difficult to master. It's probably the reason why the Foreign Service Institute deemed it harder than French, which only has two genders. German has masculine (der), feminine (die), and neutral (das) gender.
But what makes German so hard to learn? The only reason that German seems so difficult to people is that it has grammar rules that other languages don't. German is a language with relatively high “inflection,” meaning that the words in a sentence change based on their grammatical roles.Is it hard for Americans to learn German? ›
With plenty of straightforward rules, German is not actually as hard to learn as most people think. And since English and German stem from the same language family, you might actually be surprised at the things you pick up without even trying! And on top of it all, it's definitely a useful one, too.How long does it take the average person to learn German? ›
German is rated as a category 2 language and considered to be similar to English. The FSI estimates that German takes approximately 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours to learn. This study was conducted on a group of language students who spent 25 hours per week in class, and three hours daily on individual practice.What is the #1 hardest language to learn? ›
Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.What is the number 1 hardest languages to learn? ›
1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons.What is harder Spanish or German? ›
Overall, Spanish might be easier than German at the beginning stages, but the two tend to even out in difficulty once learners get to the more advanced stages. German has more complicated grammar rules that need to be mastered early on, but once learners get familiar with them, they find that they're pretty consistent.
German for Kids: Toddlers (Age 2-5)
Three years is said to be the optimal age to start learning a second language. This is because younger kids are better at mimicking new sounds and learning new pronunciations.
However, in general, we can say that German is generally considered to be an easier language for English speakers to learn than Japanese. This is because German and English share many similarities in terms of grammar and vocabulary.Is it worth it to learn German? ›
German is the most widely spoken native language in Europe
English, French and German are the three official working languages of the European Union. In absolute numbers, German is the second most-spoken language on the continent of Europe. However, when it comes to native speakers, German is number one.
- Declining working population from 2020 onwards, despite immigration.
- Strong dependence on energy imports (95% of the natural gas consumption was imported in 2021, 39% of all German gas imports came from Russia in early 2022)
English Partially Originates In Germanic Languages
About 40% of German and English vocabulary are very similar to each other, which makes German one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. So, basically, if you already know English, it should be a piece of cake for you to learn German.
Around 40,000 people speak the dialect in Pennsylvania alone, and around 400,000 across America. The number is rising since many Amish and Mennonites faith communities who speak Pennsylvania German as their mother tongue traditionally have large families.Is 1 year enough to learn German? ›
Learning a new language can be accomplished in a relatively short time if you are taking individual classes. With three 60-minute courses per week, you might be able to learn German in one to two years. This approach is excellent for people with hectic schedules, even if it is more expensive.Am I too old to learn German? ›
Similar to riding a bike, what children have learned at a young age they will never forget. Are teenagers too old to start learning German? You are never too old to learn something new. Most people actually first start learning foreign languages after childhood, and they show that it certainly can be done.What level of German is fluent? ›
The German language has 6 CEFR levels – starting with A1 (absolute beginner), and ending with C2 (completely fluent).What is the shortest time to learn German? ›
|Assess your current level & test your German online!||Intensive course (20 lessons/week)|
|B2||upper intermediate||10 weeks*|
Depending on the German federal state, level B1 or B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.What is the rarest language to learn? ›
Kawishana is the rarest language in the world.What is the 5 hardest language? ›
1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!Which language has hardest grammar? ›
Hungarian grammar seems like the road to death for an English speaker. Because Hungarian grammar rules are the most difficult to learn, this language has 26 different cases. The suffixes dictate the tense and possession and not the word order. That's is how most of the European languages deal with this problem.What is the 2nd most difficult language to learn? ›
Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.Which language has easiest grammar? ›
- 1) Esperanto. It is the widely-spoken artificial language in the world. ...
- 2) Mandarin Chinese. You did not see this one coming, right? ...
- 3) Malay. ...
- 4) Afrikaans. ...
- 5) French. ...
- 6) Haitian Creole. ...
- 7) Tagalog. ...
- 8) Spanish.
However, in general, Italian is considered to be a more difficult language to learn than German. This is because German is a more phonetic language, with regular spelling and pronounciation, while Italian has more irregular spellings and a more complex grammar.Is French or German more useful? ›
If “useful” is about the sheer number of people you'll be able to converse with, French beats German easily. There are 267 million French speakers in the world, compared to 155 million German speakers. In terms of career opportunities, French and German are both very in-demand as business languages.What is harder French or German? ›
Nitty-gritty things like these can make getting started a bit of a challenge – but between the two, French will be a little easier, with (slightly) fewer endings to learn. That said, experts largely agree that the more German you learn, the easier it gets, while French gets more complicated the deeper you dive in.
And structural plasticity is when your brain changes its structure due to learning. It's strongly believed that once we hit 25, the brain's plasticity solidifies. This makes it harder to create neural pathways. In turn, this can mean it's tougher to learn new skills.Can I learn German at age 35? ›
German appears to be a language that can be learned at any age. You may be unable to learn German without an accent. However, with sufficient effort, you can improve your communication and conceptual expression skills.Is Duolingo actually effective? ›
Good for Practice, Not Always for Learning
Even with some of the well-developed courses, Duolingo may not be enough to completely teach a language to fluency. As mentioned earlier, Duolingo is great for getting a base in a language—but don't expect to get to advanced fluency on Duolingo alone.
Russian and German Language Prevalence
This is likely because German is a difficult language to learn, and many people are not willing to put in the effort. Russian, on the other hand, is a relatively easy language to learn, which has contributed to its popularity.
“German was very easy compared to Mandarin,” English said. One of the issues was the large number of characters in Chinese. The other was the way Chinese speakers used tone to indicate the meaning of words. “They have far fewer sounds.What is easier to learn German or Chinese? ›
There is a common misconception that German is a difficult language to learn. If you research online 'Most Difficult Languages to Learn', you will find German is typically not even in the top 10 and always falls behind Russian, Chinese, Polish, and Greek in terms of difficulty.What is the German diet? ›
Whilst there are regional variations in food culture, most German recipes focus heavily on bread, potatoes, and meat, especially pork, as well as plenty of greens such as types of cabbage and kale. Cake, coffee, and beer are all highly popular elements of German cuisine too - which will be good news to most!Why would people learn German? ›
The global career: Knowledge of German increases your job opportunities with German and foreign companies in your own country and abroad. Tourism and hospitality industry: Tourists from German-speaking countries travel wide and far, and are the world's biggest spenders when on holiday.What are the positives of German language? ›
German is the language of Goethe & the official language of 42 countries spoken by over 100 million people. Learning German can provide you with many benefits such as increased job prospects, enhanced communication skills, and a deeper understanding of international affairs.What is the main problem that Germany is facing until nowadays? ›
The main concern is that sovereign debt has continued to rise in many states. According to the Institute of International Finance , global debt reached $305 trillion (€290 trillion), this summer. For comparison: Germany's federal budget for 2023 is €476 billion.
The top three were: language barrier, finding accommodation and dealing with German bureaucracy. Other challenges included finding new friends, opening a current account, and experiencing cultural differences.What country wanted to keep Germany weak? ›
The Yalta Conference 1945
The leaders of the USA, USSR and Britain had met at Yalta in February 1945 to discuss what action would be taken after World War Two. Stalin wanted Germany to stay weak.
In particular, Swiss German, which is spoken in northern Switzerland and extreme Southwest Germany, can be phenomenally difficult to understand. Many say it's akin to an American listening to an extreme Scottish accent; it can almost sound like another language entirely.What is more difficult Dutch or German? ›
It's also the official language of several countries, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Both Dutch and German have their challenges, but Dutch is generally considered easier to learn than German.Which is harder Swedish or German? ›
Is Swedish or German harder to learn? If you're an English speaker, it's much easier for you to learn how to speak in Swedish compared to German. The main two reasons are that German consists of three genders and has four cases.What makes German hard to learn? ›
German has a reputation for being pretty challenging for English speakers. There are many factors that make learning it a difficult task – the grammar, pronunciation, and the numerous verb forms just to name a few. But with enough dedication and practice, anyone can learn to speak this challenging language.What is hi in Germany? ›
The most common way of saying “hello” in German is “Hallo”. This is a casual greeting. You should only use it when greeting friends and family: Hello = Hallo.What percent of Germans understand English? ›
What is a percent of the German population speaks English fluently? According to recent statistics, about 56% of the German population speaks English. It is also ranked 10th in the countries that speak English. If you ask me, Germany is much more rigorously schooled in English.Is it easier to learn French or German? ›
French tends to be easier for beginners, though it gets harder as you get into its intermediate and advanced layers. German has a tougher on-ramp for beginners, but gets easier as you go along.How many hours does it take to be fluent in German? ›
So, how long do you need to learn German if you want to reach this level of fluency? According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), you'll need about 750 hours of study to become fluent in German. This means that if you study 12-15 hours a week, you'll be able to speak like a pro in just a year!
However, in general, we can say that German is generally considered to be an easier language for English speakers to learn than Japanese. This is because German and English share many similarities in terms of grammar and vocabulary.What percentage of Germans are fluent in English? ›
According to the statistical data, there are more than 45,400,000 people in Germany who speaks English on a daily basis. What percent of Germany speaks English? Over 56% of the population in Germany speaks English.How many months does it take to learn German? ›
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) estimates that learning German will take about 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours, as it is rated as a category two language similar to English.Which language is most spoken in world? ›
1. Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers. Numbers vary widely — Ethnologue puts the number of native speakers at 1.3 billion native speakers, roughly 900 million of whom speak Mandarin — but there's no doubt it's the most spoken language in the world.Which languages are worth learning? ›
- Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
- German. ...
- Arabic. ...
- Mandarin. ...
- Portuguese. ...
- Russian. ...