Learning a new language

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2007
Learning a new language
6
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 3:10pm

So Dh and I are moving to Germany in 4 months or so, and in the meantime we want to learn as much German as possible so that it will be easier for us to transition and enjoy living over there and stuff.

So if you're fluent in a second language, how long did it take you to get fluent? How much time did you spend each day/week/whatever working on that language? Aside from immersion, what methods did you find worked the best? Do you reccommend focusing on grammar and rules, or vocabulary, or something else?

Right now I'm using Babbel.com, and I really like it, it tracks your vocabulary words as you learn them, and teaches you grammar rules and stuff. I'm trying to spend a few hours a day, but since I don't really use the stuff I'm learning right now, I'm not sure how effective it is. Anyway I would love any thoughts anyone might have!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 5:17pm
Don't have very much time but IMO the most important thing is listening to the language and practicing speaking. The grammer will come in time with practice but if you aren't willing to speak the language you won't ever get better.

I would rent German learning videos from the library (we watched some really cheesy ones in school :)) and look to see if there is some sort of German language hour at a bookstore or cafe to practice speaking as you progress a bit.

I would try not to get too caught up on any one part as you are more likely to stick with it if it is halfway enjoyable for you- and don't worry about James and David at all, as it takes kids what feels like 5 minutes to catch on to a new language in comparison to adults :)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 8:51pm
I second what Ash said. I started to learn Turkish when I met DH almost 10 years ago and had a really hard time with all the grammar rules. When we were in Turkey this summer, I was alone with his non-English speaking relatives at time and found that I could get by with what I knew, even if it wasn't in the right tense, etc. Immersion always helps me. I seem to pick it up again whenever we visit there or if we're with company that doesn't speak English. And the kids will pick it up in no time. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 9:02pm
Forgot to add that I took classes, listened to books on tape, and tried Rosetta Stone but still found immersion to be the fastest way to learn.

You might also want to check if your local community college or high school offer classes for adults.

Which city are you moving to? When I lived in Lithuania, I found that the younger generation usually knew more English so I always approached them for help. :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-30-2007
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 9:19pm

I just want to reiterate what has been said. Immersion is the best method, but until then see what you can find at the library or even online to listen to and hear the language asmuch as you can before getting there. We used to listen to podcasts quite often in college and if I can find the sites, I will relay them to you. I learned both spanish and german as a child, so I don't remember learning it any different than english. I also suggest watching some of the shows you might already be familiar with in German once you get there. It used to be that the sitcoms where a few seasons behind here and you could pick out common phrases etc as you already know what it going on. My best advice is to use the language as often as you can once there. People are much more receptive if you are trying to speak the language no matter how bad you think you are at it than if you just speak english. Find a good phrase book that you can carry with you for a while.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2007
Thu, 09-22-2011 - 12:51pm

I'm actually learning German right now using Rosetta Stone.

<*KATJA*> My Ovulation Chart
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Thu, 09-22-2011 - 1:16pm

Well, Grace, I have two very different experiences with languages, I can speak English fluently (although I suppose my accent is horrible), and I can survive with Italian.

ITALIAN:

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