When people find out that I teach German, they often ask me questions about it. As the same questions keep on appearing, here are the top 5 questions and my answers:

 

  1.  How long does it take to learn German?
  2.  I’ve got some ‘teach yourself’ books in the attic? Should I get them down? I wouldn’t need lessons, then!
  3.  So, what is the best way to learn German?
  4.  Should I do homework?
  5.  Are there any good websites to learn German?

How long does it take to learn German?
That questions can be answered the same way as the ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. A lot depends on how much time and effort you can invest in learning and how quickly you pick it up. However, the Goethe-Institut has quite nicely worked out a rough guide. For the equivalent to a higher GCSE level you would need between 260 and 490 hours if you want to be able to use your German confidently.
Of course, if you just want to learn enough to get by while on holidays in Germany, Austria or Switzerland you can do this a lot quicker.

I’ve got some ‘teach yourself’ books in the attic? Should I get them down? I wouldn’t need lessons, then!
Again, that depends on the individual person, but so far I have only come across one person who has managed to teach himself good German. The majority of people buy these books, look at them once, put them away, then look at them again, when they realise they haven’t done anything – this is usually about a few years later! Trust me, I speak from experience, my ‘Teach Yourself French’ book is still in the attic 😉

So, what is the best way to learn German?
By all means, do use your ‘teach yourself’ books but if it is at all possible, have some lessons, ideally with a group. You’ll get the discipline to attend the lessons and it’s more fun learning together with others. If that’s not possible, there are other options which you can read about here

Should I do homework?
Yes, but that’s easier said than done! The recommended suggestion is to do 10 minutes every day rather than one hour once a week. Unfortunately, we are all so busy these days that even 10 minutes a day seem like hard work. If you can manage it at all, spend some time revising what you learned last week – it will make it easier to carry on the next week.

Are there any good websites to learn German?
Yes, there are! Especially if you want to use them to recap what you have learned so far.
On my Links page you’ll find websites with great information or online activities.
If you know any other useful websites, please let me know, so that I can add them to my list.

Have fun learning German!

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