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How Challenging Did You Find German to Learn?

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Hello

I’ve been on the forums for a number of years and many of you probably know that I truly love learning languages. English and French are by far my best two languages as I use both on a daily basis for all sorts of business and social transactions. I manage simple conversations in Spanish and I follow the news reasonably well, although I’m feeling a bit rusty these days. Dutch I’ve studied full-on for about a year-and-a-half, I’m reaching a point where I follow a fair amount of a newscast, although I find shows for kids (such as one newscast for kids, Jeugdjournaal) in standard Dutch I do much better with.

I still want to improve on the languages I’ve reached a certain level of competency in; however I’m toying with the idea of adding another language for future European trips. German, Italian and Portuguese come to mind. German I took one semester of about 20 years ago; basic stuff, a fair amount of which is forgotten. One reason I chose to learn Dutch over German is because I remember people bemoaning how hard German is; German has cases, while Dutch doesn’t use them all that much anymore. German has 3 genders, Dutch has two but one of these is used much less than the other.

My question is this: for those of you who have tried German. I understand that mastering the grammar and nuances of the language probably takes a long time (heck in French & English, I’m still learning vocabulary words), but how long did you find it took you to reach a level where you could be understood by and understand German speakers in ordinary polite conversation? Even though the two languages have differences, my relative success in Dutch (even though I've got a long way to go there yet!) is giving me confidence that I might have success in German as well.

Best wishes, Daniel

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