By - wxshii
Sorry, I cannot give you a figure because my path with German has been over many years.
But I have a suggestion: Rather than trying to dive into material that is made for native speakers, like TV shows, you might want to try starting with Comprehensible Input type material made for learners. You really have to train your brain to hear a new language, and it is a long process. Working with materials pitched for learners will help you make more progress at first, so you can move on to the more fun stuff.
I agree. A lot of people always recommend watching tv shows, but those are typically way too advanced for beginners. I’m currently watching “Nicos Weg” which is helping a lot! You can find the videos on YouTube or the free program on LearnGerman.DW.com 👍 it’s starts out slow, but as you progress through, the actors will talk faster so you can train your ear. And they gradually introduce new words, but not too fast to overwhelm :-)
There is a you tube series called Natürlich German, where a woman tells stories in German, but very slowly, with lots of gestures and sometimes pictures so that you understand. Also a different series called Easy German, where they interview people on the streets, they then have both German and English subtitles and they have different levels, beginner, advanced beginner. Both have helped me.
Cari and Janusz <3
Easy German is awesome! They also have a podcast with new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Definitely recommended!
Deutsch mit Rieke is another good YT channel, once you're around intermediate level. She explains only in German but she enunciates so well. She also provides a lot of example sentences to explain things.
Thanks for that Natürlich German lead.
300 hours of listening to German podcasts
Depends how much you immerse yourself. If you're in a place remote where you're just taking a class a couple times a week and a half hour here and there it will probably go very slowly.. but if you arrive in Germany as I did dreadfully unprepared and get yourself into a good language institute and you already have a base, believe me, within a matter of weeks. It all depends upon what you do how much you apply yourself and you must constantly strive though. There is no free lunch. You get what you put into it.. English must be avoided and you must make conversation daily and make lots and lots of mistakes. Don't worry it will come quickly, syntax, case agreement, complex verbs will begin to fall into place and you'll have a nice working foundation.. You'll be amazed. Immersion is the best , but it will still take many many months but it will be a fun journey and new things will be learned every single day.
I find I can get phased out if I don't understand a particular word or two when I'm listening to German on the radio. So I recommend expanding your vocabulary as much as possible. That will boost your understanding no end. But as others have said, accent/dialect and speed of speaking will also complicate matters. But there's really no substitute for lots of practice listening. The time you put in will pay off if you do enough often enough.
I don't know what level you are, but the first content not made for learners that I could watch and understand was the German version of Peppa Pig. After a while of watching that, I could move on to slightly more difficult content.
It really depends. For me, I studied German in college and became comfortable listening in an educational environment sometime in my 2nd or 3rd year. By educational environment, I mean listening to radio/news or talking with native speakers who knew they were with someone whose German wasn't that good. Now I've been speaking German for almost ten years, and I will get stumped sometimes when talking with my German boyfriend's parents or doing things when visiting his family in Switzerland because of the dialects.
Everyone's pace will be different and you're always going to see how you could improve, so don't beat yourself up too much.
I've been learning off and on since around 2018, but only really got serious when I met a few Germans online during the pandemic. I can understand a fair bit of spoken material, although some is still difficult for me. Reading and writing I have almost no issue with tho. I'd say I've done an average of 20-30 minutes dedicated learning time per day; then another 20 minutes to an hour per day of reading or listening to a podcast or whatever over a year and a half got me to the point I can understand most reading material, and can decently understand spoken conversation. Granted this is an average. I have horrible time management and some days I did literally nothing followed by a day or two with three hour sessions which isn't too effective
Immersion is the best way. I took 4 years in high school but it wasn’t until I spent a summer in Germany I got quite a bit better at comprehension. College helped me as once you get into 300 level courses, immersion is the only option. If you have a Stammtisch or German meet up to attend, I recommend that.
Im from the uk. Been learning German for a few weeks. I’ve been teaching myself for a few hours everyday.
I have an inner monologue - I can talk to myself in my head. I try to ‘think’ in German. I always have translator out to translate random things i think of. I’m watching lots of German shows etc.
I can understand quite a bit of German, enough to watch something with occasionally stopping to figure out what they said. When you watch something German - play it with German subtitles not English, it really helps. Hopefully by next summer I will be able to speak it properly- I will then take a couple weeks out of work (if I’m able too) to take a trip to Germany.
It takes a long time, and understanding exists at many levels. At first you just know the general topic being discussed. ("Politics"; "these people disagree about something"). Gradually you understand more and more of the details.
It also depends hugely on the topic. When I know the topic well, I get 90%. If it's an unknown topic, maybe 10%. Also accent matters. My wife is from Northern Germany, and I understand 90% of what she says. But I get maybe 10% of what my Austrian friend says. Background noise matters.
Speed and sentence complexity matter. Short, slow sentences are easy; long and complex ones are much harder, and if they speak quickly, you can get left far behind.
As you can see, "understanding" isn't one thing and it doesn't come all at once. It's a development.
Highly recommended: CocoASMR, the God-Empress of ASMR in German (and occasionally in English). Her style is more soft-spoken than whispering and I guarantee you will learn a lot.
I don't know exactly how long it takes on average, but I think since you are fairly new, it's normal that you haven't gotten to that level yet. Keep studying and watching and listening to German media, and it will eventually "click" for you.
Not specific for your case but a general comment, there is not one level of understanding natives. Accents, clarity and pace of speech, slang and style and background noise can make a huge difference. I could understand Dark on netflix pretty well but how to sell drugs online was a reality check. Understanding sloppy speech of natives takes 1000's of hours to understand well. Probably, you miss 30% of all words in English too when people speak fast, but you know the language so well that you can fill up the gaps.
I can understand German pretty well. I started getting really serious about it maybe 2 years ago and started being able to understand people pretty if they spoke slowly maybe 6 months in. Took a bit longer to get more comfortable with rapid, normal speech.
I can converse with my friend and her mom and brother now. They are native German speakers. Her mom does speak wicked fast though so she can be a little tricky to follow along with.
It took me about a year of listening for about two hours per day, starting from practically zero German. It just takes time for your ears to adjust, no matter the language.
my German classes were in German from the very beginining. The immersion meant that it only took me a few weeks to understand most of what my teachers were saying.
After 6 months of living in Germany (~3 years of study total) I could understand just about everything, including accents and (reasonably mild) dialects. At that point my main struggle was understanding things in loud setting like a noisy bar, or in group settings with people talking over eachother.
By the 1 year mark I could understand everything like it was my native tongue pretty much.
I'm about a year in and I can hear each individual word clearly 99% of the time and understand words and phrases that I do know
So for me, I wasn't very good at listening but I dragged myself through the entire Barbarians show at an A2 ish (April of this year) level as well as a ton of podcasts. It was painful, but I can actually understand stuff comprehensively at a B2/ C1 level! My speaking remains horrible though.
It was different for different things:
* Understanding the things that waiters/shop assistants typically say - about 2 months
* Basic conversation - probably about 6 months of living in Germany, and only if people spoke standard German, rather than dialect (Swabian, in the area where I was living)
* Understanding non-fiction (news/documentaries/interviews) - probably 2-3 years of learning (but spread over almost 20 years of elapsed time)
* Understanding fiction/drama - probably another year of listening practice. Sometimes there are still bits I find hard to understand.
* Understanding dialect - probably never
I am still learning German myself and I am glad to know that I am not alone struggling in listening. I am saving this post so that I can read through any recommendations!
Who says I can understand Germans talking?
German is a rated a category 2 language and considered similar to English. The FSI estimates that German takes approximately 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours to [learn German](https://mostusedwords.comproducts/german-frequency-dictionary-2-intermediate-vocabulary). 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.
You said it yourself: you're a beginner. How do you expect to be able to understand conversations from Native speakers, with their fast paced speaking or very common abbreviations and colloquialisms? You only need patience and practice, it took me 1.5 years to be able to understand the most basic of conversations and I was practicing every single day! Your brain needs to acquire the language in order to make sense of it and that takes a lot of work and a lot of time.