pablopatito, on 05 October 2011 - 09:11 AM, said:
I'm 39, have a young family, work in IT, live in England and have no foreign language skills. I'd like to learn German and move to Germany. Has anyone done this and how hard is it to do? Learning a foreign language in your forties to a level that will allow you to apply for jobs seems a tall order. Is it unrealistic? I don't have specific enough IT skills that would allow me to get a job abroad without speaking the language - basically I'm not that big a draw for employers. Even if I could speak fluent German, what are the chances of a German company employing a foreigner instead of a local?
Everyone talks about leaving on this forum, but I've never been optimistic about how practical it is.
I'm not sure that your age is really an issue, but you will need time (2/3 years from my experience). Personally I find German a very tricky language. I have learned quite a bit, but you will need to be pretty comfortable with grammatical terms as German is a minefield in this respect. Here are the 2 main things I find difficult; I believe these are common problems:
1. German has 3 genders, but it doesn't just stop with der,die and das. Depending on the 'case' of the sentence, the equivalent word for 'the' will be a choice of many.
2. Word order is oftten inversed, putting the verb at the end of the sentence. This obviously makes it hard to process. As a simple example:
'I cannot find the key' would translate as 'I cannot the key find'
I know some people who find it a simple language to learn, but it's not something I hear often. The major factor as always in helping you get fluent in German (both speaking and understanding) would be the ability to practise. Usually this entails living in a German speaking country for some time. Nothing beats this experience, which will help your language skills, as well as giving you experience of this country and its culture. I have lived in Germany and thoroughly loved it, but one thing you will immediately notice is the quality of the English spoken by alot of Germans, and this obviously poses a problem for you too.