Learning a new language is an important expertise that opens doors to cultural understanding, cognitive development and communication. German, as one of the world’s major languages, is increasingly becoming a popular choice for language learners, including children. 

Many parents can’t help thinking about what amount of time it requires for their children to actually learn German. In this article, we will explore realistic study findings and factors influencing the language learning process for children.

The Critical Period for Language Learning

Children have a remarkable ability to learn languages, and research suggests that there is a critical period for language acquisition, which is typically between birth and adolescence. 

During this period, children’s minds are exceptionally open to learning new languages, making it simpler for them to gain language abilities with greater proficiency and precision.

Factors Influencing Language Learning

Language learning is a complex and dynamic process influenced by various factors that can affect an individual’s ability to acquire a new language effectively. These factors can vary from person to person and can impact the speed, proficiency, and overall success of language learning. 

Here are some key factors that influence language learning in children:


Younger children tend to have a more intuitive grasp of new languages compared to older children or adults. However, this doesn’t mean that older children cannot become fluent in German; they may require more time and effort.


Regular exposure to the German language is crucial for language learning. Children who have consistent exposure to German through immersive experiences, such as language classes, interactions with native speakers, or multimedia resources, are more likely to learn the language faster.


Motivation plays a vital role in language learning. Children who have a genuine interest in learning German, perhaps due to family background, cultural affinity, or personal curiosity, tend to make faster progress.

Individual Learning Style

Each child has a unique learning style and pace. Some children might catch on to visual training more quickly while some might prefer auditory or kinesthetic training. Tailoring language learning techniques to match a child’s learning style can enhance the learning process.

Realistic Study Findings on Learning German

The time it takes for kids to learn German can vary significantly depending on the factors mentioned above. Several studies have examined the language learning process for children acquiring German as a second language:

ACTFL Guidelines

According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), children in grades K-5 (ages 5-10) typically require 400-600 hours of instruction to reach the “Intermediate Mid” proficiency level in German. 

This level involves understanding and producing simple sentences, expressing personal preferences, and engaging in basic conversations.

European Commission Study

A study by the European Commission found that young learners need approximately 720 hours of classroom instruction to reach an “Independent User” level in German. 

At this level, children can handle most everyday situations and communicate with native speakers effectively.

Cambridge Assessment English

Cambridge Assessment English, a reputable language assessment organization, estimates that young learners need 2,200-3,200 hours of study to reach the “Upper Intermediate” level in German, where they can understand complex texts and express themselves fluently.

Though English and German are very similar, it’s still important to note that language learning is an ongoing process, and fluency is not achieved overnight. Continuous practice, exposure, and reinforcement are essential to maintain and improve language skills.


The speed and effectiveness of language learning among children depend on various factors, including age, exposure, motivation, and individual learning style. Realistic study findings indicate that children can achieve varying levels of proficiency in German with consistent effort, practice, and immersive experiences. 

With the right support and resources, children can embark on a rewarding language learning journey that opens doors to new cultural experiences and opportunities for personal and academic growth.