How well do Germans speak English?

Someone told me that young Germans speak English very well like the Scandinavians. Is this true? This is discouraging to me as a native English speaker. 

Jun 25, 2014 10:43 PM
Comments · 11

Hi @Adrian. You are right apart from this actually: It's because their education system introduces English education at a very young age. That is not really true. I only started to learn English at 13. It has changed a little since I was in school. There are some schools that introduce English at a younger age, but I am not sure if it is obliged. My daughter had her first English lessons at I think the age of 11, but I am not sure. But even then, that is not even that hyper young I think.


Anyway, it is true that Germans can speak English, but, forgive my arrogance, not as good as the Dutch.





June 29, 2014

I worked in a village outside of Magdeburg for a couple of months back in 2007 and there were still quite a lot of people there who didn't speak any english. Most of them were older but, because I spoke the language, I was able to understand the stories they told me about their lives, growing up in the aftermath of WW2.


If you choose to allow the fact that a lot of the younger generation of Germans speak great english, then you're denying yourself the opportunity to converse with other members of German society, who don't speak english but who have such interesting tales they could tell you about their lives.

July 3, 2014

WIth Scandinavians there is the case, that they don't have any dubbed films. They only have subtitles and thats super encouraging for learning English, also you listening skills are much better. With Germans that's the opposite. Everything there is dubbed. Still they know English very well. Maybe not so much in some smaller villages, where you pick up strawberries, they can know English, but it's a little Tarzanish, if you know what I mean.

I was both in Sweden and German and tried to communicate in my target language. It was really hard. My Swedish was far less advance than my German and I failed miserably. Everyone has change to English with me there. In Germany they also wanted to pull this trick to me, but I was stabborn :) They were talking to me in English and I was answering them with German. But yeah, you need to know a language on at least medium level to to this.

June 29, 2014

Oh that depends but normally they speak rather well. Adrian explained really well, why it is the case. I mean, I was firstly confronted with English in elementary school. Additionally, English is to a certain grade compulsory. We're "trained" in English because of the job later, I think. It's just a cause of globilization and English being the global language.

Otherwise, yeah, English and German are both indogermanic languages so grammar is pretty similiar. If you break it down on a really simple level English and German are pretty much the same except for words and the cases we use in German. (at least that's my opinion and don't forget, I mean with simple like really really simplified)

So, it's up to you to decide if you're gifted now being a native speaker of the global language or not. Most people have to learn your language anyway if they want to get a good job later.

June 27, 2014

Thanks for asking this question ys and thank everyone for answering it. 


I started listening to Dutch, Danish and Swedish to maybe try learning one but although I really liked the languages, especially Dutch, learned that most everyone in the countries where the languages are spoken already speaks English so I was thinking of learning German instead, but if I don't need German to speak to the Germans either, well, I think I'll pick another language than German also. 


Again, thanks. 

June 26, 2014
Show more
Language Skills
English, Russian, Ukrainian
Learning Language