So How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language
In the end, it’s not easy to say how long it takes to become fluent in a language, as everyone is different and learns at their own pace, due to their language learning background, cultural background, and even their personality.
But one thing is for sure: The best way to learn a new language is studying the language abroad, interacting with locals, and totally exposing yourself. And of course, you will need a good amount of passion, dedication, but also patience with yourself.
Learning a language takes time, but you can do it much faster when you have fun! Keed reading and learning new languages, check out:
How Does Your Previous Experience Influence How Efficiently You Can Learn A Language
Well, let me just start by saying: This is not an exact science!
And far from it! There doesn’t really exist a good way to measure how past experiences impact language learning, so the numbers in the calculator above are based on my own best guesses!
If you don’t care for my guesswork, leave the drop-down box as it is, and experience won’t be taken into consideration.
There is, however, no doubt that both linguistic and more general academic experience influences the time it’ll take a student to master a foreign language.
For one thing, if you’re used to studying, you know your learning style well, and you know exactly how to approach teaching yourself a foreign language, you’ll be well ahead. If you know a closely related language to the one you’re studying, even more so.
Even if you’ve got just a little experience with learning a language that even might be unrelated to the one you’re studying now, it’ll be a small advantage. Any experience with language learning makes for a short-cut because it allows the student to be aware of what actually makes a language.
Other ways of saying things, grammar concepts and vocabulary that we don’t have equivalents to in English, although still foreign, won’t be a complete mystery.
How these factors impact the time it’ll take a student to learn a language is highly subjective, but if you want to include this variable in the calculation, these are the options and how that they impact the time it takes to learn the language.
How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language Per Day
The short answer is as much as possible. Realistically, however, at least 20 minutes per day should be dedicated to learning a new language. The ideal amount of time to spend on daily study, if you can find the time, is an hour, but you dont need to cram it all in at once.
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The Truth About How Many Hours It Takes To Become Fluent
So, just how long does it really take to learn a language?
Based on my experience I would put the total hours necessary to reach a B2 level in most languages is around 400 to 600 hours. Now, before I say anything else, let me explain a few key points:
First, the number of languages you have learned before will affect this number. If it is your first time learning a language the number will be closer to 600 hours.
Second, I use the hacks I mentioned above, and those I share in Fluent in 3 Months Premium , so my efficiency is higher than most people who are studying using âtraditionalâ methods of rote-memorization and listen-and-repeat tactics.
Finally, keep in mind the goal I mentioned before. The only test Iâm trying to pass is real-life interactions. I donât study the language, I live the language, and my focus is always on speaking from day 1.
So, letâs break the hours down.
First, letâs look at an intensive learning project.
If youâre studying 5 hours a day, 7 days a week and use a combination of live one-on-one practice sessions with a native speaker and self-study, you will be accumulating 35 hours a week. Over the course of 12 weeks that works out to around 420 hours. That falls right in line with my prediction on how many hours it takes.
What if you canât be that intense in your language learning?
I know that not everyone can put 5 hours a day into learning a language. But anyone can absolutely find 1-2 hours a day, no matter how busy they are.
What Are Your Goals
A large part of learning any new language skill is deciding what you hope to get from it and establishing clear goals. So, before you do anything else, write down exactly what your language-learning goals are.
That way, no matter how much time you spend in front of flashcards or honing your accent, youll know whether or not its time well spent. Do you want to achieve conversational fluency within six months? If so, say so! Are you working toward passing a specific exam or doing better in a particular test ?
Tell yourself. Make sure that you have your goal clearly written down and pinned somewhere where you can see them every day. Then revisit them regularly to make sure theyre still relevant and realistic. You might be surprised how quickly they change as you become more proficient in your target language. Once you have your goals, break them down into smaller milestones that will help keep you motivated and moving forward.
For example, if you want to reach the intermediate level in one year, break it down into monthly chunks: 1 month for beginner level 3 months for intermediate 6 months for advanced 9 months for near-native. If a year seems like too long a time frameor if essential fluency feels too dauntingmake adjustments accordingly. Be honest about how much time you can realistically devote to studying each week, and then stick with those limits. When we overreach our limits or set unrealistic expectations, we lose motivation very quickly.
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Consider A Language Immersion Program
A language immersion program is one of the best ways to learn a language quickly. Although youll also be taking classes and using language-learning apps, your days will be filled with exposure to the language as much as possible, which will help you get fluent in it. Youll begin by learning some basics about the culture and history of the country where you are living, but then spend most of your time speaking with locals in their native language.
I came to Tico Lingo knowing little to nothing when it came to speaking the language and left being able to hold conversations with my host mom and most of all, I had much more confidence in starting conversations and in continuing my studying of the Spanish language.
Typical language schools class setup
Most language schools curriculum follows the following typical class schedule:
Cultural activities can also take place throughout your time abroad for students to get used to living with other people from different backgrounds. This is a crucial part of any language course because it helps students feel comfortable communicating with native speakers outside school hours!
How Long Do Individual Languages Take To Learn
How long does it take to learn a language? Why does Russian take longer than French? And what sets apart as a language that takes extremely long to master?
In the above calculator, I have used the study-time estimations made by the FSI. The Foreign Service Institute is the American government institution that teaches foreign languages to US diplomats going overseas.
They’ve grouped the languages that they teach into different categories, from “easy” languages that take around 600 hours for an average English-speaking student to master, to “difficult” languages that take 2200 hours.
FSI’s estimates obviously only apply in very specific cases. They’re aimed at English speakers, students who take their intensive classroom course, and they’re aiming for a very high level of fluency. And the results vary even for the FSI!
So in other words: You can’t just take FSI’s numbers and apply them to your own situation. A lot of things come into play, which is what I try to address with the other factors in the calculator.
So, as mentioned, FSI’s numbers apply for English speakers who learn foreign languages. This means that the estimates are different if your native language is something else than English.
While I’m no fan of classroom learning, FSI’s course is beyond a doubt very efficient!
More or less.
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How Can You Help Your Students To Describe What They Want To Be Able To Do In English
We give some examples of hours needed for different profiles of learner for example, for adults, teenagers and primary-level children, and with different levels of motivation or language distance from English.
For motivated adult learners, they typically need between 100 and 200 hours of guided learning to get from one CEFR level to the next. As you go up the levels, you need more hours to get to the next one. To get from A1 to A2, it typically requires 100-150 hours of guided learning, but it can take 180-260 hours to get from B1 to B2.
When we talk about guided learning hours, we mean learning in a classroom or as part of a programme i.e. including homework and other language learning activities which have been designed to improve your language skills. As your level increases, it becomes easier to make use of language learning opportunities outside the classroom on-line communication or engaging with speakers of that language. So, you dont necessarily need more classroom hours as you move up the CEFR scale.
Why do we have higher numbers of hours for primary school students? We know that young children in immersive contexts learn the language very quickly. The examples in this paper, however, are more about children learning English in countries where English is not used outside the classroom.
Browse our collection of research papers in ELT: commissioned and collated by our research team, written by ELT specialists in the field.
Are You Using A Coach Or Accountability Partner
Itâs all about holding yourself accountable. If you fail to hold yourself to the language learning fire, then you probably wonât stick with it. Thatâs why using a coach or partner is a vital tool to learning a new language. Not only do you have someone to work with. You also have someone you are accountable to. Letting down a partner or coach is never good. Itâs especially worse when you feel like youâve let yourself down. By having a coach or partner and sticking to the plan, you can avoid these problems.
Together, you can work on basics of language learning you canât do on your own. Writing letters and speaking conversations is much more engaging with other people involved. Tap into your community and begin building your own language learning network today. â
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Motivation Helps You Become Fluent
Motivation plays an important role in determining how long does it take for a person to become fluent in a new language. Decades ago, psychologists identified two basic types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation stems from the enjoyment or personal satisfaction a person derives from engaging in a behavior. Extrinsic motivation, as the name suggests, is a drive that comes from outside. Money and the approval of others are both good examples of extrinsic motivators.
Linguists use similar concepts to describe the motivation specific to learning a language. Integrative motivation is a drive to connect with the culture and people of a region by learning their language. It can also be more specific, such as learning a language to improve communication in cross-cultural relationships or show respect for the language and culture of a family member who doesnt speak English.
Instrumental motivation is commonly described as a drive to learn a language for reasons other than the language itself. Learners who undertake foreign language study primarily for school credit or as a supplement to their business qualifications are instrumentally motivated.
According To The Fsi How Long Does It Take To Learn A Foreign Language
The FSI divides languages into the following groups of difficulty for speakers of English and how it takes them to learn a given language:
These languages are sometimes referred to as super-hard and are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers to master.
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Getting Started With Language Learning
Now that weve reviewed your language learning goals, its time to discuss the best ways to reach them.
Fully immersing yourself in another language is the fastest way to learn. Rosetta Stones unique Dynamic Immersion method allows you to achieve this in your own space, and on your own schedule. Youll be reading, hearing, and even speaking your new language from your very first lesson!
Ready to get started? Learn more about Rosetta Stones language learning solution at www.rosettastone.com
If You Were To Study A Language 10 Hours A Day
Is ten hours a day reasonable to learn a language? It could be. In order not to burn out, it is important to vary the activities.
Here is a sample day:
8-12: Alternate listening, reading and vocabulary review using LingQ, Anki or some other system.
12-2: Rest, exercise, lunch, while listening to the language.
4-5: Talk to an online tutor or with locals if in the country
7-10: Relaxation in the language, movies, songs, or going out with friends in the language. depending on availability.
To some extent the language needs time to gestate and often things we study today do not click in for months. On the other hand, intensity has its own benefits. I have no doubt that someone following this intense program, or something similar, would achieve basic conversational fluency in two months for easy languages, and three months for difficult languages.
So if you dont have that much time, I would encourage you to focus on input-based learning, with a lot of listening during dead time, time when you are doing other tasks, washing the dishes, driving your car, walking, working out etc..
This first stage is important in order to get a grasp of some basic vocabulary and a sense of how the language works. It also gives us the confidence that we can move on to fluency. During this first stage we are curious about the language and willing to listen to the same content over and over.
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How To Learn A Language Through The Great Translation Game
If you do not have the means to immerse yourself in a foreign language by traveling to a different country, playing The Great Translation Game is a great way to learn in context and practice your writing skills in a stress-free environment.
As the name might suggest, The Great Translation Game will have you translate sentences from the target language into your own language, and then the other way around. You can select from existing texts or upload your own ones, which lets you practice with content that youre actually interested in blog posts, news articles, book excerpts, podcasts transcripts, or anything else that catches your eye. As long as youre using native-level content, you can be sure that the end result of your writing practice is perfectly correct.
The game assists you by providing suggestions of translations into your own language, and giving you instant feedback when you translate them back into the target language. With this kind of help, you can focus on working your way through as many sentences as possible, which will help you improve your writing skills, soak up new vocabulary and perfect your grammar.
Once Your Intentions For The New Language Are Defined You Can Begin Planning Out A Productive Hourly Schedule For Daily Practice
Once your intentions for the new language are defined, you can begin planning out a productive hourly schedule for daily practice that includes multiple learning methods.
Advice on how to best spend this time varies depending on which polyglot or linguistics expert youre speaking to. But theres one tip they all seem to stand behind: devote at least half of your hour to stepping away from the books and videos to practice with a speaker face to face, be it someone who’s native or highly fluent in the language. To go over questions and do activities, to talk together in the language, and to discuss the culture, Baker says. I would not skip that part, because learning about the people and culture will motivate me to keep up with the rest of my learning.
Adults, some of them do their language learning trying to memorise words and practice pronunciation, all in silence and to themselves. They dont actually take the leap to try and have a conversation actually using the language, Fiez says. Youre not really learning another language, youre just learning picture-sound associations.
Language-learning programmes are important, but spending time with a native or skilled speaker is the most effective method
IQ and EQ
Learning a second language can satisfy an immediate need but it will also help you become a more understanding and empathic person by opening the doors to a different way of thinking and feeling, says Meneghetti. Its about IQ and EQ combined.
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Interact In Your Language Daily Without Traveling
Another reason people cite for not learning languages is that they cant visit a country where its a native language. No time, no money, etc.
Take it from methere is nothing in the air in another country that will magically make you able to speak their language. Ive done a lot of experiments to prove this .
Ive met countless expats who lived abroad for years without learning the local language. Living abroad and being immersed is not the same thing. If you need to hear and use a language consistently to be immersed, cant virtual immersion be just as effective? Of course. Technology makes it possible for immersion to come to you, and you dont even have to buy a plane ticket.
To hear the language consistently spoken, you can check out TuneIn.com for a vast selection of live-streamed radio from your country of choice. The app also has a list of streamed radio stations ordered by language.
To watch the language consistently, see whats trending on Youtube in that country right now. Go to that countrys equivalent URL for Amazon or Ebay and buy your favorite TV series dubbed in that language, or get a local equivalent by seeing whats on the top charts. You may be able to save shipping costs if you can find one locally that includes dubbing in the appropriate language. Various news stations also have plenty of video content online in specific languages, such as France24, Deutsche Welle, CNN Español, and many others.