How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language? | EXPERT GUIDE

How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language: To be fluent in language speaking, you will need to know how long it does take to learn a new language.

The outrageous benefit attached to learning a new language is dependent on how long it will take you to learn.

Are you surprised?

Did you just ask “how?”

Well, your level of proficiency is greatly dependent on how long it does take you to learn a language.

This is also dependent on the learning method you adopt and your level of interest, altitude and time dedication.

You may decide to learn a new language through an app, personal study, or through the classroom experience.

The language you may want to learn is also a determinant of how long it does take you to learn a language.

How quickly can you learn a language

Because, some languages may take a longer time to learn, while some may be learnt at a shorter pace, due to their difficulty levels.

So, if you have been asking the question of “how long does it take to learn a language?” then make sure you read this article to the end.

Let’s get started!

What are the factors that determine how a language is learnt?

You might be excited about learning a language that is not your native or regular language.

That is natural and motivational.

But, to learn a new language, these three points will determine your speed and accuracy. They are:

#1. The interest and attitude of the learner:

Before choosing to learn a language, firstly, there must be a show of interest.

Your response to these questions must be positive to be able to comfortably learn a new language; “Why am I learning this language?” “Do I like this language?” “Do I feel confident enough to learn this language?” “Is the method of learning comfortable for me?”

In order for you to learn a new language at a very good speed, you will need to be enthusiastic and happy with what you may have chosen to learn.

#2. The learner’s attention and determination

Generally, learning takes dedication, determination and consistency.

The rate at which you exhibit a positive attitude in learning a language will determine the total time it will take you to learn.

You may have all the necessary resources to learn that language and still fail at learning it at the right pace.

This might either be because you are not dedicated enough to explore this new found opportunity.

A lackadaisical approach to language learning is simply failure in anticipation.

As long as your dedication and attitude towards learning that language are top-notch, your accuracy level is likely to be brilliant.

#3. The learner’s learning time

It can be quite exhausting to learn a new language quickly and fluently in a short time, especially if you have a busy schedule.

If you have prior knowledge of the language you want to learn, your job will be made a lot easier by hastening the amount of time you would have spent gaining the basic knowledge.

The longer the hours you spend on learning a language, the faster it will be to become fluent in that language.

Some people can dedicate about 7 to 10 hours daily in learning a language by classroom experience, either virtual or physical, while some might be able to sacrifice 30 minutes to 1 hour daily.

What are the levels of language learning proficiency?

Language Learning Proficiency can be explained with two scales, which are:

i. United States Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI) Interagency Language Roundtable (IRL) scale

ii. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CERFL or CEF) scale

According to the United States, in their Interagency Language Roundtable (IRL) scale, your level of proficiency can be classified according to your fluency.

Levels of fluency ranges from 0 (no proficiency level) to 5 (native/bilingual proficiency method).

Here are the levels of proficiency:

#1. Elementary Proficiency Level

For the ILR scale, it is scaled at level 1, while it is scaled at level A2 for the CEFR scale.

This is the basic/fundamental language learning level.

At this stage, you may not have being able to make simple statements before now.

It does not really entail much, other than you will have to be travelling often to the country whose language you want to learn.

You might possibly learn the mode at which they greet and other basic parts of their language.

#2. Limited Working Proficiency Level

 For the ILR scale, it is scaled at level 2, while it is scaled at level B2 for the CEFR scale.

At this stage, you can be able to answer certain questions about yourself and family.

You can also be able to have some conversations with certain people about certain things.

In this case, you can understand what is said, to an extent, and you can also reply in the simplest ways to avoid being stuck.

The level at which you can construct a sentence is better when you are at the elementary level.

#3. Minimum Professional Proficiency Level

For the ILR scale, it is scaled at level 3, while it is scaled at level C1 for the CEFR scale.

If you are at this level, then you must be able to have a comfortable conversation in that language.

Your vocabulary, sentence structure and accuracy are good enough to get you engaged, either in a social, formal and even professional discussion.

You become fluent to some extent in the language.

#4. Advanced Professional Proficiency Level

For the ILR scale, it is scaled at level 4, while it is scaled at level C2 for the CEFR scale.

Though you will need to put in a longer time to speak a language in the most professional way, it is worth it.

You will be able to engage in all manner of professional dealings with the language.

Your accuracy level will be on a higher level, unlike someone who is at the minimum professional level.

#5. Functionally Native or Bilingual Proficiency Level

For the ILR scale, it is scaled at level 5.

One who is at this level of proficiency will speak the language that a native of that language.

This is the highest point of proficiency level, and it will take more than just classroom learning to attain this height.

You must have engaged with natives of that language in their locality and must have been with them for a really long time.

If you are at this stage, then congratulations to you!

How long does it take to learn a language?

The answer to this question is dependent on the number of hours that is being devoted to learning a new language.

Below, the United States FSI classified languages according to their levels of difficulty and the number of hours it will take you to learn the languages:

United States Foreign Service Institute (FSI) language classification:

According to the US FSI, languages are grouped according to their level of difficulty, starting from the easiest (classification 1) to the most difficult languages (classification 4).

Here are the four classifications with how long it will take to learn the languages:

a. Classification 1:

The languages in this classification are languages that are interrelated with English language.

They take 24-30 weeks of dedication, which is between 600 to 750 hours.

They include the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Romania 
  • Portuguese
  • Swedish
  • Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Danish
  • French

b. Classification 2

Here, the languages are like English language.

In 36 weeks (900 hours), you can learn these languages to the level of minimum proficiency.

They include:

  • Swahili
  • Garman
  • Malaysian
  • Indonesia
  • Haitian Creole

c. Classification 3

The languages in this class are those whose cultural structure and/or linguistics all differ from English language.

They are mostly referred to as the “Hard Languages”.

Also, They can take up to 44 weeks, which is 1100 hours, to learn them.

They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Albanian
  •  Amharic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  •  Bengali
  •  Bulgarian
  •  Burmese
  • Czech
  • Dari
  • Estonia
  • Farsi
  • Finnish
  • Georgian
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  •  Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  •  Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kurdish
  • Kyrgyz
  • Lao
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Mongolian
  • Nepali
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Somali
  • Tagalog
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Tibetan
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  •  Uzbek
  • Vietnamese

d. Classification 4

These are languages that are extremely difficult to learn as one who speaks English fluently.

They are known as the “super-hard languages”, and can take 88 weeks (2200 hours) to learn.

They are:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese-Cantonese
  • Chinese-Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Korean

What are the methods of learning a new language?

#1. Classroom Learning Method of Language Learning:

For one who has all the time in the world to learn a new language, and would want to do it in a more social environment, you are advised to opt for the classroom learning.

This way, you will not be disturbed about lack of commitment and focus.

You will not just learn that chosen language, you will likely be a member of a group who could take out extra hours to learn what has been taught and socialize with the needed minds at that time.

This makes learning a new language very interesting and participatory.

Also, the lessons in a physical classroom setting are practicable because of the assignments you will be given to work on.

There are also opportunities to learn through private tutorials with a teacher.

This may not be as participatory as the classroom experience, but it can be very beneficial to people who are faster in learning.

#2. Book Study Method of Language Learning:

For some people, learning with a book that can possibly teach you how to write and speak a language can be very interesting.

This method may not be favourable to everybody.

Moreover, you cannot properly learn how to pronounce certain words to a level of fluency by just reading a book.

The book study method cannot be independent of itself, there will still be a need for visual or audio lecturers.

#3. Engagement and Travelling Method of Language Learning:

This method is mostly called “Learning a language by immersion”.

Amongst the various methods listed, this is the most effective method of language learning.

It is more effective to travel to a country and gradually learn their language, as they constantly speak that language to your hearing.

You will also get to learn the right accent and sentence structure.

This is dependent on how long you will have to stay in that particular locality.

Some persons through physical tutorials may not be able to speak the language as supposed, travelling to the country where that language is spoken is the best way to learn how to speak the language in no time and in the most appropriate way.

#4. Mobile Phone Applications/Websites Method of Language Learning:

There are numerous phone applications that can be downloaded on your phone to help you access language learning classes.

Aside from applications, there are websites where one could learn how to speak new languages too.

This method is quite convenient for those who do not really have much time, or those who may not be able to access study centres due to certain reasons.

Here, you can fix your classes at your own time and at your own pace.

This method will need a lot of discipline to carry out, else, you might be tempted to skip a session or two, and that sets in laziness.

What is the best App for language learning?

Here are 4 great apps to help you learn new languages:

a. Duolingo: This is a gaming app that helps you learn new languages.

b. Busuu: It is a gaming app as well as a visual language learning app that uses algorithms to teach the fundamental aspects of languages.

c. Babbel: Like the above mentioned, it is also a language learning gaming app that has more language variety than the others.

d. Memrise: This app offers visual learning with video clips of native speakers. It is built to help users memorize language vocabularies easily.

Website: What is the best website for language learning?

There are websites that provide online programs in various languages.

Below are 3 programs you can choose from:

a. Rosetta Stone: This is an online program where you can be taught how to read and write new languages.

b. BBC Languages: Here, you will be exposed to certain language learning tutorial videos that will enhance your learning.

c. Rype: This program can be very comfortable to those who are really busy.

The program is open for 24 hours a week.

So, you can conveniently choose to learn at any time you desire.

You will be exposed to one-on-one interactive live chat tutorials with the natives of a particular language.

What is the easiest language to learn?

As a native of the English language, it will be easier to learn some starter languages that are very much related to English, either in sentence structure, vocabulary, etc.

Here are two languages you may consider learning as a starter:

#1. Spanish Language

If you are someone who has been seeking for new languages to learn, you can start your chat with Spanish.

This language is very easy to learn because it has the same origin as the English language.

Both languages have many words that are spelt almost alike.

Furthermore, the sentence structure of both languages are similar.

Thereby, making it a lot easier to learn how to speak and write the language.

Though this language can be easy to assimilate, its classification of verbs may not really be so easy to remember.

It is because those classifications are not as much as that of English language.

#2. Portuguese Language

The Portuguese language can be learnt just as fast as Spanish language can be learnt.

But, it can be a little bit challenging to learn the language when compared to learning Spanish.

This is because its grammatical expressions and spellings differ from that of English.

Also, its symbols seem to be difficult to assimilate by English speakers.

What is the hardest language to learn?

You may be asking “What is the hardest language to learn in the world?”

Though there are languages that are complex to learn, you can also learn them if you are determined to do so.

These languages include, but are not limited to the following:

#1. Hindi Language

The Hindi language is widely known by more than 400 million people worldwide.

This language is slightly easy and slightly difficult to learn.

It is because its alphabet, vowels and consonants are very different from that of English.

Similarly, you will be exposed to new sounds that may not be found in English.

Also, it is quite difficult to write because of the difference in alphabets.

#2. Arabic Language

Without argument, learning how to write differently from the conventional way of writing makes this language very difficult to learn.

Aside from the fact that its symbols and pronunciations are different, you will need to write from the right part of a page to the left part.

This also applies to reading.

It is therefore the second most difficult language to learn for natives of English language.

#3. Chinese-Mandarin Language

Chinese-Mandarin is the most difficult language to learn in the world.

This is because every word has its own symbol that you will need to critically study and understand how they are written.

The characters of this language can be counted to be more than 50,000.

It can be very challenging to remember each word and characters to make complete sense.

Indeed, learning this language will take a longer time when compared to all other languages.

How many hours a day should I study to learn a foreign language?

First, to determine the number of hours you wish to study a language daily, you will need to know the number of hours that language can be possibly learnt.

An example is the Spanish language that can be learnt between 600-750 hours of your study time.

Secondly, you will need to determine the number of months or years you will be willing to learn this language.

Set a target for yourself.

It will be easier to walk with a target to boost your dedication.

If you are willing to set out one year to learn the Spanish language, set it as a target.

Thirdly, you will need to divide the number of hours it will take you to learn that language by the number of weeks you are willing to spare.

For the Spanish language of 750 hours, it would be 750 hours divided by 52 weeks = approximately 15 hours per week.

Then, divide the number of hours by the number of days in a week you would want to spare.

Using a 7 days a week schedule, 15 hours divided by 7 days will be approximately 2.1 hours daily.

You can be generous with your timing to give you enough opportunity to assimilate what you will learn.

Approximating 2.1 hours daily to 2.5 hours daily will lead you to spending 17.5 hours weekly to study Spanish for One year.

If you wish to follow this schedule, but reduce the daily study time to 1.5 hours, then it will take you approximately Two years to learn Spanish language.


there you have how to learn a new language quickly. which of these languages would you be learning let us know in the comment box. We believe we have done justice to this topic, if you have any suggestion also dont hesitate to use the comment box.