How Long Does it Take to Become Fluent in a Language? | OptiLingo (2023)

How Long Does it Take to Learn a New Language?

Before you even begin to learn a new language, you already want to see the end. As you’re making your language learning schedule, you’re wondering how long you should plan for. Could you speak fluently within a year? Or perhaps even less? How long does it take to become fluent in a language?

The answer is: it depends.

You first need to understand that learning a language never ends. Settle in for a long ride. But, you’ll reach fluency at a certain point. Depending on a number of factors, you can calculate how long that will take for you. Here’s how you can come up with a personal rough estimate, and be on your way to foreign language fluency in no time.

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  1. It teaches you useful words and phrases.
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You’re only one click away!

Language Learning Goals and Expectations

What are your goals, expectations, and motivation when you’re learning a language? These factors matter the most when you’re trying to figure out how long does it take to become fluent. Some language learners only need the basics of a foreign language. This is common for travelers who want to ask directions, understand a menu, or offer friendly greetings to people they meet in a foreign country.

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Other learners may want a bit more. Perhaps to woo a business partner, or have some discussions with locals. And a third group wants to achieve proficiency. To complete an exam or to move to a country where they speak the language. You need to figure out how far you want to take your language learning. Then you can figure out how long until you become fluent (or semi-fluent).

These divergent goals obviously require significantly different time commitments, and a language learner must have a reasonable sense of these differences. Understanding the levels of commitment necessary for various levels of mastery can assist you in matching your goals to your expectations, and that goes a long way toward enjoying the learning process and avoiding frustration.

(Video) How long does it take to be fluent in a language? ⏰

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 doesn’t speak English.

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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.

How Long Does it Take to Reach Fluency with the Right Motivation

Studies show strong correlations between integrative motivation and high levels of language proficiency. Learners motivated by the integrative approach pick up pronunciation and accent more effectively. Perhaps due to greater empathy toward native speakers of a language.

Integrative motivation doesn’t necessarily decrease the time necessary to learn the basics of a foreign language, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that strong interest in a language and culture might facilitate the journey toward true fluency.

Levels of Language Proficiency and Fluency

Another important factor in determining the time it will take you to learn a foreign language is your desired level of fluency. Like most things, language fluency exists on a continuum. So, it’s hard to gauge what level of proficiency you’re at.

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Fortunately, there are organizations that study language learning and have broken the concept of fluency into distinct categories. These categories help you use your desired level of proficiency as a basis for estimating your time commitment. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) offers numbered rating scales to categorize levels of proficiency for new language learners.

Levels of Proficiency to Reflect How Fluent You Are

  1. Elementary proficiency. The person is able to satisfy routine travel needs and minimum courtesy requirements.
  2. Limited working proficiency. The person is able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements
  3. Minimum professional proficiency. The person can speak the language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social, and professional topics.
  4. Full professional proficiency. The person uses the language fluently and accurately on all levels normally pertinent to professional needs.
  5. Native or bilingual proficiency. The person has speaking proficiency equivalent to that of an educated native speaker.

Levels one and five are easy to understand and apply to any language student’s long-term learning plan. But the others relate more specifically to the professional world, and may not work for everyone. Overall, the FSI ratings may be of more utility for a person planning a career in international relations or business.

The CEFR Scale for How Long it Takes to Become Fluent

For people who are not interested in conducting business, another commonly used list of categories is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

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CEFR uses six categories divided by a level designation, a descriptive name, a typical vocabulary for each category, and a brief summary of the ability of a speaker at each level. Level designations are simple alphanumeric names: A1 and A2 describe Beginner and Elementary, respectively; B1 and B2 are Intermediate and Upper, and C1 and C2 are Advanced and Mastery.

(Video) How Long Does It Take to Learn a Language to Fluency?




Speakers generally can:



500 words

Use and understand basic phrases when speaking slowly.



1,000 words

Understand simple expressions and express immediate needs.



2,000 words

Understand common issues and improvise discussion.



4,000 words

Understand complex topics; engage in spontaneous speech.



8,000 words

Express ideas fluently and spontaneously without strain.



16,000 words

Comprehend virtually everything read or heard.

These categories are obviously imperfect. For example, we might have a hard time finding a meaningful difference between “engaging in spontaneous speech” and “expressing ideas spontaneously and without strain.” But they do offer some idea of the differences in levels of mastery for an aspiring language learner, and quantifying the levels with an expected vocabulary is quite helpful.

How Difficult is Your Target Language?

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One criticism of the CEFR fluency categories is that some languages are more difficult for non-speakers to learn. Because of this, vocabulary is not always an accurate measure of fluency. It follows, then, that some aspects of languages will take a learner far longer to completely grasp than others. Mandarin, for example, uses variations in tone to make a single word mean vastly different things, so learning Mandarin pronunciation will take much longer.

In addition to categories for describing language competency, the FSI has also created a system that places languages into five categories ranked by difficulty. The specific purpose of these categories is to aid in estimating how long does it take a native English speaker to learn a particular language. A language’s difficulty is defined by how similarity it is to English, with consideration given to both linguistics and culture.

Category I languages, which the FSI describes as closely related to English, include Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish. If the FSI designations are accurate, these languages would require the least amount of time to learn. For a person interested in learning a foreign language reasonably well for instrumental purposes, like course credit, one of these languages might be a good choice.

Category II languages are similar to English, and this category only includes German. Category III, described as languages with differences from English. And Category IV are languages with significant differences, include long lists of languages from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Southern Asia, and Africa.

The most difficult languages, in Category V, are Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. According to FSI estimates, these five languages can take as much as four times longer to learn than those in Category I.

Different Approaches to Language Learning

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Along with your goals and motivation, your language learning method also impacts how long it will take for you to get comfortable with your new language.

As our understanding of human learning has evolved, our teaching practices and opportunities for self-directed learning have changed dramatically. Older Americans who took foreign language classes in high school often find that the methods they learned back then are simply not effective for achieving even a modest level of proficiency in a reasonable amount of time. Utilizing outdated approaches to language learning, especially outside a classroom, usually ends in frustration and failure.

Modern approaches to language learning, both in and out of the classroom, emphasize the idea of immersion in a language to provide context to raw information. While we often hear criticisms of rote learning, some degree of repetition is necessary to add to your vocabulary and understanding of language. There are two modern approaches that have been shown to be very efficient in terms of learning time.

Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS)

Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS) allow you to use something akin to rote learning in a more efficient (and often more fun) way. A simple example of SRS is the use of flashcards. It would be a huge waste of time to compile a list of hundreds of vocabulary words on cards and review the entire list each day. A better approach is to eliminate words from the stack as you learn them. They can be interspersed with new words at a later time, further reinforcing the memory of the word. This is essentially how SRS works.

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(Video) How Long Does It Take To Become Fluent In English?

Many language learning software packages use the concept of SRS in a more sophisticated way. Modern language learning apps, for example, use repetition along with context to increase the speed of learning. As new vocabulary words are introduced, they are repeated within different sentences. Previously learned words are also repeated in new lessons, and the net result is a combination of repetition and meaning that is highly effective for reducing the amount of study time necessary and creating solid, well-connected stores of information in the brain.

An important aspect of utilizing any SRS approach is that best results come from daily study. However, because software packages so often employ approaches that combine repetition and meaning, the amount of study time required each day can be significantly reduced without adding to the total time required for eventual fluency. The basic idea here is that quality of time spent is much more valuable than quantity.

Foreign Language Immersion

Another highly effective way to learn a foreign language in less time is total immersion. Go to a country where that language is spoken and try to use only that language. This approach will usually require some base knowledge of the language, but the degree to which language skills can improve in a short time is astounding. As little as two or three weeks can be enough time for you to improve from knowing some words and phrases to actually using them in simple conversations.

How Long Does it Take to Become Fluent in a Language?

How Long Does it Take to Become Fluent in a Language? | OptiLingo (9)

By now, it should be clear that there is no single estimate of the time it takes to learn a foreign language that applies to everyone. Different people have different goals and motivations, and the approach they take to learning a language may not be the most efficient one. Compounding this problem is the fact that some languages are much harder to learn than others.

For the aspiring language learner interested in a very general idea of how long various levels of fluency might take, there are some decent resources. Let’s look at four time-estimating resources.

Pimsleur Guesses How Long Does it Take

Paul Pimsleur was an applied linguist who developed the Pimsleur language learning system, and his name is widely known in both academic and popular culture. By his estimates, a person who is willing to skip any efforts to speak or write a language can learn to read material related to their line of work in 100 to 150 hours. A person who desires what Pimsleur called “balanced competence” could acquire “reasonable mastery” by studying six hours per week for two years.

“Educated mastery,” by which Pimsleur meant the ability to understand most people, read nearly anything without the assistance of a dictionary, and write with some semblance of style, would require at least a year and a half. However, at least a year of that time would be spent in total immersion, living in a country where the language is spoken almost exclusively.

Pimsleur’s estimates may seem daunting, but it’s worth noting that he died in 1976. Language learning systems have come a long way since then, so it would be reasonable to assume that his estimates are somewhat high for the modern language learner.

The Foreign Service Institute Estimates the Difficulty

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The FSI provides estimates for the amount of time it takes to reach their classifications using FSI learning. The FSI’s estimates are for the average number of hours for a native English speaker to achieve “Professional Working Proficiency” in a given language.

The assumption is that the native English speaker has no background in any language other than English. Accordingly, the FSI organizes its estimates based on how difficult a given language is for a native English speaker.

The FSI’s difficulty classifications fall into four categories. Here’s a summary of the FSI’s time estimates to reach “Professional Working Proficiency.”

(Video) How Long Does It Take to Learn a Language?

  • Closely Related to English: Category I Languages: Approximately 600 – 750 hours
  • Similar to English: Category II Languages: Approximately 900 hours
  • Different From English: Category III Languages: Approximately 1,100 hours
  • Very Different From English: Category IV Languages: Approximately 2,200 hours

Like the Pimsleur estimates, the FSI estimates come with caveats. The most glaring of these is the method by which FSI courses are conducted. FSI students are taught in classrooms with textbooks, and immersion in a community of native speakers is not part of the curriculum. Additionally, the courses are conducted six hours per day, five days per week.

Other Variables That Impact Time to Become Fluent

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People’s attention span is limited, and while limits vary among individuals, very few people can effectively engage in learning a single topic for six hours a day. It is very likely that many of the training hours were wasted due to inattention or burnout. For my own part, I think it’s possible to achieve a very strong level of fluency in far less time, so long as the language learner is using the materials and methods right for them.

One final caveat when it comes to the FSI is that it’s not entirely clear what “Professional Working Proficiency” is. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the FSI has never publicly defined what this means. Secondly, even if they did, this definition would vary dramatically based on what one’s profession is; a diplomat will require very different vocabulary and grammatical skills than a poet or a chemical engineer.

For my own part, based on personal experience and common sense, I’d interpret “Professional Working Proficiency” as somewhere between a B2 or C1 on the CEFR scale. Of course, that opens an interesting question: does the CEFR estimate the number of hours necessary to reach some level of language mastery? As it turns out, they do.

CEFR via the British Council is the Universal Ranking

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The British Council is an international organization devoted to cultural and educational opportunities. They offer time estimates for reaching CEFR levels with their learning programs.

  • A1: No estimate is given since A1 is defined as the starting point.
  • A2: Approximately 180 – 200 hours
  • B1: Approximately 350 – 400 hours
  • B2: Approximately 500 – 600 hours
  • C1: Approximately 700 – 800 hours
  • C2: Approximately 1,000 – 1,200 hours

Once again, some caveats are in order. Because CEFR is based in Europe, their time estimates assume European language learners. It is important to keep in mind that the typical European is exposed to many more languages on a daily basis than the typical American. A Dutch-speaking Belgian, for example, would likely achieve fluency in French very quickly because 40 percent of Belgians speak French as their first language.

On a related note, the CEFR estimates don’t take into account how easy or difficult a given language is for a European language learner. Common sense would dictate that Spanish is a lot easier for a native Portuguese speaker to learn than Arabic or Chinese.

A Multilingual’s Perspective on How Long Does it Take to Become Fluent

All that said, with a huge grain of salt, I think it’s fair to assume that it could take somewhere between 500 – 1,000 hours for a language learner to feel very comfortable with most languages. When I say, “feel very comfortable,” I mean that you’d feel comfortable speaking with native speakers, understanding their speech at their normal speed, be able to speak freely and fluidly without consciously translating words in your mind, and read and write the language without too much difficulty.

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To be clear, you absolutely would not be able to use the language as freely as a native speaker. But accent aside, you might be mistaken as a fluent speaker. So long as you stayed within a narrow band of topics… This has been my own experience speaking several of the languages I know. It also seems to be the case with my wife, for whom English is her fourth or fifth language.

Many factors dictate how long does it take to achieve mastery and become fluent in a foreign language. Many of them, like innate ability, have not been mentioned here. However, some general information and a bit of self-understanding make it entirely possible for you to reasonably estimate how much time is necessary to achieve your desired level of fluency in a new language.

(Video) How to become FLUENT IN ENGLISH / How long does it take

You Need Patience to Become Fluent in a Language

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True language fluency requires consistent effort and time, and while 500 – 1,000 hours may seem like a lot, a typical person could probably invest that level of time over 12 – 18 months, with the right study schedule. And if that still seems a bit overwhelming, bear in mind that this is what it might take to achieve a certain level of fluency. You may be perfectly happy just getting by with the bare basics, and that takes far less time. I cover this more in-depth in the following section.

As we’ve discovered, there is no simple answer to the question of how long it takes to learn a new language. There are far too many variables, including how fluency is defined, which language is being learned, how much exposure the language learner previously had to other languages, whether immersion is part of the process, and other factors. But the information I’ve provided should give you a good grip on approximately how long it will take you to reach your language learning goals.


Can you become fluent in a language in a year? ›

They've suggested that a person can become fluent in language for social contexts in six months to two years. However, it can take 5-7 years to become fluent in academic language. So within one year, it's absolutely possible to get fluent in a language for social uses, although probably not for academic purposes.

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

And The Easiest Language To Learn Is…
  1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. ...
  2. Swedish. ...
  3. Spanish. ...
  4. Dutch. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Indonesian. ...
  7. Italian. ...
  8. French.
Nov 9, 2021

Can duolingo make you fluent? ›

We see this question a lot and the answer is: yes. Duolingo is a free language-learning platform, and every language and lesson is totally free!

Can you become fluent in a language after 25? ›

You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm.

What language is hardest to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

What is the best age to learn a language? ›

They concluded that the ability to learn a new language, at least grammatically, is strongest until the age of 18 after which there is a precipitous decline. To become completely fluent, however, learning should start before the age of 10.

What is the #1 hardest language to learn? ›

1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons.

What is the number 1 language to learn? ›

Top Languages Spoken Worldwide
RankLanguageTotal Speakers
1English1,132 million
2Mandarin Chinese1,117 million
3Hindi615 million
4Spanish534 million
6 more rows
Aug 27, 2021

Can someone understand a language but not speak it? ›

But, some people may end up getting the shorter end of the stick — they can sometimes only understand a language without actually being able to speak it — a phenomenon officially called receptive multilingualism.

Which is better Babbel or Duolingo? ›

Is Babbel better than Duolingo? After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning program, we feel that Babbel is better than Duolingo for multiple reasons. Based on the strength of their curriculum, teaching style and delivery, we rate Babbel as the superior app over Duolingo.

Can you actually learn a language while sleeping? ›

Not a lot, unfortunately. As Jennifer Ackerman notes in her splendid 2007 book Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream, learning a language while sleeping “is probably impossible, [and] attempts to teach slumbering adult subjects vocabulary of foreign languages or lists of items have failed miserably.”

Which is better Duolingo or Rosetta Stone? ›

Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.

What age is too late to learn a language? ›

It does not matter how old you are, it is never too late to start learning a foreign language. Many language learners are put off by their advancing years; they believe age is a barrier to learning an entirely new language. However, this is not the case.

Is 21 too old to learn a language? ›

Although it's more difficult for learners over the age of 18 to nail a new language's grammar and accent, adults are still good at learning new languages. In fact, there are some benefits to learning a new language later in life.

Is 27 too old to learn a language? ›

It may be challenging at times, but you are never too old to learn a language.

What language did Jesus speak? ›

Most religious scholars and historians agree with Pope Francis that the historical Jesus principally spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Through trade, invasions and conquest, the Aramaic language had spread far afield by the 7th century B.C., and would become the lingua franca in much of the Middle East.

What is the 2 hardest language? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

Is 30 too old to learn a language? ›

No matter how old you are, you're never too old to learn a new language. However, because your brain's ability to adapt and change decreases over time, you'll probably have to practice more.

Is 23 too late to learn a language? ›

Many people believe that you lose the ability to learn new languages as you get older. Language experts, however, will tell you that you're never too old to learn a new language. As you get older, it can be more difficult to learn a new language, though. Children and adults learn new languages in different ways.

Is 40 too old to learn a new language? ›

Are you ever too old to learn a new language? Well, the good news is that experts say you are never too old. Studies show that anyone at any age can learn a new language. In fact, it is even easier to start speaking in a foreign language now with all the advanced technology available on the market.

Which language is most spoken in the world? ›

These are the most spoken languages in the world
  • English – 1,121 million speakers. ...
  • Mandarin Chinese – 1,107 million speakers. ...
  • Hindi – 698 million speakers. ...
  • Spanish – 512 million speakers. ...
  • French – 284 million speakers. ...
  • Arabic – 273 million speakers. ...
  • Bengali – 265 million inhabitants. ...
  • Russian – 258 million speakers.
Jun 4, 2022

Is English the hardest language ever? ›

As we've seen, then, English is pretty challenging. But it's not the only contender for the World's Most Difficult Language. Other notoriously tricky languages include Finnish, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin.

What is the 5 hardest language? ›

5 of the most hardest languages to learn in the world
  • Mandarin.
  • Japanese.
  • Arabic.
  • Xhosa.
  • Russian.
Apr 13, 2022

What language will be most spoken in 2050? ›

Mandarin. Mandarin is likely to be the most spoken language in 2050 because of its vast number of speakers. The economic influence of China will also prove vital for the continued use and spread of Chinese languages around the world.

What is the most spoken language in the US? ›

English is by far the most prominent spoken language in the U.S., with over 239 million English-speaking people across the country.

Do bilinguals think in two languages? ›

The new research by Panos Athanasopoulos, Professor of Linguistics and English language at Lancaster University, has found that bilinguals think and behave like two different people, depending on the language context they are operating in.

What percent of the world is bilinguals? ›

We combined this with further research into global language use statistics to bring you all of the most up-to-date facts and figures on the topic of bilingualism and multilingualism in 2022. There are approximately 3.3 billion bilingual people worldwide, accounting for 43% of the population.

Why can I read Spanish but not speak it? ›

Some people talk about dormant or passive bilingualism, but there is nothing passive in understanding a language. Your brain works at full speed to process foreign sounds and give them meaning. So, when you can understand and read Spanish but cannot speak it, you're receptively bilingual.

Has anyone become fluent using Babbel? ›

You will most likely not become fluent with Babbel. It's a solid language app and can give you a strong foundation in your target language, but to achieve fluency, you'll need to use other resources. While it won't help you become fluent, Babbel can help you improve your language skills.

What is the success rate of Babbel? ›

Babbel Language Proficiency Gain:

Overall 92% of the participants improved their language proficiency. Babbel users need on average 21 hours of study in a two-month period to cover the requirements for one college semester of Spanish.

Is it worth paying for Babbel? ›

Babbel can add value depending on the language you're studying. Still, because each program is developed alone, the quality and depth of the courses may differ. For instance, one of the best-developed courses with extensive lessons is Spanish, which is worth the monthly cost.

Are bilinguals smarter? ›

Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century.

Can you learn a language by listening to music? ›

Can you learn a language through music? Yes. One of the best ways to learn a language through music is to find songs in your target language, sung by native speakers and to listen to them over and over again, while also trying to sing along. You'll quickly learn the words to the song and their correct pronunciation.

Does listening to words while sleeping help memorize? ›

But a new study by Northwestern University researchers indicates that, depending on what we hear during the night, it is indeed possible to reinforce existing memories and enhance our recall after we wake up.

Can Duolingo get you to B2? ›

At Duolingo, we're developing our courses to get you to a level called B2, at which you can get a job in the language you're studying. Reaching that kind of proficiency requires dedication, varied practice opportunities, and a lot of time.

Who uses Duolingo the most? ›

Learners around the globe take up multiple languages

The countries where the most learners study three or more languages on Duolingo are Finland (#1) and the U.K. (#2). Finland's polyglot population isn't too surprising, given 93% of adults in the country report speaking more than one language.

How much does Rosetta Stone cost a month? ›

There is no free version of the Rosetta Stone program. A paid Rosetta Stone Subscription starts at $11.99 per month. It's definitely worth trying it for free before you pay for a subscription.

Is 26 too old to learn a language? ›

And while it's never too late to begin learning a language, it's never too early, either. The earlier children emerge as bilinguals, the more years they have to benefit from the many blessings that being bilingual confers.

How many hours a week should I learn a new language? ›

For most people, around 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of language exposure a day is a schedule that will give you great results. It's a model that's sustainable over a long period to help you reach fluency.

Can you subconsciously learn a language? ›

Sadly, subliminal language learning doesn't really exist, at least not to the extent that people hope it does. However, even though it's impossible to become completely fluent in your sleep, you can still use sleep, coupled with other learning strategies, to strengthen your vocabulary recall.

At what age does it become harder to learn? ›

It's strongly believed that once we hit 25, the brain's plasticity solidifies. This makes it harder to create neural pathways. In turn, this can mean it's tougher to learn new skills.

Is it difficult to learn Japanese? ›

The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex.

At what age can you learn a language without an accent? ›

The ability to perceive these phonemic contrasts evidently persists for several more years, as evidenced by the fact that children can learn to speak a second language without accent and with fluent grammar until about age 7 or 8.

Does Duolingo actually work? ›

Research has shown that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a new language, but don't just take our word for it: Hear from a few learners who have been using Duolingo to achieve their learning goals!

How many languages can I learn in 1 year? ›

If your goal is quantity, you could learn four languages at a basic level in just one year.

Can you master a language in 6 months? ›

Any adult can learn a second language in 6 months

He reached conversational fluency in as little as 6 months, and within 2 years, was speaking like a Chinese native speaker.

How long does it take to learn a language years? ›

To reach an advanced level in a foreign language you will need at least 480 hours. The majority of people are not able to learn a language 'full-time' so it can take a few years. If you dedicated 3 hours per week to language study this would equate to anywhere between 3 years and 14 years of language learning!

Can I become fluent in a language in 5 months? ›

The short answer? It varies. Learning a new language isn't the same process for every single person. It can take as little as three months or as many as two years to learn how to write, speak, and read fluently in a new language.

Is it efficient to learn 2 languages at once? ›

If your brain is already set up to learn languages, it's a great idea to learn more than one at the same time. On the other hand, if you've never learned another language, you might want to start with just one. Find out why it's a good idea and how to learn languages quickly by reading on.

Is it OK to learn 3 languages at once? ›

Yes, it is possible to learn many languages at once!

There are many methods you can use to learn more than one language at once. Here are some of my best recommendations. As for the these tips, you can try some or all – ultimately it's about finding the technique that works for you!

How many languages can your brain handle? ›

An average person can speak two to four languages in a lifetime. However, human brains work differently, and an average person's brain can handle a maximum of four languages. It takes one year to learn the basics of a language for an average person.

Is 30 too late to learn a language? ›

No matter how old you are, you're never too old to learn a new language. However, because your brain's ability to adapt and change decreases over time, you'll probably have to practice more.

Does it look good to take 4 years of language? ›

3-4 years of the same language does look good to college admissions officers. There are some colleges that actually require applicants to have studied 3+ years of the same language at the high school level or above.

Is it hard to learn language after 30? ›

Adults are actually better in many ways at learning a language up to a point of general fluency, but getting to where you can answer the most subtle of grammatical points with the accuracy of a native speaker takes a decade no matter how old you are when you start.

What is the fastest way to learn a language? ›

Top tips from experts to learn a language quickly
  1. Take risks and speak the language whenever you can.
  2. Read children's books and comic books in the foreign language.
  3. Consume foreign language media.
  4. Immerse yourself in the local culture.
  5. Make use of free foreign language podcasts and apps.
Mar 3, 2015

Is 1 hour a day enough to learn a language? ›

With a busy work life, finding the time to commit to a new language can be a challenge in itself. But experts agree that it's more than possible to make meaningful progress in just one hour a day. Not only that, the skills gained from practicing a new language can feel like superpowers in the workplace and beyond.

Is it too late to learn a language at 50? ›

Learn a Language in Your Fifties: It's Never Too Late to Get Started. There's some truth to what the naysayers are telling you. Neuroplasticity does decrease with age, and learning a language in your fifties might prove to be more challenging than learning it in elementary school.

Is 5 years old too late to learn a language? ›

Children can become fluent at any age

Contrary to what you may have heard or read, there is no hard and fast age before which a child has to start learning a language to be able to speak it well. Children of any age can become fluent in a language.


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