How Long Does It Take To Learn a New Language?

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The time it takes to learn a new language is one of the most common concerns for those starting to learn. However, there is no exact answer to this as various factors come into play. 

According to the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), it takes 10 hours per day for 48 days to master a language for basic fluency. This can turn to 72 days for the harder languages. This is also another blanket way to look at it without considering the learner and the different capabilities. 

Not all languages take the same time to learn. Some are harder compared to others. For example, French and German are easier to learn compared to Arabic and Chinese. 

The FSI also provides various fluency levels to learning a language.  These are the elementary, limited working, minimum professional, full professional, and native or bilingual proficiencies. These proficiencies grow as you master the second language. 

Factors that determine how long it takes to learn a new language 

Here are some of the major factors that determine how long you take to learn a new language.

  • The time you can set aside for learning 

Even though the FSI provides for 10 hours a day when detailing the language learning period, most people cannot afford that time every day. However, the more time you can find the more content you get to grasp hence increases the chances of learning the language.

  • Age

Age remains a factor when it comes to learning a new language. It takes a short time to learn a new language in childhood compared to adulthood. When younger, the brain is still developing to absorb new words and ideas. By then you are also still learning your first language and can take up a new one. You are also willing to learn and unafraid to make mistakes.

In adulthood, you never have the time to set aside for learning. By then you also have impacts from the first language and the brain has fully developed.

  • Learning tools 

The technique you use to learn the language matters. If you are looking to learn the language faster, you need a detailed course to learn any language online at your convenience. You should then complement it with the other tools like films and music from the target language. The tools allow you to learn and practice more for faster mastery.

  • Consistency 

How often you are willing to learn determines how long it takes to master the language. You would rather set aside a few minutes every day to learn than even 10 hours once a month. Without consistency, you will find it hard to grow your language acquisition skills. With time it might feel like you only learn the same things over and over again then end up quitting.

  • Your attitude

Learning new language tests more than your mastery skills. It also requires your mental strength. Some languages like Arabic are hard to master and will need you to keep going even if you feel it ain’t for you. As long as you have the right attitude you will be willing to look for the right tools and stay consistent. 

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