HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN A LANGUAGE? 0
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN A LANGUAGE?

 

According to FSI (Foreign Service Insititute of US Department of State) you need ca 750h to learn Spanish or French, 900h to learn German, 1100h to learn Polish or Russian and 2200h to learn Arabic or Chinese.

Here is a more thorough and detailed analysis:

The languages are analysed from an English speaker's point of view and divided into 4 categories. You have to keep in mind that a learner doesn't have a prior knowledge of the language and doesn't find learning languages particularly difficult. This is based on the experience of how much time student need to reach professional working proficiency. The hours given in brackets indicate class hours, or in other words the time spent to introduce the new material and practice a bit. These do not include self-study time on revising and memorising that material! Without further ado, here's the category breakdown:

CATEGORY I: 600-720h (24-30 weeks) English-cognate languages

24 weeks: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Danish, Romanian

30 weeks: French

CATEGORY II: 900h (36 weeks) a bit more difficult than the C1

36 weeks: German, Swahili, Malay, Indonesian, Haitian Creole

CATEGORY III: 1100h (44 weeks) hard languages (with significant linguistic and cultural differences)

44 weeks: Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Slovak, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Albanian, Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbo-Croatian, Ukrainian, and some more

CATEOGRY IV: 2200h (88 weeks)

88 weeks: Arabic, Chinese (both for Mandarin or Cantonese), Japanese, Korean

 

Some additional good news:

If you are learning a very closely realted languages it takes significantly less time

CATEGORY 1A 10-12 weeks

ca. 10-12 weeks when learning Czech-Slovak, Indonesian-Malay, Macedonian-Bulgarian

CATEGORY 1B 14-18 weeks

ca. 14-18 weeks when learning Thai-Lao, Russian-Ukrainian, Spanish-Portuguese

CATEGORY 1C 18 - 30 - 44 weeks

18-22 weeks: 2 Germanic languages (Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish)

30-36 weeks: 2 Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian)

44 weeks: Bulgarian or Macedonian-Russian

How much time have you spent on learning your foreign language(s)?

 

 

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