How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language?

by Sarra Khechremi, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle on 29th January, 2020

Learning a new language may seem a very challenging, long and frankly daunting task. Sometimes you might find it hard to motivate yourself. However, it can turn out to be easy, if you take the right approach.

Before learning a language, many people obsess over how long it takes to achieve fluency. Whether you have unrealistic expectations or are overwhelmed by the time it takes - these thoughts are always demotivating. You limit yourself, your skills and make it harder to take the first steps.

speak a different language

How long does it take to learn a language?

When it comes to learning a language, the most crucial element is time. Some say it takes only three months to learn a language with reasonable fluency; others say it's a long process and takes years.

The truth is, the time it takes to learn a new language depends on many factors and there is no specific period of time applied to everyone.

Here are some factors that play a role in the process of learning a new language:

The mental faculties associated with learning a language

This involves memory, attention, perception, etc. These cognitive abilities vary from person to person. Some people may be good at memorization and they memorize faster than others.

Other people may pay attention to similarities and differences in words and phrases more often than others. It is important to know that each individual has their own pace.

Learning a language is a skill

Nobody has the same language skill, technique or background.

The similarities between the language you're learning and your native language

For example, a native french speaker may find it easier to learn Italian than a native English speaker. Or a native Russian speaker may find it easy to learn Ukrainian because they are part of the Slavic language family.

learn a language

The time you devote to learning the language

For example, someone who dedicates an hour a day exposes themselves to the language more often than someone who doesn't practice on a daily basis.

Because they are training their brain to get used to the language, and to the pronunciation. As a result, they will be achieving more progress than someone who doesn't practice daily.

To be fluent and learn pronunciation takes time

Pronunciation may take years of practice to sound native. It depends on the language, some languages may be more challenging than others. It depends on how much exposure and immersion you have to the language as well.

How many languages you are learning

Some people might be learning two languages at the same time. Eventually, it will take them longer to learn.

How to learn a new language fast and easily?

The goal of many people who wants to learn a foreign language is to achieve basic fluency in the shortest period of time. They put on themselves so much pressure to achieve their goal that they become tired, bored and they don't learn fast.

However, the goal here is to get as good as we can in the shortest time possible.

learn a new language

Here are 12 easy steps you can take to learn a language fast and in a fun way:

An hour a day is a great and effective way to start

Whether early in the morning, late in the evening or maybe when you're having a lunch break. Taking an extra hour of your day is not that difficult.

Set a goal and challenge yourself

This is important to be able to learn a new language in the shortest time that you possibly can. An hour every day is enough.

Don't take a long break from learning a language

By the time you next come to learn you may have already forgotten what you've learned. So make it your daily routine.

Analyze the similarities between your native language and the language you want to learn

This method helps you develop a pattern, and make it easier to know the meaning of these similar words.

native language

Keep it simple

Focus on the easy words, the phrases that are used very often and memorize the words that look similar.

Don't focus only on grammar and vocabulary

Learning grammar and vocabulary is important but focusing on it will not make you fluent fast. Take children as an example, they learn fast by being immersed and exposed to the language.

They listen to pick up, memorize and then use the words and phrases. Technically, you are not born with a language we are being simply immersed and surrounded by a language from a very early age.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

When it comes to situations where you need to use that language. It may surprise you that in these situations you can't find the words fast.

This can be because you either are too unconfident and blocking yourself by being afraid to make mistakes or because you don't expose yourself enough to the language.

Passive learning is a good way to expose yourself to the language

There are many ways of passive learning. For example, listening to the radio while you're cooking, watching your favorite movie in that foreign language with subtitles, listening to podcasts for beginners or even listening to music.

learning a new language

This helps you expand your vocabulary and improves your pronunciation. Good pronunciation will make you sound more fluent than you may or may not be.

Enjoy the process

It is very important to make it easy and fun.

Switch your phone or computer to the language you want to be good at

This is an easy way to improve your learning and to remind yourself of your goal.

Don't neglect the active form of learning

Try to write and speak in that new language, even with yourself. It is very important to practice.

Educate yourself about the culture

More often we associate languages with cultures. You may or may not admire the culture of the language you want to learn but it is helpful to know a little bit about that foreign culture.

Taking the right approach will help you achieve fluency completely on your own. Speaking a foreign language has many advantages and will open doors for you. Like the saying: "A different language is a different vision of life." Federico Fellini

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