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How long to learn a language?

 Can you become fluent in a language in a year?

How long does it take to learn a foreign language?


Several factors apply in determining the length of time it takes to learn a foreign language. Depending on your language goals, this number can vary even more. Some people are interested in learning just enough to get by, while others want to be comfortable in business and social conversations. Some even have the goal of gaining fluency. Suppose you are interested in becoming fluent in a language, and this includes writing abilities. In that case, you can expect it to take close to ten years until you can completely, comprehensively understand the language. Being fluent in a foreign language indicates that you have achieved the same skill level as in your first language.


Most people, however, are not striving for fluency. Participating in social and business conversations is still a fairly advanced level and will likely require taking some language courses. There are numerous types of programs offered at language schools. The most beneficial programs are one-on-one learning courses with one student and one teacher. Group courses help but are much less effective. With one-on-one training, you can go at your own pace and have guidance through each step of the way.


Your current knowledge of a foreign language is also a factor. If you have already studied your target language a bit in school, or have spent some time in the country of origin, you may be on a faster track to your goals. Some languages are also easier to learn than others, depending on your first language. For example, Dutch is often the easiest for people who have English as a first language. In addition to language school programs, and the previous level of ability, some people are naturally gifted with learning a foreign language. As you see, there are several numbers of factors involved in determining how long it will take any given person to learn a foreign language. Still, it is an attainable goal so long as you have appropriate instruction and the necessary dedication.

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