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How long does it take to learn a second language?

Do you want to learn English so that you can communicate effectively with friends, colleagues, business partners, or because you would like to be as proficient in English as you are in your own language?

What do think about this?

Mar 20, 2013 5:15 PM
Comments · 16

She makes some good points in the article, but she never defines what she means by "fluent". Then she comes out with this whopper:

"If, for the sake of argument, we consider fluency to be the same as being an “expert” in speaking a language, then a learner may well invest 10,000 hours in their language studies to attain fluency."

The thing is, 10,000 hours will get you to near-native in even the most dificult language. I don't like the term "fluent" because everybody has a different definition. She defines it as a very high level; higher than I care to acheive. For comparison, C2, the highest level in CEFR, can be reached in 5,000 hours in the most difficult languages.

February 20, 2015

"How long does it really take to learn a second language? The short answer is, it depends."

(Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton is an educational leader, researcher, author and professional speaker.)


read more:


February 20, 2015

I want to learn English so that you can communicate effectively with friends and colleagues!

August 22, 2013

@ Der Terminator, I am learning German so that I can communicate effectively with friends, colleagues, business partners. What about you?

April 26, 2013

Can one be as proficient in a language as they are in their mother tongue? Some people come real close, but I have yet to see anybody who actually does it. As you said, though, it all depends on how good we want to be, really: you can probably engage in smalltalk after, say, a month or two of dedicated study. I'd say four or five months to be able to interact with others in the workplace. But to really master all the subtleties and nuances of your target language, that can take a lifetime. Personally, I would like to speak all the languages I know as proficiently as their greatest writers, but since that does not seem the least bit feasable, I'll settle for the next best thing: being able to read for those writers without any external help. :)



What about you, M.K.? How good do you want to get at the languages you are learning? How long are you expecting that to take?



March 28, 2013
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Language Skills
Bosnian, Croatian, English, Finnish, Italian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish
Learning Language
Finnish, Italian, Spanish