How Long to Learn English?

 In Study In The USA

There are different ways of measuring proficiency in a language which is not your own, and different figures given to the number of hours it might take to learn English. Those whose native language is so completely different to English – Chinese, Japanese, Arabic speakers for example – will take considerably longer to attain fluency than a person whose language  – or etymology – shares a lot of root words with English, such as Spanish or Italian.

How long does it take to learn English?

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What school can offer you an effective English language immersion in the time you have set aside for studies? Is the course part-time or full-time?  How many hours of class instruction a day? Courses can run for as short as 4 weeks and as long as a year, or in increments of 10 or 12 weeks.

The longer that you can study English abroad the better. If your English skills are at the Beginner Level, then less than one month abroad is a waste of time and money.

Some linguists and other say that the time it takes for a beginner to learn English is about 360 hours.  Others say 480 hours is needed for those whose language is considered somewhat different to English and up to 720 hours when the language, including the writing system, has not root similarities to English.

But all these estimates are moot if the learner is really determined to learn a language in an optimal academic environment, with quality teachers, proven teaching methods and advanced learning tools and technology, and language immersion activities.

For the individual student, language learning is dependent on three factors:

  • the attitude of the learner
  • the time available
  • the learner’s native language and writing system

If the student is considered a beginner, and able to put in 10 hours a day to learn a language, then basic fluency is achievable within 48 days to 72 days, depending on the native language spoken. So between 2 and 3 months. That’s an intense program!

If you study for  5 hours a day, you should achieve basic fluency in 6 months.  How long it takes to learn English is dependent on many factors.  The time you have to take out and study will determine the level of proficiency you achieve, and it will be accelerated by other choices such as academic standard of the school, cultural immersion, and your own attitude!

Download our e-Guide How To Study English in the USA and know how to choose the English course which best fits you!

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