How Many Hours to Learn a language?


We discussed the benefit of learning a language for kids, for business and for elders. But how many hours to learn a language?

There are many official figures about the hours you need to reach different levels of a language. The hours are different for different languages, but mostly it requires about 500 hours to reach an intermediate level. At this level, you can communicate with native speakers on common topics without much difficulties. If you want to read more, please have a look of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages .

There are also many unofficial discussions about how long it usually takes to become fluent in a language. Below is a summary:

Hours to master a language

Hours to master a language (Source: Quora)

However, these official figures are not for individuals. They are just a guild line for education organisations; and the unofficial discussions is for different individuals. We all know “Aesop’s Fables”, Aesop can only tell the young man how long it will take him to Athens after observing how fast he can walk.

The key point here is to focus on hours not years! If you look at the above table, it will take 8 years to master a language if you only spend 5 hours per week. This may scar away many people.

Remember, the hours you need to learning a language depending on below factors:

  1. Your goal: The hours you need really depend on what you want to achieve. This is your GOAL or destination. Some high school students just want to get “A” on their Mandarin or Japanese class score card, this goal is achievable in 10 hours to 20 hours depending on their levels and abilities. We have helped couple of high school students successfully get “A” score.  A student wants to continue advanced Mandarin, so we have one hour per week lesson discussing tops and news interested and answer the questions. This is a continuing learning, no hour limitation.
  2. Your ability: Everyone is different. This is not only the IQ or learning ability, it also includes your ability to allocate your time. Someone can be sponsored by the company and have an extensive lesson during business hours, but most people have to learn in their own spare time.
  3. The teacher: We all know how important a teacher is. A good teacher not only teach the contents but also increase your interest of the subject. We know some children hate learning a language because they didn’t meet a good teacher. For children class, we not only teach the basic language skills we also keep their interest about the language; for business class, we not only teaching the language but also the way to learn the language.
  4. The Class: We offer small group class, duo class and private lesson. No matter what your situations are we can find a solution for you. Some people are good at group lesson, some people prefer private lesson. We would suggest children start with group lesson so they can learning with friends; for people who have specific goals like high school students, a private lesson is suitable to help them with their homework and assignments; for business people who need to visit overseas an extensive language course is more efficient.

Here at Lyrebird Language Centre, we believe the best way to learn a language is task based, not academic level based. Certificates are important, but language is practical and vivid. If you can use the language to communicate, your are perfect.

So how many hours you need to learn a language? Tell us your goal and your ability so we will give you the answer.

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