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#1 padfoot

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 12:10 AM

Didn't know where to post this but for those who speak more than one language, about how long did it take for you to become fluent? I'm interested in learning one or two more languages so I'm just curious :o

#2 Kim.

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 02:39 AM

It depends on how much effort you put into learning a language, in all honesty. On average, it takes about 2000-2500 hours to become fluent in a Western language that operates on the Latin alphabet. Eastern languages, and languages with different script, do require much more time to study and become fluent in them.

I've studied Spanish for a little over 10 years. The first four years of my studies were very simple. It wasn't until the end of middle school/the beginning of high school that I learned the tools needed to acquire higher efficiency in speaking and writing Castillian Spanish. It also helped that in my tenth year I taught and tutored my district's summer school, in three levels of Spanish, for about 100 hours. The following year, I did more tutoring.

Teaching, or talking to, someone about what you are studying will help solidify your knowledge in understanding grammatical rules and speaking inside and out. This goes for almost anything. Most of my former teachers admitted that while studying in university was beneficial, they didn't truly understand their coursework until they did their practicum.

Most people say English is a difficult language to segue way into, for non-native speakers, because of its varied syntax, grammatical rules, and colloquialisms. Most native English speakers do not even understand these rules, yet it only takes them about until their fourth year of age to become fluent in a language. That is something intriguing. Part of it has to do with the open, non-judgmental social environment they were surrounded with while growing.

I stopped studying Spanish because I hit a wall, so to speak. I felt that I could not go any further without travelling to a Spanish-speaking country and studying abroad for a few months. I took up Ancient Greek in my first year of university, for a semester, and had already been studying Modern Greek for two years prior. Although I understand basic sentences and can write simple phrases and questions, etc., I did not spend the same amount of effort studying Greek as I did Spanish.

I found it intimidating to learn. :doh: But, sometime soon I will resume studying.

What languages, if you don't mind me asking, are you interested in studying?

If it is a Romance language, I am sure you will have good knowledge on the composition of the given language's words if you have a decent knowledge of Latin--its derivative. Once you become fluent in a second language, and move onto the next, it will be much easier to learn a language and pick it up quite fast.

For those who do not believe they may be able to learn a language at a late age, it isn't ever too late to do so.

Putting aside a half an hour of studying a day, rather than an hour or two, will ensure that there is more consistency in becoming fluent. Small steps breed bigger goals, rather than larger steps to larger goals. Dividing your time out among the week and devoting a good amount of time per week will also ensure better reflection.

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#3 padfoot

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:10 AM

Thanks for the detailed post Kim ;) Very useful, again. Umm, Italian and I'm not sure which others yet :P

#4 Arie

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:12 AM

I am fluent in English (obv lol) Hebrew and Yiddish

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#5 Kim.

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:12 AM

Thanks for the detailed post Kim ;) Very useful, again. Umm, Italian and I'm not sure which others yet :P


Sorry. :doh: I do get to go off on tangents occasionally.
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Edited by Lena, 20 March 2011 - 04:13 AM.

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A BIG thanks to the beautiful BoMa, my big sister <3. I know I haven't been around much to talk, but you're more than amazing and I'm so happy to receive this graphic as a gift. Thanks for being so kind-hearted. ;)

Quotes Which Resonate with Me:
"There is no success without determination" -K.S., #24. RIP <3, 2009.
"I don't need any of you to approve of my decisions, I need ya'll to respect them" -Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side'.
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstance. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them." -George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright.

#6 Strawberry

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:42 AM

eh bout 2-3 years?

i still have a lot more to learn but yeah idk lmao
i think its easier if you actually like it and really want to learn it
and i also think its better if you start by watching or listening to shows/movies/songs in that language
i think is better like that to hear and learn how they express along with the grammar and shiz
idk how to explain lol but um yeah :3

#7 I am Not Purple

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 01:24 PM

Well the older you get the harder it will be. But I agree with the above, Kim and Denisse. I have no idea in how many years I learned English. I mean I started with 5/6, was often in England, Canada and at last I lived in the States.

Yeah, it's more important to listen and speak. I also would advice you to watch tv, movies etc in that foreign language. Grammar is secondary.

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#8 ~Roni~

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 02:07 PM

Umm, well, I'm fluent in Hebrew and English.
I'm don't usually like saying that I'm fluent in English, cuz I do get stuck sometimes when you catch me off guard lol. :P It's much easier for me to write in English than to start a conversation. Although once I get into it, it's all good :)
And it's a long proccess I guess, I'm always learning.
They teach you the grammer and stuff at school, since the 2nd grade I think. until you graduate.
but really I learned it mostly from reading HP, watching movies, posting in forums lol, you know, getting used to the language and really using it, rather than learning it theoretically in class.
and I keep learning all the time :) you know, hopefully, I keep getting better the more that I use it.

I also learned Spanish by watching telenovelas for yeaaaaars :P
now I can understand basically everything they're saying without reading the subtitles, and I can also speak a bit. :P
It's easier when it gets to songs, there are a billion songs in spanish that I know by heart lol, and I understand every word of them.

I also learned French for 6 years at school, but because I never got to use it, it sort of faded away... I barely remember how to speak, but I so sometimes understand it when I hear people speaking it.

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#9 Mrs Duck

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 06:02 PM

Learning English fluently was a process of course, started in school at age 7. When I was 11 my English was useless but I put my mind to learning so I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at 12 and by 15/16 I was pretty much fluent. :) But you know English was easy to learn because it's everywhere! If you want to learn Italian it'll be more difficult. But strongly suggest watching loads of Italian movies/television with first english subtitles and then switch to italian. Start reading books as soon as you feel you know enough. Maybe even read small articles in Italian online... depending on how good you are with languages (this is so different from person to person) it'll take at least a year to learn enough to be able to hold a conversation. To be fluent you would probably have to spend some time in Italy too.

#10 Will

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 02:05 AM

If you want to learn a new language, I just have three words to you: attitude, time and practice.

#11 Bright_Star

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 11:21 AM

Well, I speak Dutch of course. And I have an Advanced Cambridge Certificate in English, so I dare say I'm quite fluent at that as well. I think I primarily learnt it from reading and writing English a lot and of course being a member of these forums :). I've also become pretty good at German over the past few years, but I wouldn't say I'm fluent at it; I can read and write it properly, but my vocabulary is not that big yet. I've taken French for seven years, but I've never felt I'm ever going to be really fluent at it...German is easier to learn for me of course since it's related to Dutch.
Anyway, I think learning a language goes best if you read it a lot and watch tv programs in that language. And visiting the country in which the language is spoken helps as well.

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#12 Antares

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:42 PM

The only other language I speak is English and I'm not sure I'd call myself fluent. I suppose I first tried to understand English texts about 18 years ago and am still learning, but I only spent about 7 years actively learning it at school.
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#13 Bagel of Death

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 07:33 PM

I'm bilingual in English and Spanish. I was born and spent most of my childhood in Cuba, so Spanish is my native tongue. Then I came to the states when I was 11 and began learning English. It took me about 1 year to communicate somewhat effectively with people. After a few years of practice (about 3 or 4) I started to speak it fluently. I still have an accent when I speak it, however I know how to carry an articulate conversation/debate. This is not to brag, but I've been told by my peers, friends and family that my English is impressive even compared to the average American.

There are many factors in a person's ability to learn a new language. It would depend on your aptitude, your prior training, the number of languages you now speak, and the level you expect to reach in the new language which you are planning to undertake. There have been many attempts by the U.S. military to teach specific languages to a handful of talented students, but it is not an easy task in a short amount of time. I would think one year at 12 to 15 hours per day with constant exposure to the new language for at least 50 weeks to reach a decent milestone level. (My father's friend is a licensed CA smog inspector. :P)

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#14 Imagine

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 07:47 PM

Fluent in English (see what i did there?),decently versed in Italian and I can read French but cannot speak it.

French has been my learning language since i was young, I can read French really well and in fact I do buy books in french to test myself it just takes me like a decade to finish the books lol. However I cannot speak it well, i can't get the words to sound proper so i epically fail on that part.

Italian is my other language, this is due to my boyfriend and his entire family speaking it fluently all the damn time. I can speak Italian but cannot read/write Italian well. I personally love this language the most, so that is why i am trying to get myself to learn how to read/write it too.


My mother was the master of all languages lol, she used to always impress me with her ability to pick up a language. Because she was a business woman she had to speak to people all over the world. My mum was fluent in French and Japanese. And could speak Spanish, German and Russian well, not fluently but she could speak it decently well. SO i know it runs in my family lol it is just having the discipline.



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#15 Mia

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:10 PM

im a born Chinese speaker,but i believe im almost fluent in english.i learnt it when i was about 8.Having been practising a lot,I can read english newspapers despite some unfamiliar words without many difficulties and do translation work.Besides my professor who is Scottish thinks i got an English accent which I have practised a lot:P

However,German,as my third language,has brought a big problem to me.I dont get the German's logic and the classification of nouns.These "der,das" and other articles are so annoying.

Apart from these,i picked up some French during my two-week stay.

Edited by Mia, 05 August 2011 - 04:11 PM.


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#16 I.SetFire2TheRain

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:56 PM

I'm fluent in English and Swedish. I have also studied spanish for 7 years, but I am far from fluent. I failed the previous "level" as we call them. However I am not giving up because I love the language. I am hoping to travel to Spain (or any other Spanish speaking country) soon so that I can master the language better.

I want to learn Tamil because it is my mother tounge. I can only say a few words and phrases, I can't have a conversation or even read or write. I would also LOVE to learn French and Hindi. They are both beautiful languages and since I have indian roots I grew up watching bollywood films (I love them!!) That's a big reason for why I want to learn Hindi..
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