Fluent Korean or Japanese in 6 month?

Apparently I completely suck at language learning because After around 6 months of Japanese I can understand only simple sentences and beginner book level dialogue (barely). However, this guy says that he can teach fluent Korean or Japanese in 6 months.

I will admit I am my own worst enemy with japanese when it comes to reason #5. I just cannot stay positive and continue with so much uncertainty because it doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere, but can positive thinking really speed the process up that much??

Basically, he says that speaking from the first day, staying positive, watching korean dramas and tv shows you like will get you there quickly. I will admit it seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Do you know anyone who has learned a hard language in 6 months?


I think that speaking isn’t so hard. The hard part is writing and grammars. Especially in Korean, reading and writing can be very different. in Japanese, people have hard time in memorizing Kanji.
But I think without grammar, all you can do is just memorize all those sentences and vocabularies and expose yourself to the language all day. in my opinion, it’s just depending on people. Everybody has their own way to learn a language.

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That page is worse than buzzfeed when it comes to content per annoying gif ratio.

However, I should say I don’t agree with some of the points. Example, I don’t think we should learn like babies. What does that even mean anyways? We’re not babies, a lot of us are adults, and I don’t think I have time to learn like a baby (doesn’t that process take at least 6 years anyways?).


I don’t know about Korean or Japanese, but every time I’ve met someone who claims to have learned “fluent” Mandarin in 6 months, or whatever the relatively short timeframe may be, they tend to have horrific pronunciation.

It’s as if they were so concerned with starting to speak quickly that they put very little time into paying attention to the sounds and rhythm of the language and very little effort into getting the pronunciation down. Instead they just amassed as much vocabulary as possible to start speaking.

As a result, even though they may have the vocabulary to string some sentences together in a way they call “fluent”, they are almost entirely impossible to understand. It is a real strain to listen to them. I consider this not “fluent”, but practically useless. And no, they can’t understand native conversation as well as they think they can speak either.

(These often tend to be polyglots who are either overconfident in their abilities or like to show off. They claim B2 level but sound like it’s their first day learning the language.)

My advice. Forget these people. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on quality over quantity and it won’t really matter how long it takes you. At some point you will speak and understand, and be understood, with ease.


You don’t have 6 years to learn a language? You look pretty young in your profile picture lol

Seriously though, yeah I agree the “learn like babies” or “learn like children” allusion is annoying. I think it’s just a marketing ploy. Most people we see who successfully learned a language are people who immigrated and learned it as children, so we associate that with success. The uninitiated to language learning might just think that’s the only way to success.


That article basically reiterates all the principles that other polyglots often advise re: content, input, comprehension etc. As to the claim of “six months to fluent Korean”? Mmmmaybe. If you moved to Korea and studied and practiced every day, I guess you might be able to do it. But chances are it would still take you longer.

It takes a certain amount of exposure and practice to get fluent in a language. Some people try to pack that amount into a relatively short timeframe to get conversant and call it “fluency.” But I think most of us are happy to get an hour a day with our daily schedules. And under those circumstances, I don’t see anything wrong with taking a couple years to learn a language to decent level of usability.

When people claim they became fluent in a language such as japanese or korean in 6months there are several options:
->their definition of fluency is sooo low it is actually nothing more than a ‘‘survival level’’: Basicly something aroung A2. They can speak about the weather, ask for directions and introduce themselves: it’s great but it’s clearly not fluency, which the majority of experienced language learners consider to be a solid B2.
->Some people get wayyy too confident very quickly a soon as they make progresses, especially in the early stages because you learn so much at the beginning that you start feeling like fluency will soon be yours at this rate. But nope, the travel just began.
->Some people are really gifted at ‘‘talking’’ in general and are quite confident aswell, so even with low language skills they can just talk and talk and talk : from an outsider point of view you may think they are perfectly fluent even though they are actually making a lot of grammatical mistakes and are extremely limited in the subjects they can discuss and how indeepth they can discuss things because of their low vocab.
->Last option is that they are making up lies to show off.

Do not feel bad about yourself : learning a language takes time, and these articles are usually nothing but clickbaits that you shouldn’t mind.
Keep studying and you will get there eventually ! Good luck !

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I think the author of the article is suggesting for us to actually LEARN like babies.

It’s time to start making funny noises at strangers, throwing Gerber baby food at our relatives, and being loud and obnoxious in public. After all, “learning like a baby” is about trial and error!

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The only thing that becomes fluent in 6 months is Christmas snow.


I have to disagree. Even if you might mark me as one of those people just boasting and showing off, I am one of those who have learned to speak mandarin in six months and to speak it fluently in one year - no problems expressing every thought I want to tell anyone and no problems understanding natives in any situation, be it everyday life or work (no matter if they talk to each other or to me).

I agree with you that there are such people, a 你好 and something like 谢谢 and they think they are fluent. But just because you have met some of these guys, please do not think that real fluency in a short time is impossible.

Yes it is a lot of vocab, especially characters. Yes it is very hard to get the tones right, this is something special about Chinese. But other languages have a lot more complicated grammar instead. But the only way you will get them right is by listening and speaking a lot.
It is all about getting yourself immersed into the language and its environment. The more you hear (even without fully understanding), the more you will also be able to imitate correctly and thus, eventually, be able to speak.

I don’t know about Korean or Japanese (as has been asked originally), but I guess the situation is similar. Devote yourself fully to it for half a year to one year, at best in the respective country, and it is possible. But it will be hard work. And without the proper environment, I would say it is impossible, but that goes for all languages.

PS: If you don’t believe that I am fluent in Mandarin, you can try it out.

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I am sorry but there is absolutely no way you became fluent in Mandarin after just one year. Either the delusions are strong in this one or your requirements of fluency are extremely low


It depends on how much time spent. I think within one year someone could definitely learn amount of Chinese. Mr. Kaufman said he got to a conversant level in 9 months… but he was studying mandarin full time, 8-9 hours a day. So basically if you make learning a language your life you can do it.

I think 1 year, while in the county, with a good study routine and plenty of practice, is probably doable, especially if you take a “no speaking in any other language” pledge. I haven’t studied Mandarin, but having done Korean, I’d definitely take that challenge.

The original article and post referred to a “6 months to fluent” plan, while just studying at home. Which is more questionable.

May I ask why does it happen in Christmas snow? Is it because a dreamy / ideal combination between Christmas and snow?

Looking at your stats, I would say you need to do more reading, listening, LingQing. Your activity in the last week looks good. Maintain that pace for 3 months or 6 months and see where you are. People underestimate how much you should be doing these things. The LingQs and Known Words targets are great indicators here since they essentially show how much time and exposure you are getting. Keep it up! It will start to click with enough exposure.

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Can you define “speak” and “fluent” for us?

I’ve never heard of “speak” as defining a particular level of proficiency. That you could speak Mandarin in 6 months means almost nothing. I don’t know what that is supposed to even mean.

“Fluently” you seem to be defining as being comfortable in everyday conversation among friends or coworkers. Believable, because it seems a rather modest standard. I would call that being able to “speak”, the first “breakthrough” point perhaps.

Having “no problems expressing every thought” doesn’t tell us to what depth or precision you were able to express things. To my mind, fluency implies a certain depth, not just being able to express yourself.

Having “no problems understanding natives in any situation” either means in your familiar everyday conversations, or is a major overstatement as it implies you’d understand native speech on every topic, with jargon and slang, like a native – a highly dubious claim for 1 year.

“If you don’t believe that I am fluent in Mandarin, you can try it out.”

Well, how long ago was your first year of learning? If it was several years ago, your current ability won’t demonstrate your claims. Did you pass the HSK6 within or around your 1 year mark? What were your scores? That might give us a more conclusive estimation.

In the end though, I don’t want to stop you from saying you were “fluent” in 1 year, if that’s how you want to describe your abilities.

Personally, I started learning Mandarin about 15 years ago, coming to China 10 years ago, and have now been living here and working in translation for one of the top 10 agencies in the country for about 5 years… but I still wouldn’t make the claim of “no problems” in “any situation”.


Okay, you can interpret my words like you did… but that is not how they were meant.
My definition of fluency was not restricted to everyday conversations, it meant having a command of the language that empowers you to use it in business. Not for smalltalk, but to talking about the subjects at hand. Of course you cannot know all technical terms in all fields, but I wouldn’t claim that for my mother tongue, even.

If you want to fix this on exam grades: first real contact with the language in September 2014 when I came to Beijing for a year abroad (that is the year in which I have been studying Chinese - fulltime). I took HSK6 in October 2015 and passed with 231 points out of 300. I don’t think HSK or HSKK is a good measurement of how good your Chinese skills are, since the words used are sometimes quite strange and the situations are not really of use in real life. But it at least shows some level skill in the language.

PS: What I have to admit, though, is that my memory might be a little blurred. By now, after having worked in China for another six months since then, I can understand nearly everything (except for things like Shanghainese or Sichuanese, which I would not consider as Mandarin). I think my level of Chinese has been below this when I left China after the first year. But it is totally possible to reach fluency in 15-18 months. But only, as said in my comment, if you really devote to it, if you are immersed in a good environment and have a lot of interesting and demanding content at hand.
Half a year at home, with other things to do, I don’t think fluency is possible. But within half a year in the respective country, with only this to concentrate on and full-time devotion, you can already reach a quite good level, stretch your stay to one year and fluency is within the possible reach.

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And how would you know? I see that you are LingQing Mandarin. I spent a year in China and devoted myself full-time to studying the language within in the framework of a university stay. And full-time means 20+ hours courses weekly, soaking up vocab and participate in various conversations with other people - in total probably more than 70 hours a week. It is possible, even without setting low standards, believe it or not. As usablefiber said: you have to make it your life and then it is possible.

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I am totally on your side. 6 months at home are imo not very realistic, but if your goal is ‘become fluent in 6-9 months’, then you have the option to go to that country, devote yourself to it and make it happen. If your goal is ‘stay at home and learn the language’, I would also set the goals a little lower.

Haha no it is just because any snow will have melted by June, which is 6 months after Christmas. Probably literally true only in the Arctic. (for now)