How many hours did it take for you to become "fluent"?

Just curious?? “Fluent” as Steve describes fluency… Any language(s), but especially Russian…

It depends not only on your exposure to the language, but also on your memory.
But in fact, everyone can be ‘fluent’ in a new language, someone a bit earlier, someone a bit later.
It takes in average 1000 hrs.
But if you don’t have a deadline for exam etc., just enjoy your studying in any level you are now.


“Evgueny fluency” : 500-1,000 hours

“Benny fluency” : 1,540 hours
Description: 10 hours a day, for 4-5 months, followed by 1 week of intense youtube editing and online sales marketing efforts = “100% Benny-fluent mission success completed in 3 months” as judged by 1st year college students on Facebook.

“Superficial fluency” : 1,500-5,000 hours (also known as: “fake fluency”)
Description: As long as you control the conversation, or keep to topics where your vocab is strongest, then you can convince people you are fluent.

“Paule89 fluency” : 10,000 hours (3 hours a day for 10 years)
Description: Reaching a near-native level when it comes to listening and reading. Being “pretty good” at speaking and writing without being mistaken for a native speaker

“Paule89 Advanced fluency”* : 40,000+ hours (3 hours a day for 40 years or 10 years of full immersion)
Description: Being as good as an educated native speaker.

*see more here:

Also: Paule89’s quote: “the language you´re learning, your native languages, the languages you already speaking…your level of focus, your method and whatnot can make a huge difference…”

Also: 1 hour of focus and attention by an experienced learner, is very different to an hour of unfocused attention or the time put in when you are unfamiliar with adult language acquisition etc.

Always remember: the total number of hours is not the correct or ideal way to measure the total amount of effective effort spent – but, in language learning, total hours “awashed” in a language is the best proxy measure of ability.


I’ve read many figures. Some say for Russian, it’s 2,000 hours of pure exposure (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) but of course, that’s an estimate.

If I can read and speak 80% of say…a news article, I’ll be content and call that ‘fluent.’

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I’m trying to understand why Paule89 said:

“Evgueny fluency”
Description: Bullshitting your way through a short conversation, I guess.
Required time investment: 500 hours (3 hours a day for 6 months)

For “hard” languages, there is a probably a “superficially fluent” level somewhere between 1500-5000 hours. As long as you control the conversation, and keep it to topics where your vocab is strongest, then you can convince people you are fluent.

Some good “fluency” tests - “the half hour cab ride from the airport with a talkative driver with a rural accent who asks all the questions test” , “the how long can I hang out on an internet chat forum without anyone picking up I am non-native test”, “the conversation in a group of three or more at a crowded noisy bar test” “the front page, middle page, then back page, newspaper reading out loud test” etc.

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