How quickly would one improve?

How quickly would one improve?

Haha sorry, I accidentally hit my enter button.

Anyway, this question should read:

Bearing in mind that everyone is different, how quickly do you (or have you) improved in your target language? I ask because I’m curious about gauging how steadily my French is improving.

I’m not the most active student because after my day’s work I’m usually a bit tired, but if I listen (partly passively) to approximately 45 minutes of French per day and attempt to read one or two texts or some grammar each day, what kind of improvement and in what kind of timespan should I expect to see?

I’m sorry if this question seems vague. I’m just looking for a way to measure myself, I suppose, other than through words I ‘know’.

Hope everyone’s having a nice evening (or morning, afternoon or night!)


That’s really hard to tell. As an example, I have recently been listening A LOT (partly passively, just as you) to my languages - mainly to content which I have also read (short podcast, semi-short interview), with varying results. Studying/reviewing too easy content is boring, and too difficult content may feel impossible to learn from. It can easily feel like you’re at a plateau in either of these situations.

To get a good estimate, I think it’s (somewhat) necessary to add other activities, such as writing. Without worrying too much about making mistakes (nobody is perfect:)). Write longer and longer sentences, with more and more “grammar” (whether it’s tenses, aspects, “difficult” vocabulary et.c.).

I think that you will see noticeable improvement after 3 months at the latest.

On your profile page, click on French, then select “all time” from the drop-down box. On average you are…erm…sort of a quarter of the way to reaching the targets for beginner 1. Is that any help?

You will find if you enjoy reading that you will hit the target for number of words read really quickly. Number of words written and hours of speaking, they are the ones it takes me longest to reach.

Thank you for the responses everyone. I suppose it can just be frustrating at time to not be quite sure whether and at what rate one is improving, or even what to expect. However, I’m looking into studying in a more structured way and adding more tutor time, which should be fun.

Helen: I was really surprised when I saw how little I’d been reading in comparison to listening! But thank you for the tip - it never occurred to me to do that :slight_smile:

I’m learning 3 languages at once, swapping over roughly once every 3 weeks. As such I fail to hit most of the targets in the statistics session in any given time period. I either use the weekly targets or the all-time ones.

Hi Kat,

thank you for your suggestions for German content.

I taught a French beginners class last year and after seeing what you wrote in your blog in French I can say that your are quite good at using what you have acquired so far (famille, projets de week-end). I wouldn’t worry about grammar so far (just a hint: don’t use ‘passé simple’ for past tense - you will find it only in literary texts - use passé composé as you did in your last text; imparfait will take some time for you to grasp, but you can compare it to past progressive).

Keep listening, that’s what I told my students all year round. The relative difficulty of French (compared to Spanish and Italian) seems to be of a psychological order (pronunciation, listening comprehension), because the structure is really simpler - less tenses that you need to use actively, some similarities to German: I read that German and French really share the most common structural features of all European languages (in: Bernd Heine & Tania Kuteva: The Changing Languages of Europe) - 9 out of 12 - English and German only 7! On the other hand half the English vocabulary is French/Romance/Latin - so it should be easy for you once you’ve got over the initial stage. Bon courage!