How time for learning a language?

I have just a question , how time we need use everyday for learning a idiom ?

When you come across a idiom, wright it down, if possible, get someone to explain its meaning, rather than just you G. translate it.
as in the case with idioms, a lot of their meanings does get lost in translation when translated to another language.

A month, a week, a day, two minutes, their’s no telling how long it takes for you to learn them, these things just tend to go: *click! “ah so that was what it means.”

It is possible to learn the meanings of idioms from reading idiom lists, but you’ll not be able to use them properly without having had seen them in a lot of authentic texts/conversions by Natives and fluent speakers first.

I think you should not study idioms or phrasal verbs separately. It is much better if you learn them in context. If you come across them while reading texts, you should simply look them up and more preferably review them at a later time. You had better gather lots of useful vocabulary words that you will have to actually use them in meaningful discussions. Throwing idioms right, left and center in your conversations won’t make you a proficient speaker of the language. Considering your basic mistake just in your title makes me think that you had better utilize most of your time on doing reading and listening activities. That’s my friendly advice.

When I strated learn english I spent 2 housr per day just listening and reading.

The amount of time that you’ll need to spend in order to learn a language depends on two things: How far you want to go on this language and how many time you want to reach it in. Although, I don’t think that setting a specific quantity of time is really important. What really matters is the desire to learn and keep going despite any situation.
If you really want to learn a language, and enjoy the process, every single free time you have you’ll expend doing so. Actually even if you don’t have time you’ll find a way to practice. At least it was what happened to me. Instead of read news, listen musics, or watch things in my mother language I try to do all these stuff in english.

Thank for you answers and the next answers.

I think an hour a day is a minimum, after that it depends on time available and interest. Most of this hour a day can be listening while doing other tasks.

Statistics used for CEFR tell that it would take you about 1200 hours to become fluent at a language.

So, it would take less than a year to become fluent from scratch if you learn a language as if learning a language was your full time job.
For those who actually have a full time job: studying for 3 hours 2 times a week at courses and having additional 2-3 hours a week for learning at home you would achieve the same level after more than three years. I could suppose that 8-10 hours a week of proper independent learning should have about the same effectiveness.

However, the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.

I don’t have any real trust in those CEFR statistics there. Maybe this is for very general conversation but you won’t have good reading skills, or be able to talk about anything in real depth. Perhaps this is the ‘everyman’s fluency’. Valid in itself, but not for those who like to be more functionally literate. (Reading history, politics, poetry, etc.)

For me, I study my languages a minimum of 1 hours a day. Yesterday:
Dutch - 3 hours 45 minutes
French 1 h 20 m
Yiddish 1h
I decided to simply look at Latin, and I might start getting serious at it, so I did 30 minutes of it.

I need to get focused! :slight_smile:


You wouldn’t by any chance be the same guy who posts at the HTLAL forum under the name “fanatic”, er, would you??

(I was just a-wondrin…)

No, I don’t have an account at HTLAL. I once read the site occasionally, but haven’t been there for quite some time.

Well, you may not be “fanatic”, but are a language fanatic, that’s for sure! :slight_smile:

Without a doubt! haha

I got up this morning a little before 8 (got lazy :P) and it’s a bit after 10 now. Most of that time has been spent studying language.

2 years = B2
4-5 years = C2

+7 years = you’re doing something wrong (or maybe you’re learning an asian lang :P)

I think that’s reasonable, if you’re studying your first language from a family.

1y to 1 1/2y - B2
3 to 4 years

Depending on how close the languages are. When you get to the third, of course it’s quicker again.

I don’t believe in any statistic…
It all depends on how close the language is to your native tongue, in what context you’re learning it, how often you’re exposed to it…

I learned fluent Italian in 6 months. I started my first lesson “il mio nome è…” in February 2007 and in September of the same year I got into Italian university… I was completely fluent, didn’t have to think to produce the language, I could already understand everything that I hear… This can be explained by the fact Italian is very similar to French, so I had an extensive passive vocabulary even before starting studying it… and later I moved to Italy directly after finishing a short textbook, so I was exposed to the language all the time. So only 6 months.

Next January, it’s gonna be 3 years I study Hungarian. I am still unable to understand TV and a lot of what people say, even in simple conversations. I spent way more time and energy in learning Hungarian than any other language, I did it everyday for the last 3 years… Well, I can read well, newspapers and literature, I can understand movies for childrens and also I can speak with friends if they are careful enough to speak a bit slower… But I am not at all fluent in Hungarian… I struggle to say anything, even sometimes simple stuff, and I would not be able to work in Hungary, that’s for sure.
Still I put a lot of energy and time in it… I guess I might need more years to reach a good level, it’s a complete different experience than learning other languages I know.
I never met many foreigners that could speak fluently Hungarian, in that sense that someone could be independent and live totally normally in Hungary… Only one I met, he is quite good, speaks well with friends and works in a Hungarian company… but he’s been living permanently there for the last 13 years! Other people I know have a level similar to mine, which is very good at understanding the written language, can do well in conversations about simple subjects, but for the rest…
I don’t expect to reach real fluency (in the sense I understand it) before at least 4 more years of learning. I even started to let Hungarian aside for a bit because I realised I started to feel frustrated about it and there is nothing worse for languages’ learning than not feeling pleasure about it. So now, I am only listening to audiobooks, I study way less new words than before… I will just consolidate what I learned so far, listening again and again to my audio files and reading the books I bought so far…

I started Portuguese and I know it will be easier because it’s just so close to French and Italian. I already understand well many things. With the same amount of time and energy that I put in Hungarian, I know I could reach complete fluency in 1 year, maybe less than 2. And this is not just about work, it’s just about the inner qualities of the language that make it easier for a french-speaker like me.
I learn Russian too and I realised that the structure of the language was easier for me than the one of Hungarian. Russian is still not easy, but I still find it way more “logical” than Hungarian, I assimilate it way easier.
I don’t know how much time I would need to reach fluency in Russian, but a minimum of 2 years is a safe bet, and I guess I will need more if I want to understand very technical content.

All in all, I guess you can be fluent in a language that is very close to your native tongue in 1 year if you put enough time and exposure into your learning. For instance, a french-speaker that would learn Italian, Spanish or Portuguese (or the other way around). Same about a Dutchman learning German…
For a language that is very different than yours (like for example Hungarian for me), I don’t think you can reach real fluency before 5 years of intensive learning and exposure…

So I guess that if someone is looking for quick reward in language learning, he should first study a language close to his own… it would allow him to progress very fast and to develop confidence in the ability of speaking a foreign language…

Which is all good if there are any languages which are particularly close to your mother language. Unfortunately, as an English speaker, English has changed far too much for it to take 3 months. (I know from learning Dutch.) Still, I agree with what you say there. I have to wait until I’m fluent in Dutch to get the same benefit to languages like Frisian, German, Yiddish, Low German, etc.

Sure… but if you’re an English speaker, you could reach a wonderful level in French quite easily… 60-65% of the vocabulary is the same

I’ve been learning French part-time for the last few months, not too intensely but not lazily either. In 6 months, intensively or not, I’d never be able to reach fluency.

I’m not sure why this is but it’s how things are. Even with all those words it doesn’t open up the language in such a way that I can learn it in months (which equals more like 30% and Latin being the other 30/35%).

Reading French is much easier than listening to it. Surely a native English speaker could learn to read French fairly well in 6 months if that was their focus, but when you listen to the language, few words are understood (even those understood in writing).

p.s. As a side note, I’ve very recently started learning Latin and I’m finding that the vocabulary of it is more familiar to me than that of French.

@Laurent1986 “I learned fluent Italian in 6 months.”
everybody has its own definition about what fluency is, but I guess I do agree with you somehow…

in my case being a native spanish speaker I know portuguese and maybe italian could be quite effortless compared to english for example… I’m not saying getting a B2 in english is hard but it’s not that easy either… french? maybe french will be a lil bit easier than english but not that much (and I guess it’s the same thing the other way around)

now, I don’t want to talk about mandarin, japanese, korean, arabic, russian and so on cause I know getting a B2 in any of those langs could cost an arm and a leg (talking about time, not money… ok, both :P), so my snake oil formula 2years=B2 won’t work

one year seems to be a good estimated for a notsolazyorextremelybusy person to get a B1 or even a lil more in a lang not so alien to its own, but there are a lot of factors