Learn a language in 3 months! No 2! No wait a minute 1 month...how about a week!? WHO CARES?

Googling how long it should take us to learn a language…and deliberately trying to find the people who did it in the shortest amount of time, with the hope that we can replicate their results; despite only knowing one language fluently; is called the “polyglot…even though you’re NOT mindset”

This mindset is when your brain only processes the fact that they reached C2 in a language in just 3 months, but completely ignores they’ve been learning multiple other languages before hand for several years. They’ve had time to build language aptitude: Read more about the development of language aptitude here: Language Learning Aptitude Myths. - Language Forum @ LingQ They have had time to figure out methods that are efficient for them and methods that aren’t. They’ve had time to figure out how to time manage themselves better, so they can spend more time in the language, they’re more willing to take risks…which brings greater gains, because they’ve gained more confidence from previous experience.

This mindset is when as a “FIRST” TIME LANGUAGE LEARNER. You will go to websites that boast about 3 months, but ignore the websites like the foreign services institute, which say that it actually takes the average learner 8 months to reach a B2 in a language close to English in the group 1 category.

As a first time language learner this mindset can hold you back. I know of too many people who only just dabble in stuff. Because they’re too busy looking for the method that will get them to achieve what those 3 monthers did. In all honesty you could copy their language learning habits in every area and you still won’t be as a quick…because what works for them might not work as efficiently as you, and because they’ve been learning languages longer; their language learning aptitude, more than likely, is going to be higher.

As a first time language learner there is nothing wrong with giving yourself the amount of time “fast” language learners complain about. Benny Lewis once said “The foreign services institute is wrong it doesn’t take 2000 hours to learn a language.” This is in regards to Chinese, that it can take 2000 hours to reach advanced fluency, however as a first time language learner…you should give yourself 2000 hours to reach advanced levels in Chinese. WHAT’S SO WRONG WITH THAT? You don’t have to expect things to be done in 3 months, just because other people say that’s how long it should take. And some people even learn Chinese alongside another language, because it can take a while, even for experienced language learners.

One day there will come a point when your brain will be developed enough to learn languages faster…but for your first language “double” whatever amount of time a so called polyglot said it took them to achieve X level in said language. The double is NOT BECAUSE YOUR STUPID…the double is extra time for you to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you, until you set into a nice comfortable routine.

Also if you say it took you 6 years to reach, as an example, advanced fluency in Chinese…most people aren’t going to say “Oh wow how slow…it should of only taken you 3 months.” Most people would say “WOAH YOU FREAKING SPEAK CHINESE!!!”

Or any other language for that matter…you could say it took you 2 years and their reaction would be YOU SPEAK FRENCH???

To me 2 years is a reasonable amount of time. I don’t feel this pressure to have learn French in 3 months. And if I do get a C2 in French in 2 years, I will NOT be embarrassed to say it took me 2 years to get there. And I’ll feel proud of myself. I won’t sit there hiding in some corner, keeping silent about how long it took me; just because it didn’t take me “3 months”.


I’ve never understood why you should hurry so much. Language learning should be fun and not stress you.

C2 is a very high goal. I’m learning English for years now, but I wouldn’t consider it as C2. Probably C1. But C2 is near native. And not only in reading, in listening, speaking, writing and grammar too!

As you say, it put too much pressure on beginners, because time will come when they think they’ll never reach their goal. Probably they’ll give up, instead of realizing that the goal was silly.

What I’ve learned too is that slowness makes you learn things more carefully and thoughtful and such things stick more to my mind than things I’ve learned in a hurry.


it takes a long time to learn a language, unless that language is closely related to one that we already know. Benny has never demonstrated otherwise. That is why it is important to make the language learning task as enjoyable as possible. We shouldn’t want the journey end.


It is also good to break down the whole learning journey in separate stages, so as at the end of each stage we can clearly see the acquired improvement. Our improvements nurrish our motivation. It is much more easy to learn a language walking up on a motivational spiral.

People seem to think that you can use a language only when you are fluent in it, but most of the language learning process involves using a new language to read books or watch films or watch YouTube videos or talk to people. Comprehension may not be as high before we reach fluency and we may be dealing with easier materials but it is still using the language for enjoyment, not sacrificing enjoyment for the language. Unless you have a specific and urgent goal I don’t see why it should feel otherwise.


The market is saturated with claims, gimmicks, quick fixes, and beginner content towards people that want to learn without effort and have the right to say they’re a polyglot. The beginner content ends up being fluff with over used SRS. That’s the American way!

The problem with the language learning community is people have severe ADD, when they try to be polyglots. They end up dabbling in 12 different languages in tge littlest time as possible, and become master of none. What’s the point? At no point I found any time to need to say ‘I love beer’ in 12 languages. It’s become a bragging right more than anything. That said, I have no problem for people that attempt this endeavor, but rather I’m pointing out the high rate of failure.

The only I really have to say more than anything, is just be patient.

The FSI website says 570-600 hours for ~C1 proficiency in a Category 1 language (those most like English). 5 hours per day x 30 days per month x 3 months = 450 hours. That’s enough to reach ~B2, which is generally the threshold that sites like “Fluent in 3 Months” set as the definition of fluency.

So yes… seems very achievable to me if it’s the main focus of all your efforts. The rest of us have full-time jobs, kids, and other commitments. 5 hours a day is unsustainable, so of course it will take significantly longer.

Benny’s efforts at harder languages (i.e. Mandarin) have always fell way short of this B1 goal because they take 2-4x longer (even when he de-scopes things like learning kanji/hanzi).

His site is good at making you think that yes, you too, even you, can become fluent in a language. And it has made me aware of all sorts of resources (lingq, italki) that I may have never known about it.

But there is no magical formula. You still gotta put in the hours and a LOT of them.