Realistic level of Fluency after 6 months

Hi, I am just interested in everyone opinion of what kind of levels are achievable after 6 months of learning a target language. I am sure that European language will be a little easier (depending where you are from) when compared to Chinese, Arabic and the Slavic languages for example

My opinion is someone starting a new language and is studying 7 days a week for 2 hours a day I like to think that the level of B1/B2 would possible to achieve or am I incorrect? (for European languages)

Look forward to everyone’s thoughts and opinions.


Doing some googling it looks like B1 should be at least possible given 364 hours. I don’t see how you would have the time to develop the speaking/writing ability called for by B2.

From an ESL teacher who gets asked this question all the time, try to think of your practice in hours, not months. There’s been many high-quality linguistics studies done to try to answer this. Partly, the number of hours depends on what your native language is, and what your target language is.

Steve wrote a great blog answering this here: How long should it take to learn a language? - The Linguist.
There’s a very good article from the bbc here: How many hours does it take to be fluent in English? - BBC News
And a helpful chart here: How Long Does it Take to Become Proficient in a Language?

So, since I’m learning Spanish, like you, I’m guessing I need 900 hours of practicing Spanish to get to to the nice level of fluency I want.

At the time I have available to practice, I imagine it will take me about 3 years to get in my 900 hours. I’m hoping I’ll have 18000 words learned on LingQ by then.

I spent about 250 hours or so in the last 12 months using LingQ. I used to get 5-10 minutes a day playing with duolingo, but I quit that a month after I completed the program’s tree-- that was all I used for grammar practice. I also did level 1 on Pimsleur (which I borrowed from the library).

I also get additional practice:

  • watching movies/TV on Netflix (my favorite series now is “Los Héroes del Norte” )
  • watching “destinos”
  • listening to Radio Ambulante podcast

The LingQ system is awesome. It really works. I try to convince all my students to use it.


You need to define ‘fluency’, define what you would be doing for the 2 hours per day and what the language is, in relation to your native language.

B2 isn’t possible without massive input AND output for 6 months. We’re talking 4+ hours per day of efficient, focussed study.

I have been learning German for 6 months and only now have started reading within the past few weeks. I wasted a lot of time on beginner material and flashcards. I only speak English and this was my first attempt at learning a second language.

When you learn another language for the first time, you’re also learning how ‘to learn languages’ which is difficult because there is so many opinions and less than efficient methods being given by people who wish to sell you their product. Which beginner material to use? Input or output? how much time? flashcards? lists? just watching television? grammar? etc etc It takes time to find out the truth of how one should study a language and unfortunately often trial and error but since you’re here, I’d assume that to be a good start although you might be missing many things taught to beginners…

My opinion on time is that 6 months for someone unaccustomed to learning languages will most likely not achieve B2. It is more difficult than it appears at first and in the first month, I’d say most learners would be lucky to have memorized the alphabet, sounds, very basic grammar and 500-1000 words of vocabulary.

6 months to B2 fluency is probably not going to happen with only 2 hours per day. It sounds easier on paper but practically is more difficult and stressful. I am very stressed and I don’t even know what to do for writing or speaking yet. I have ideas but I imagine that will be an entirely new world of issues and stress.


I’m big fan of Assimil and have used it to start all my languages. Realistically 6 months to B1 is what you should expect. If you push it, you could maybe do B2. I have a formula for people when they ask me about languages: Assimil + @45 mins / day x 6 days a week = B1 in 6 months – possibly B2 in 6 to 9 months possibly, maybe C1 in 12. This is a sustainable pace for most people who are motivated.

But I think the most important language tip I could give to people is this: Study regularly without worrying about the outcome. Concentrating on “when will I reach ‘X’” is counter productive. You’ll get better and more comfortable over time. But the levels of B2, C1 etc are somewhat elusive to define and in reality no bells and whistles are gonna go off anywhere announcing you’ve reached this or that level. Yes, your avatar on Lingq is gonna grow and your word count numbers will go up and all that is a lot of fun and very satisfying, but those are still just indicators where you might be in a language. I know people who “test at C2” but have a hard time actually communicating.


Lots of fun and good luck with your German :smiley:
Feel free to use exchange and the German help forum, we will gladly help you.

I would say as an english speaker doing a European Language, B1 is possible. “High B2”/Fluency is probably a 1-2 year process, with French being on the longer end of that. you’ll speed it up a bit if you do 2hrs a day instead of 1.5 hours. If you were going from Spanish-Portuguese, French to Italian, or other Romance Language to another Romance language, I think you could do that “potential” b2/fluency in six months.

That is true and wonderfully written!

I have to agree with the Lingq part I do feel like I am slowly learning the patterns of the language and my vocabulary is slowly improving you say you want or will need 900 hours I assume that you want your Spanish to be at a C2 level from those numbers of hours? and I have had a look at the scale on google as to what level is achievable by hours.

For me personally I think I would like to be able to be comfortable in the language and being able to express myself some what freely and not have to really focus when speaking.

I do understand what you are saying but it is also nice to have some kind of goal and targers in mind,again I only at this moment in time speak English and I kind of already have a plan of what my target 6 month is going to be like, first 3 months use Lingq for 2 hours everyday building vocab and listening, after 3 months start watching series with Spanish subtitles to improve listening and of course reading along while still doing my 2 hours a day of spanish to keep building on my vocab and also after the 3 month start to speak as I like to think I would have assumed enough vocab to somewhat express myself limited anyway. I suppose ultimately the only way to find out what level or how greatly you can learn the language is just by doing it!

Interesting, I would like to learn French at some point and did always think If I could get my Spanish get to a high enough level I would be able to learn another romance language some what quicker. what would you describe a person who is a B1 level able to do?

and do you think that using an audio book instead of watching films and movies to be more productive

I think it depends on whether you’re (merely) watching the films/movies or actually studying them. I think it could be awfully tempting to just let the film play and not get much out of it.

This is a description of B1:
Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

And B2:
Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Nice post. Out of curiosity, where are they doing this testing? Is it the DELE (Spanish?) Other places?

Yes. I replied in more detail in the “after how many words” thread.

However, I missed this earlier today when I first read this thread. You wrote, “…after 3 months start watching series with Spanish subtitles to improve listening and of course reading along while still doing my 2 hours a day of spanish to keep building on my vocab”

From here it sounds like the TV shows are just a “bonus” to learning, rather than replacing it. As long as you’re doing your 2 hrs/day of “real” learning, give the shows a whirl. But, I think you’ll find, as I said in the other thread, there might be too many unknown words in the subtitles to make it enjoyable. …you do get to look at the pretty senoritas though.

Can you post a link to this Google scale of hours?

C2 would seem quite difficult to achieve unless you are in the country, especially with only 900 hours. C2 is really, really good. Think Steve’s French or a little above that.

B2, at least “high” B2 is what I would call fluency. jimgoldschmidt is probably in the high B1/low B2 with 18,000 words. However, if he puts in 900 hours, I think he’ll have a higher word count than that and probably a higher “potential” (Steve’s words) for fluency, likely in the high B2 range. But that’s just guessing.

Personally, and just for reference, I’m going for confident/high B2 or low C1 with 35,000 words and 1,200 hours invested. I’m at 31,000 and 7-900 hours at present and would consider myself a solid B2, except for listening to certain content unassisted and reading novels (haven’t done as much of either). Right now I’m doing the listening with the telenovelas (get essentially 100% reading subtitles too) and will hit the novels in LingQ when I get a new iPad.

1 Like

The level of “fluency” you wrote about above is probably between B1 and B2. I, along with Steve and many others, would consider B2, or confident B2, “fluency.”

When I reach 1,200 hours of study, 35K words of Spanish, 2 million words read, 45K lingqs, 500 hrs of listening, and possibly 100 hours spoken (including a trip to Latin America as a reward), I’ll move on to either French, Russian, Arabic, or Chinese.

I might do the French first to “Get it out of the way.” (I think, having Spanish, 1.5-2 hours a day for 9 months would do it for “potential fluency.”) Then I’d move onto one of the hard languages. However, I might go with one of the harder ones first so it’s not TOO close to Spanish and make it more likely that’ll mix them up.

Overall, my goal is to have an “easy” language (Spanish), a hard one (likely Russian), and a very hard one (Chinese or Arabic). French I always loved and that’s what I started in school and I have a “score” to settle with a dreadful teacher from back in the day.

To answer your question about what a b1 person could do.

I can understand the main points
of clear standard speech on
familiar matters regularly
encountered in work, school,
leisure, etc. I can understand the
main point of many radio or TV
programmes on current affairs or
topics of personal or professional
interest when the delivery is
relatively slow and clear.

I can understand texts that consist
mainly of high frequency everyday
or job-related language. I can
understand the description of
events, feelings and wishes in
personal letters.

I can deal with most situations
likely to arise whilst travelling in an
area where the language is
spoken. I can enter unprepared
into conversation on topics that
are familiar, of personal interest or
pertinent to everyday life (e.g.
family, hobbies, work, travel and
current events).

I can connect phrases in a simple
way in order to describe
experiences and events, my
dreams, hopes and ambitions. I
can briefly give reasons and
explanations for opinions and
plans. I can narrate a story or
relate the plot of a book or film and
describe my reactions.

I can write simple connected text
on topics which are familiar or of
personal interest. I can write
personal letters describing
experiences and impressions.

1 Like

Don’t miss the TV telenovela series “Destinos”

It is an interesting plot-driven mystery. It’s made for people learning Spanish as a Second Language, it’s appropriately designed for absolute beginners. and you’ll get about 25 hours of listening practice.