How long does it take to properly learn a new language?

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    Aug 24, 2013 9:16 AM GMT
    I've started re-learning Spanish after take a good 18 months off. At this stage I am just learning through my Spanish boyfriend, doing textbook assessments and looking up some online videos. I am trying to talk to him in Spanish as much as I can as well.

    Just wondering other people's experiences of learning a new language and being fluent in it. Does it take years?
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    Aug 24, 2013 9:24 AM GMT
    Rosetta-Stone.jpg

    Los trescientos mejores dólares que tendrá que pasar!
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    Aug 24, 2013 9:32 AM GMT
    It depends on what you mean by "properly learn". English is my 2nd language that I'm fluent in. Not only do I read, write and speak the language, but I understand the colloquials, jargons, slang and accents used in everyday conversation. To be truly fluent in a different language, you have to "drown" yourself in it. This means the people around you do not speak your primary language and you are literally forced to learn their mother tongue.

    French is my 3rd language and while I can read and write it well, I can't say I'm truly fluent in the language because I have the hardest time understanding it when it's spoken really fast or when slang is used. Also, I learned French by communicating with people from France. French Canadians however, have a completely different accent that I have the hardest time understanding.
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    Aug 24, 2013 9:49 AM GMT
    Erik101 saidIt depends on what you mean by "properly learn".


    I guess I mean being able to understand and communicate back in the same language. I'm not expecting to be totally fluent. I agree the best way is to immerse yourself in the language. I will do my best since I live in an English speaking country. But I'm trying to practice it a lot with my Spanish friends.
  • adultoreo

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    Aug 24, 2013 10:30 AM GMT
    All your life.
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    Aug 24, 2013 1:06 PM GMT
    SpikeyAidan said
    Erik101 saidIt depends on what you mean by "properly learn".


    I guess I mean being able to understand and communicate back in the same language. I'm not expecting to be totally fluent. I agree the best way is to immerse yourself in the language. I will do my best since I live in an English speaking country. But I'm trying to practice it a lot with my Spanish friends.


    Then practicing will help but I have to admit that your learning will be interrupted every time your friends go back to speaking English as you try to learn their language.
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    Aug 24, 2013 4:32 PM GMT
    Without immersion it would definitely take years to become fluent, if at all. The thing about learning a language is you have to hear and and speak it and read it all the time for your brain to naturally switch over to thinking in that language, and to really tune into all the subtleties in tone, accent, and conversation.

    If you learn it without immersion, it will take a lot longer, and how long is dependent upon the amount you expose yourself to it and upon your own individual learning capacity.

    Learning a language is pretty much a lifelong process though. You should try speaking only spanish with your boyfriend and that will accelerate your progress greatly.
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    Aug 24, 2013 7:14 PM GMT
    It also depends on the language you're learning. Some are far harder to learn than others.
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    Aug 24, 2013 7:22 PM GMT
    SpikeyAidan said
    Erik101 saidIt depends on what you mean by "properly learn".


    I guess I mean being able to understand and communicate back in the same language. I'm not expecting to be totally fluent. I agree the best way is to immerse yourself in the language. I will do my best since I live in an English speaking country. But I'm trying to practice it a lot with my Spanish friends.

    I learned conversational level of Spanish from scratch after 2 years by living in Spain with a Spanish boyfriend. Since you already have some background, I think in a year or so you would be comfortable having normal conversations.
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    Aug 24, 2013 8:14 PM GMT
    It is possible be able to to speak quite well a language without living in the country. I've never lived in an English-speaking country and here I am icon_lol.gif

    You should just be aware that it demands a lot of time and dedication. Actually, as we are on a fitness website, I can say it's exactly like workout. If you are skinny you can't expect to become super muscular in just a few months by working out only once in a while. You need dedication, a lot of self-discipline, time, a good program and the right tools.
    It's exactly the same with learning a new language. You will never make any progress if you just do 10min of Rosetta Stone on your computer twice in a week. You must know that it will take time and a lot of work, but if you have the right motivation, you can do it.
    If you are a beginner, you must in the beginning study Spanish with books to acquire the basics of the grammar and the structure of the language.
    You already have the best tool ever : your boyfriend haha. Now try to get in contact with Spanish as much as possible. Watch spanish movies with english subtitles (then when you will be able to understand quite well, try with spanish subtitles, and then without subtitles), listen to music in Spanish, try to translate the lyrics by yourself, try to make Spanish speaking friends. Look at Spanish websites about subjects you like. That's exactly how I learned English icon_smile.gif
    Just think of it as a brain workout.
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    Aug 24, 2013 8:17 PM GMT
    A few months gets you to primary school level and a year to middle school. Eventually, you'll get the hang of it and can hold conversations. You'll need to read novels in order to say hard words like, "eccentric" or "commotion." You should read some old novels you might read but in Spanish, it'll be familiar to you.
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    Aug 24, 2013 8:47 PM GMT
    Ask this guy ....




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    Aug 24, 2013 9:54 PM GMT
    It depends on your determination - this February is going to be my second anniversary in the U.S. thus, my second year learning the language, if you want it really bad, you'll get it sooner that what you might be expecting
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    Aug 24, 2013 9:55 PM GMT
    As a language professional (degree in linguistics and teaching langauge and over 30 years experience teaching non-native English speakers to read, write, speak, understand, etc. American English) I'd like to say that I'm extremely pleased with the thoughtful answers on this thread.

    I can write a 2 page paper of literary analysis in Spanish, but I quickly fall apart if someone asks me a question and uses any colloquial language. Sad, I know.
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    Aug 25, 2013 2:02 AM GMT
    Thanks for the replies guys! I really think if I make some time everyday to devote to learning it and by looking up movies and videos on the youtube there is no reason why I can't at least start getting at a higher level. My aim is by the end of the year to be able to carry a 10 minute conversation with my boyfriend, if I can I will post it up on youtube for you guys to see!

    Who knows if I become fluent in Spanish. Then the sky is the limit in terms of other languages I learn.

    PS - wow that 16 year old is crazy smart. Very inspiring icon_smile.gif