How Long Does it Take to Learn French?
Learning French is a wonderful experience. With over 220 million speakers worldwide, it’s a very useful foreign language to know. But, when you learn French, it’s fair to wonder how long does it take? We’re here to answer that very question.
How long it takes to learn a foreign language depends on a number of variables. Your goal, prior knowledge, and motivation are all key players in the equation. Not to mention the importance of using the right language learning method. While we can’t give you a personalized number for how long it takes to learn French, we can show you what you can expect.
Setting Achievable Goals That will Help You Learn French
Setting the right goals will help you determine how long it takes to learn French. If you want to speak French to travel to France, you can learn a foreign language in as little as a week. But, if you’d like to take a language exam to prove your proficiency, you need a much bigger time commitment.
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) will help you determine an achievable goal. These levels of fluency are universally accepted as guidance. The more proficient you’d like to become, the more time you should dedicate to your studies.
The Alliance Française of Washington in D.C. further breaks the CEFR’s standards as below:
Beginners can comprehend and utilize basic French phrases and expressions. They can understand and interact with French-speakers if the speaker does not speak too fast.
Advanced Beginner (A2)
The advanced beginner also understands fundamental French expressions and phrases. They can share basic information regarding their daily schedules and surroundings.
If you are an intermediate speaker, you should be able to construct full French sentences. You should travel without any difficulty because you can communicate quite well. Additionally, you can understand important input and opinions.
Advanced French speakers can understand complex topics. You can freely interact with native French speakers if you are an advanced speaker and clearly articulate your opinions about certain issues.
An expert is a person who has fully mastered the French language. They can fluently express themselves and read complex texts. Experts are flexible when using the language, both in a formal and informal setting, and can understand most of the things that they see or hear.
6 Factors That Affect How Long it Takes to Learn French
After you have identified the French proficiency level you may want to achieve, you must understand the circumstances that will make it easier for you to learn French. Learning a language is a different experience for every person and is based on various factors. The factors below may determine how long it will take you to learn French.
1. Your Attitude
Your attitude will determine how fast you learn French. If you have a positive attitude, learning French will be fun and easy for you because you will be open to learning. You will look forward to grasping as much as possible, making the entire process enjoyable and, ultimately, faster.
2. The Time You Put in
Of course, the more time you dedicate to your French studies daily, the faster you’ll see an outcome. But, if you can only spend a short amount of time every day on studying, that’s fine too. Just know that it may take several years to master French.
3. Your Method of Learning
Having the best language learning methods is crucial to achieving French fluency faster. If you limit yourself to learning only when in the classroom, then it might take you longer as opposed to having exposure outside the classroom. Movies, eBooks, speaking, or traveling to a country that speaks French can hasten your learning process.
4. Your Native Language
Languages may look different, but they are actually more similar than you realize. Learning a similar language to your native language saves you time when learning vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
French should be easy to learn if English is your native language because they both have Latin roots. Cognates can make your learning French learning experience faster and easier than you expected.
5. Knowledge of Other Romance Languages
Being fluent in another romance language can significantly improve your French learning skills. Other romance languages include Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian. All these have very similar vocabulary and grammatical features because they are derived from Latin.
6. Your Motivation
Being motivated is critical when learning a new language. To stay motivated, always remind yourself why you are learning French and the benefits you will reap after perfecting your skills. If you stay motivated, you can accelerate the learning process.
Learning a new language is not an easy task. It requires motivation, effort, and the right attitude. Regularly remind yourself why you are learning the language and the benefits awaiting you after completing the learning process.
So, How Long Does it Really Take to Learn French?
I’m sure you want to hear the numbers. The United States Foreign Service Institute (FSI) provides the most up-to-date advice on how long it takes to learn French. But again, this is just an estimate. The US FSI doesn’t know your motivations or the type of language learning method you’re using. So, make sure you read these figures with a grain of salt.
French is a Category I language, so it’s relatively easy to learn for native English speakers. It will take approximately 580 hours or 23 weeks of study to reach complete French fluency. Which we could break down as the following:
- If you study for 1 hour every day, you can learn French in 1.5 years.
- If you spend 6 hours every day learning French, you can learn it in less than 100 days.
- And if you only spend 20 minutes/day on French, it will take you over 4.5 years to master it.
How Long Does it Take to Learn French if You Speak Spanish?
If you speak Spanish, then learning French will be easy for you. Both languages share vocabulary words, grammatical structures and have some cognates (words that sound and look the same but are from different languages). If you are learning French and encounter cognates, you will understand the meaning of the words faster.
How Long Does it Take to Learn French if You Know English?
Knowing English can speed the learning process. It is, however, essential to know false cognates. These words are very similar in writing and pronunciation, but they actually have opposite meanings. At first, false cognates can cause a lot of confusion, but they will eventually help you to tell the differences between the two languages.
Learning French Faster
There are many methods that you can employ to help you learn French faster. They range from French courses, textbooks, and online activities and games. Choosing the right learning method will depend on your goal; however, it is advisable that you select a learning method that is efficient, accurate, and will let you have fun while learning.
Learning French Online
If you are someone who loves routine, then taking a French online class is your best option. You can research and read various reviews that will help you choose the best program suitable for you. However, online courses may not be for you if you are on a budget because they can be a bit expensive and time-consuming.
French Language Learning Games
Learning games are an excellent source of entertainment as you learn. An excellent example of a learning game is the cloze test, which requires the learner to determine missing words in a passage. The game will significantly help with your grammar and comprehension of the French Language. It can be easy or hard, depending on your skill level.
Practicing French Conversation
Having regular French conversations will speed up your learning process. You can find partners who are at the same level or an advanced level than you and converse with them. If it is difficult to find partners in your circle, you can host your French conversation event. Alternatively, you can find virtual partners.
Use the Right Language Learning Method
By now, you can probably estimate how long it will take you to reach French fluency. But, there’s one more way you can make it even faster. Master French by only focusing on the most common words and phrases. Without useless vocabulary to tie you down, you can fast-track your journey to fluency. And OptiLingo is here to help you with that.
This language learning app is not just convenient. It also gives you the most high-frequency words and phrases. Only learn what you need, and achieve fluency in French in record time. No estimates will be a match to you if you use the best language learning methods. Discover how much more effective language learning can be when you try OptiLingo!