How long does it take to learn to speak Spanish fluently?
Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group of languages of the Indo-European language family, which evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. It is the world’s second-most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese, and the world’s fourth-most spoken language overall after English, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindi. Spanish is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. Today, it is a global language with nearly 500 million native speakers, mainly in Spain and the Americas. As a Romance language, Spanish is a descendant of Latin and has one of the smaller degrees of difference from it (about 20%) alongside Sardinian and Italian. Around 75% of modern Spanish vocabulary is derived from Latin, including Latin borrowings from Ancient Greek. Alongside English and French, it is also one of the most taught foreign languages throughout the world. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is also used as an official language by the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States, the African Union and many other international organizations. Despite its large number of speakers, Spanish does not feature prominently in scientific writing and technology, though it is better represented in the humanities and social sciences. Spanish is the third most used language on internet websites after English and Russian.
When you’re thinking of learning a new language such as Spanish, it's quite normal to have many questions and concerns with respect to how long it will take to learn the nuances, dialect, idioms, slangs to be able to speak like a native speaker.
If you’re serious about learning Spanish and you’d like to consider your options, here’s what you should know: everyone’s experience is different. How quickly you learn Spanish is dependent upon many personal and external factors, including how much time of time you can commit each day, what types of methods you’re using to learn, do you have adequate support and resources, do you have a trainer to help you improve your Spanish skills, do you have a conversational speaker to practice your skills with, have you learnt any language before, etc
FSI – Foreign Service Institute, USA has classified languages according to difficulty levels for English language speakers. Spanish falls into Category 1. In other words, it is considered one of the easiest languages to learn because it is “closely related” to English. And according to the FSI, it would take an English speaker approximately 23-24 weeks or 575-600 hours of study to become proficient in the Spanish language. English speakers must keep themselves aware of the existing false cognates that will help you differentiate between the two languages more efficiently. Alternatively knowing any of the Romance languages can actually give you an edge learning Spanish because these languages share similar grammatical structures and vocabulary words called cognates. Each subsequent language learnt, makes you a pro to know the method of learning on your own. You are able to identify your learning! Another factor that will help you learn faster is, if you’ve learnt any bit of Spanish in school, or you are aware of basic Spanish in other words you have a bit of foundation to build on. You may also have an easier time learning Spanish if you have access to a community of Spanish speaking people. Practising with Conversation Partners is an important part of the learning process, and having Spanish speakers near you gives you more opportunities to actually use your Spanish skills. Learning Spanish is also easier if started at a young age because Kids pick up information without apprehension and internalize it better. Again, for those who wish to master spoken or business Spanish or learn only the basics, the road is much easier. One important piece of advice – unless you approach learning any new thing with complete heart and soul, efforts, dedicated time, motivation, excitement, chalked-out schedule and commitment you will never make any progress. The same goes for learning a language or learning Spanish. You need to have an intent and need to learn else you will not get any far. Use that as a source of strength when you are disheartened over something. Stop yourself! Collect yourself all over again and restart as fresh with a positive mind. Talk to yourself and believe you don’t have an option to fail. YOU HAVE TO DO IT!
To define your fluency goals and develop realistic expectations. Its also a great way to set realistic goals and determine an achievable plan for reaching them.
A goal is to learn to speak Spanish at an advanced level in just one month by studying only two hours per week, is not a realistic expectation. However, if you plan to achieve an advanced level by studying and practising Spanish for multiple hours a day, over the course of three months, that might actually be doable. If you are not sure how to study the integral aspects of the language, start by learning the rules.
Fluency in Spanish is a need-based personal opinion. Language proficiency or linguistic proficiency is the ability of an individual to speak or perform in a language. For some being able to hold an understandable basic conversation with their business clients or friends could mean fluency, for others, however, it could mean being able to manoeuvre their way around while travelling, or an advanced skill level that allows you to engage in meaningful conversations, and for the others fluency could we actually talk like a native Spanish speaker. Whatever be your personal parameter or need, it is important to note that there are different levels of fluency available!
Learning a romance language for the first time will require a strong intent, will, resolution, a lot of effort and some homework such as past tense and subject-verb agreement. If you commit to this early and often, you can quickly ramp up to the level of someone who already knows a romance language.
Ways to Learn Spanish Faster
Now learning Spanish, you would have explored how there are a number of ways to achieve success in Learning Spanish.
To learn a new skill, the first thing you need is to set a realistic goal for yourself- define what you want and how early you need it, then it needs a compelling intent, unshakeable determination and willingness to go beyond the ordinary to accomplish your goals, coupled with determination, commitment and smart efforts channelised straight to the target goal.
Now, after arming yourself with the above, you need to proactively judge all options available to you and select one that aligns your personal learning style with the right mix of speed and efficiency along with accuracy and fun. You could choose from online classes to online games, flashcards, audiobooks, podcasts, suitable playlists on Spotify, Spanish movies on Netflix with English subtitles and English movies with Spanish subtitles, joining a literary club, volunteer for Spanish community events, open houses, community projects, apps such as Memrise, Multibhashi, Lingvist, Duolingo, to study or italki, Couchsurfing meetup or any language exchange group to find conversation partners to practice spoken Spanish with, workbooks, activities to pull pleasure textbook reading or online or offline courses taught why are the trainers all while choosing the right techniques to reach your goal.
Conclusion: According to FSI, you’ll achieve fluency in around six months if you can manage to dedicate 3 hours a day to this language. Reduce your Spanish time to one hour a day and, according to FSI, it will take about 1.5 years to learn. Spanish is one of the most accessible languages for English speakers. These are just guidelines and largely depend on the amount of time you’re planning on dedicating to the language, the type of resources you use, your approach and other factors. Your resource quality can determine how long it takes to learn Spanish. However, if your goal is to speak Spanish soon and comfortably, you’ll have to get yourself out there and walk away from apps that only teach grammar.
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