How much time does it really take to become fluent in English? 🤔 Most teachers will tell you that it depends, which is definitely a true statement! But today, we’re going to go even deeper into that answer to understand why it depends, and what it depends on. This will guarantee that you make an informed decision, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into, when you decide to learn with Go Natural English.
How do you know how long it will take you to become fluent in English? Well, first, you need to know what level of fluency you want to achieve! Next, what is fluency to YOU? Why do YOU want to speak English? The answers to these questions are personal, and they are the foundation for your English studies. Take a minute to answer these for yourself, and then you’ll be ready to continue achieving your fluency goals. This will keep you motivated throughout your entire learning experience!
And before we jump in, we want to encourage you to get our ebook, “The English Fluency Formula,” right here! This is a great resource for you as an English learner, and it will help you decide the direction you’d like to take in your English fluency journey. Check it out!
We get it. We’ve been there! When you’re so eager to start learning, but aren’t sure about the time commitment or length of the process, the last thing you want to hear is “it depends.” It’s probably the most frustrating answer ever, but we hope we can make it a little easier to understand.
We know that it leaves you waiting, wanting more. It depends on what, exactly?! Well, first we need to break it all up into three parts: what the question really means, how long it takes to become fluent in English, and how to use that time better to learn English faster.
WHAT DOES THIS QUESTION REALLY MEAN
When we ask this question, we’re not really asking how much time it takes to learn a language fluently. What we’re really asking is: “Is it worth it?”
Is the time I’ll put into learning a language actually worth what I’m going to get out of it? Don’t get us wrong; you may definitely be asking about the amount of time it will take (we all have busy schedules and we have to plan accordingly!), but our fluency goals go beyond just that.
If you learn to use your time in the most efficient way, the way you think about the amount of time it will take you to learn will change. The way you measure whether or not it’s worth it for you is easy when you take into account these factors:
- English is a global language that will help you when you travel, when you’re researching, when you’re learning about new things, when you meet people from other countries, and the list goes on and on.
- English is a language that you can use in your current job or your overall career. Whether you are looking to improve your current position, or if you’re hoping to advance or change jobs altogether, having a fluent command of the English language will get you there faster.
- Learning English (or any language) is a workout for your brain! When we learn a new language, we are keeping our brains exercised, young, and beautiful! 😍
Becoming fluent in English is a process, and it’s not something that just happens overnight. It’s not like getting a Christmas present 🎁 where you have it from one moment to the next. English fluency isn’t something you get the minute you pass a test, either. Instead, it’s a learning experience that is ongoing, and you grow with every new day full of new things to learn.
Each day that you study will feel like putting money into a savings account at your bank. When you need to use English, you can take that savings, or English study time, out and USE it! You might reach a point where you feel like you’ve used up all your “English savings,” but that just means you need to “save” more, or study more, so that you can top up that savings account again.
HOW LONG DOES IT REALLY TAKE TO BECOME FLUENT IN ENGLISH?
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR for short, there are six levels of fluency (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). , beginning with A1 and ending with mastery/fluency in C2. Each of these levels takes approximately 200 hours of study. Therefore, the estimate is that the highest level of fluency would take an average of 1200 hours of study to attain.
This estimate is average because of a few things:
- Your familiarity with learning other languages. Have you ever learned another language, and do you speak it now? If you’ve studied, spoken, or even taught another language, that skill will help you obtain fluency faster. With each language you have experience with, the easier it will be to learn the next.
- How you use your time. You want to be able to speed up your learning and minimize the amount of hours it takes to study and learn English fluently. There’s a huge difference between a focused hour of study, where you’re just immersed in learning English, and an hour of study where you’re not really sure what you’re doing, what you should be looking at, or what materials to use. Or, maybe you are using the right materials and you do know what you should be doing, but you’re spending half of your study time distracted by your phone or social media. We hate to break it to you but, if you’re not focused, those hours are not counting! Apply yourself, focus yourself, and commit your attention to the full amount of time you need to study.
- Get help and feedback. Those 1,200 hours are going to go by a lot faster if you incorporate these two things into your studies. If you get help, for example, to know what you should be studying, and in what order, and you get the right materials, it will help you spend your time more wisely doing the studying you need to get done. Feedback is super important because you there are so many things you might not be aware of, and therefore don’t know. For example, if you’re learning English, and you keep making the same mistakes, or you have the same doubts each time you make a certain sentence, you’re not progressing. You need to get that feedback in order to get those corrections and learn to improve your language skills.
HOW TO BETTER USE YOUR TIME TO LEARN ENGLISH FASTER
If you’ve made it this far in our post, it’s likely that you are already an intermediate-level learner, which cuts the hours you need to achieve fluency down to around 600. That’s great!!
If you’re super focused, and you have a lot of free time to study, you could probably reach fluency in about six months if you’re studying around 5 hours a day. Remember: this is just rough math, and every learner is different!
It’s not secret that most of us live very busy lives! We have our jobs, our families, and a whole bunch of other things that keep our days occupied. If that sounds more like you, and you’re only able to dedicate a small amount of your day to study (a couple hours, more or less), you’re more likely to achieve fluency in about a year.
No matter what your schedule looks like, the reality is that learning English takes time. However, one thing we do here at Go Natural English is to help you make learning English a normal part of your daily life. We need focused study time, but we also need time where we’re using English on a day-to-day basis. Even if you do manage to study 5 hours a day, you still need time to process English, to live with English, to make it a habit, and to feel comfortable using English as part of your life.
We don’t want you to cram, or internalize, your English studies into a short amount of time. Your fluency is not a test! Instead, we encourage you to study in bursts, about 5-15 minute ones throughout the day, in order to achieve lasting fluency. This will keep your attention focused, it will keep you engaged, and it will fit in easily into your busy life.
As part of the Go Natural English method, we try to develop good habits to make English a natural part of your life. You’re not only learning English; you’re learning to make it a part of YOU!