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How long to learn French

How to learn French fast? How long does it take to learn French? This is perhaps the most common question from students who wish to learn French. 

How long a student needs to learn French will depend on several factors, with some taking a longer time than others. How long it finally takes will depend on several factors discussed below.

1. Desired Proficiency level

You can speak French or any other language at different proficiency levels. For instance, a French lawyer will use a much more sophisticated language (higher proficiency level) compared to a French child (lower proficiency level), although both of them are fluent in French! Consequently, if you simply wish to attain Beginner Level proficiency, 40-60 hours of learning will be sufficient. However, to reach an advanced level of proficiency, much more hours are needed!

2. Available time for learning

The time that you can set aside for learning French will definitely affect your progress. Hence, it will take a busy person a much longer time to learn French compared to someone with much time at his disposal. 

3. Gaps in between classes

How long it takes to learn French also depends on gaps in between classes. Longer gaps better classes means more chance to forget what you have previously learned. Ideally, we recommend a maximum of 2 days gap in between lessons for maximum retention. 

4. Mother tongue influence

Your mother tongue can deeply influence how long you take to learn French, especially French pronunciation. There is such a thing called mother tongue influence that mostly impact on your pronunciation of French words. 

5. Knowledge of another 'Romance' language

Those who know another romance language (such as Italian and Spanish) will be able to learn French much faster than others. That is because many French words share a similar root with Italian and Spanish words, making it easier for Italians and Spaniards to correctly guess the meaning of those words, especially in written French. 

6. Knowledge of another foreign language

If you already know a foreign language (especially another European language) with some similarities to the French language - such as having the same alphabet, sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar pattern -  it is easier for you to make sense of French as a language.  

Learn French Fast [3x faster] with our Accelerated Learning Method

Here's an idea of the minimum hours required to attain different levels of French proficiency. We mention learning hours instead of time frame (weeks, months, etc) as it is more accurate. For instance, a student may take 4 hours/month (if she takes 1h lesson/week) or 56 hours/month (if she takes 14h lesson/week). 

Proficiency Level
       French Faster
  Lower Beginner
         60-100 hours
         40-60 hours
  Upper Beginner
        150-200 hours
         60-80 hours
  Lower Intermediate
        350-400 hours
         80-120 hours
  Upper Intermediate  
        550-650 hours
        120-180 hours
  Lower Advanced
        800-950 hours
        180-240 hours
  Upper Advanced
        > 1000 hours
        240-300 hours

Article by Nageeb Gounjaria

Last update: 27 June, 2017

Learning French

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