The U.S. Overseas Service Institute estimates you may develop into fluent in Spanish after 600 – 750 studying hours.
Nevertheless, in the event you learn the high quality print on the FSI web site (and the research they printed in 1999), you’ll discover the true reply is a bit more nuanced than that.
Yhis estimate is just legitimate for native English audio system who’re “excellent or higher” at studying languages. And, crucially, that 600-750 hour estimate is supposed to be classroom hours. The FSI recommends the identical quantity of self-study hours along with that to completely attain fluency!
So I assume my first assertion ought to really learn: If you’re a local English speaker with an outstanding means to be taught languages, you’ll want 1200-1500 hours to achieve Spanish fluency.
However what about the remainder of us?
How lengthy will it take you to achieve a sure ability stage in Spanish?
The A1 stage covers very primary grammar and vocabulary matters. It’s meant to simply be a basis upon which you’ll construct the remainder of your Spanish data.
Between 70 and 80 hours of research needs to be sufficient to achieve the A1 stage of the Frequent European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Relying on the training technique you select and the depth of your learning, this could take you not more than two to a few months.
Whole variety of hours: 70-80 (between two and three months complete)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Free Spanish on-line assets
Reaching the A2 stage means you’ll be capable of perceive and produce primary Spanish sentences in easy, on a regular basis conditions.
To succeed in this stage, you’ll want between 80 and 100 extra hours of research after reaching the A1 stage. Relying in your studying technique, this might take you between two (intensive tempo) and 4 (regular tempo) months.
Whole variety of hours from A1: 150-180 (between 4 and 7 months complete)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Spanish textbooks
The B1 stage is the place you really begin being conversational in Spanish.
This and the following stage are going to take the longest to finish as a result of they embody the entire “meat” of your language-learning journey.
Ranging from the A2 stage, you’ll want roughly 150-180 research hours to achieve B1.
When you’re following an intensive path, this quantity of hours can simply be achieved in three months. At a standard tempo (one hour of Spanish every single day), six months needs to be sufficient.
Whole variety of hours from A1: 300-360 (between seven and 13 months complete)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Spanish language apps
When you attain the B2 stage, you’ll be capable of have informal conversations with native Spanish audio system with out an excessive amount of issue.
Nevertheless, you may additionally really feel like your studying curve is slowing down and also you’re getting caught.
It is a widespread state of affairs when studying languages, and it even has a reputation: the intermediate plateau.
The B2 stage would require you to review for about 240-260 extra hours after you’ve reached B1, so it’s going to take some time earlier than you grasp it.
When you’re studying intensively, you’ll want round 4 months to cowl all the pieces. Nevertheless, in the event you’re studying at a standard tempo, you’re going to spend between eight and 10 months on this stage.
Whole variety of hours from A1: 540-620 (between 11 months and two years)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Spanish podcasts
Paradoxically, when you attain the C1 stage, issues begin getting simpler once more!
At this level, you’ll be fully conversational in Spanish and can be capable of talk comfortably in nearly each state of affairs.
After you’ve reached B2, attending to the C1 stage requires you to review round 200-240 extra hours, however you might be able to do that sooner or slower relying in your studying technique.
When you’re following a really intensive path, you’ll want roughly 4 months. In case your studying tempo is slower (one hour a day), seven months needs to be greater than sufficient.
Whole variety of hours from A1: 740-860 (between 15 months and a pair of.5 years)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Native-level content material, just like the movies out there on FluentU
The C2 stage is the final within the CEFR scale.
When you full it, you’ll lastly be capable of say that you just’re fluent in Spanish!
However earlier than that, you’ll want to achieve the C1 stage and add 180-240 extra hours of research on high of that, which ought to take round three to 6 months.
Whole variety of hours from A1: 920-1100 (between 1.5 and three years)
Greatest studying device for this stage: Native-level content material
How lengthy will it take to realize your objectives in Spanish?
To go an official examination
The time you’ll want to review to go an official examination like the DELE examination will rely on the extent of the examination. You’ll find time estimates for the completely different CEFR proficiency ranges within the earlier part.
To be conversational
You’ll begin being conversational in Spanish someplace between the A2 and the B1 ranges, for which you’ll want between 4 months and one 12 months of research.
If you wish to be comfy in any type of state of affairs, you’ll want to achieve the B2 stage on the very least (11 months to 2 years).
To be really fluent
With the intention to develop into fluent in Spanish, you’ll want to attain the C2 stage, which is able to take you between 1.5 and three years.
To talk with native Spanish audio system
You don’t want excellent Spanish to speak to individuals, so you can begin doing it as quickly as you are feeling prepared.
I like to recommend you intention to achieve not less than the A2 stage (from 4 to seven months of studying) so you may have interaction extra actively in conversations.
To discover a new job
You’ll want a decently proficient stage of Spanish to discover a good job that requires the language.
If I had been you, I’d intention for not less than the B2 stage (between 11 months to 2 years of research).
To journey to a Spanish-speaking nation
You’ll solely want some rudimentary Spanish to outlive throughout your holidays in a Spanish-speaking nation.
An A1 stage needs to be sufficient (round two to a few months of studying in the event you actually need to cowl all of the fundamentals).
How lengthy will it take to be taught Spanish by your most popular technique?
Studying on my own
With the suitable assets, this is usually a somewhat quick studying technique.
If all the pieces goes in keeping with plan, you may research Spanish by yourself and attain fluency in round 1.5 years.
Attending a standard course
Simply talking personally, conventional Spanish programs are my least favourite studying technique as a result of it’s a must to comply with a selected curriculum, which has usually been created to make the programs final so long as attainable.
When you want this manner of studying, you’ll want not less than three to 4 years to achieve fluency.
Studying with a tutor
Studying with a tutor is among the finest methods to be taught rapidly and effectively whereas having a selected objective in thoughts (like desirous to discover a job overseas).
When you’re assembly along with your tutor 3 times every week, one 12 months needs to be sufficient to achieve the C1 stage.
Studying with a language companion
This technique could be very efficient if yow will discover a local language companion, however it may be fairly messy with no well-planned curriculum.
When you select this studying technique, you’re in all probability simply aiming to be conversational. Six months needs to be sufficient to get you to that time.
Immersion at residence
Spanish immersion is among the finest strategies to achieve fluency.
Working towards immersion at residence won’t be as quick as really going overseas. But in the event you really decide to immersing your self in Spanish, you’ll be capable of attain fluency in round 1.5 years.
Immersion in a Spanish-speaking nation
If this had been a contest, the successful studying technique can be immersion in a Spanish-speaking nation.
As you may think about, that is often the costliest strategy to be taught a language. However in the event you’re capable of go for this technique (and put effort into it!), 9 months to a 12 months may be sufficient to achieve fluency.
How lengthy will it take to be taught Spanish primarily based in your native language?
For native audio system of a Germanic language
When you converse a Germanic language (like English, Dutch or German), you’ll be taught at a “regular” tempo so far as the FSI estimates are involved.
This implies you’ll probably have some difficulties with matters comparable to Spanish conjugation and the Spanish subjunctive. However, total, studying Spanish shouldn’t be an not possible activity for you and needs to be doable in 18-24 months.
For native audio system of a Romance language
In case your native language is a Romance language (like French, Italian or Portuguese), then you definately’re in luck! Spanish is a Romance language itself, so lots of the vocabulary and grammar you be taught will in all probability look very acquainted to you.
Studying Spanish will take you half the quantity of hours an English speaker would wish. When you research laborious, you could possibly simply attain fluency in 9 to 12 months.
For native audio system of a Slavic language
Slavic languages embody Russian, Polish and Croatian. I’ve been instructing Spanish to Polish college students for over a decade and, generally, they put Spanish on the easy-to-learn record.
My Polish college students have a tendency to wish from two to 4 years to achieve fluency, however the learners who come to my one-on-one courses attain the C2 stage (fluency) in round 1.5 years.
For native audio system of Asian, African and different language households
I’ve requested 14 of my mates who converse Asian and African languages (together with 9 who’re fully fluent in Spanish) for his or her opinion about studying the Spanish language.
The consensus is that, even when your native language has a very completely different writing system from Spanish (like Arabic, Japanese or Chinese language do), Spanish is definitely a straightforward language to be taught in comparison with, say, English.
For instance, Spanish pronunciation is fairly simple (vowels sounds are tremendous predictable).
Particularly, Arabic audio system ought to have a bonus in studying Spanish. Arabic had an enormous affect on the event of early Spanish throughout the 800-year interval of the Center Ages when the Moors occupied Spain. So Arabic and Spanish nonetheless have lots of very comparable vocabulary!
My mates who converse Asian and African languages have spent a median of three years to achieve fluency, with Spanish conjugation being the winner of the “Most Tough Matter” award.
As you may see, it is attainable to reply the everlasting query of how lengthy it takes to be taught Spanish!
In fact, the period of time you’ll want to develop into fluent can differ considerably. All of it is determined by your studying technique and tempo.
However these estimates ought to assist maintain you on observe as you rack up these studying hours and advance your expertise.
Now that you’ve got the solutions you want, all it’s a must to do now could be take step one of your journey!
Keep curious, my mates. And as at all times, completely happy studying!
Francisco J. Vare loves instructing and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and also you’ll usually discover him studying languages, instructing college students or studying.