They say that to really perfect a skill, you need to focus on that skill for a total of 10,000 hours. That comes down to just over a year, but the amount of hours refers to the time spent actually practicing that skill. That means that if you were to perfect a talent in just over a year, you wouldn’t have taken time to eat, sleep, socialize or do anything else that normal humans do in the course of a year. So how long does it take to learn Spanish really?
Let’s scratch that 10,000 hour rule. How long it would take you to learn Spanish all depends on whether you want to learn touristy Spanish or become completely fluent. Let’s focus on wanting to become a great conversationalist, meaning you can write and speak Spanish without too much trouble or confusion.
Practice makes perfect, and there’s no time like the present! Start with a Spanish course for beginners, and open up a whole new world of possibilities.
In order to learn something, you have to really want to learn it. Otherwise, how will you get yourself to spend hours and hours focusing on the subject? Think about it: what was your least favorite class in school? Now, can you tell me 10 things you learned in that class? Probably not. Information that is uninteresting to you doesn’t stay in your long term memory as long as information that you find fascinating or helpful. Or, more often than not, that information was stored in your short term memory and was never transferred over to long term (haven’t you ever crammed for a test before?).
So let’s say you really want to learn Spanish. It’ll make you more desirable for certain job positions, and you’ll be able to communicate with people in many different parts of the world (including the US)! This could be the beginning of many exciting opportunities!
It’s important to remember that everyone learns at different rates. What takes someone a month to learn may take someone else two years. It’s a matter of taking things at your own pace, and not making it into a competition. It’s also considerably easier to learn a language if you are practicing it constantly, so living in an area where Spanish is spoken will help you learn faster.
Regardless of whether you are living in Barcelona or the middle of Oklahoma, you have to practice – either with others or by yourself. If you practice Spanish for two hours a day for three months, especially if you’re engaging in conversation, it’s possible to know enough Spanish to be able to hold a conversation with someone who is fluent in the language.
But here’s the trick: two hours a day means two hours of intense studying and practicing. Can you work on a term paper for two hours straight without checking your Facebook? Can you run on the treadmill for two hours straight without taking a break? If you can do either of those things, you’re already on the right path! It’s all about dedication and focus.
Learning Spanish isn’t like learning how to ride a bike. You can’t practice it for a week straight, forget about it, and come back to it months later expecting to remember everything. It’s a daily routine, something you need to focus on every day even if it’s only for a half an hour. The more frequently you study, the more embedded in your memory the grammar rules and vocabulary will be. You can start with a firm foundation of the language by taking this course!
Focus on Every Aspect
Speaking a language is a lot different than writing a language. And being able to understand a language is a lot different than actually holding a conversation. If you spend all of your time learning the rules of Spanish grammar, you’ll have a difficult time trying to hold a casual conversation. The same is true for any other aspect of the language. If you grew up only reading English instead of speaking it, do you think you would be able to speak as eloquently as you do now? You can begin perfecting your conversational Spanish through this helpful course!
So How Long Does it Really Take?
The truth is, there is no concrete answer to this question. It all depends on how much time you’re willing to put in, how fast you learn, and how fluent you desire to be. If you spend a year in a Spanish-speaking country, conversing with people as well as maintaining your personal studies every day, you have a very high chance of becoming fluent in the language. Someone living outside of a Spanish-speaking country can become fluent in the same amount of time if they remain completely dedicated to the language and practice frequently. Generally – since humans are not robots and find it difficult to remain focused for extended periods of time – it will take 3-4 years to really master a language enough to feel comfortable speaking, writing, and reading it. If you want to be able to discuss difficult concepts with important members of society, well, you’ll need to put in significantly more time.
Just remember, you never really stop learning a language. If you were finished learning the English language, after 15 or 30 or 50 years – however long you’ve been speaking it – you would know millions of words. I’m not saying you don’t have a wonderful vocabulary, but it is nearly impossible for someone to know every single word in the English language (or any language for that matter)! If you focus on learning Spanish one day at a time, every day you’ll get a little bit better. Don’t try to put a deadline on learning, just work on improving your skill bit by bit. You will see results!
Want to start with the basics? This course has narrowed down the most frequently used Spanish words to help get you started! And if you’re ready to dive right in, start learning Spanish on four different difficulty levels.