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Time to Learn a New language

  1. Jul 1, 2009 #1
    How long would it take someone to learn french? I had heard of people learning it in abought a year but I think I can do better.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2009 #2
    Learning a language takes much more than a year, to begin with, it requires actually living in the country. Being able to communicate and manage with daily life is not knowing the language. You may be able to communicate in a few months, even maybe weeks if you are gifted, provided you study every day.
  4. Jul 1, 2009 #3
    I'm 15 so kids learn faster than adults right? Unfortunately I don't have alot of time throughout the day cause I'm teaching myself calculus.
  5. Jul 1, 2009 #4
    From the people I have known that have learned a second language they were only capable of learning it over an extended period of time. A friend of mine learned japanese over a few years, married a japanese exchange student, lived in japan for a year or so, and still does not consider himself fluent.

    French being more closely related to english you may have better luck though.

    Edit: FYI Humanino is a frenchman by the way.
  6. Jul 1, 2009 #5
    Are you calling me an adult !?
    Seriously, give yourself rigor in learning steadily, otherwise you will loose your vocabulary, better say loose efficiency in the learning process. If you manage to construct more and more complicated sentences, the extent of your vocabulary eventually "sticks to itself".
  7. Jul 1, 2009 #6
    Don't fool yourself, he is calling you old.
  8. Jul 1, 2009 #7
    I may be old as long as I never grow up. :cry:
  9. Jul 1, 2009 #8


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    Ah...it's ok, Humanino Pan :smile:.
  10. Jul 1, 2009 #9


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    Only if one is immersed in a language on a daily basis could one learn it and be proficient in one year.

    It would take maybe two years to get a basic ability to read, write and speak in a new language.

    I learned Spanish from 4-9th grade, and German from 9-12th grade with another year in university. I can read, speak and write in German fairly well, but to be really proficient, I'd have to live and work in a German speaking country for a year or so. I can speak a little Spanish, but it would take an intensive course or living in a Spanish speaking environment for me to recover what I lost from disuse.

    I was learning Russian and Bulgarian for a while, but I'm too busy at the moment to sustain my learning and keep it up.
  11. Jul 1, 2009 #10
    Take it from someone who has learned 3 languages to fluency; being 15 gives you no major advantage. Linguistically you are an adult. 'Children' are from birth to about 9 years old if you're talking about relevance top language learning ability. Your commitment and discipline will get you much farther than 'Lookit me, I'm reading French grammar books!'

    Try http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp
    And http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/
    And a classic AND VERY RELEVANT http://tesl-ej.org/ej45/tesl-ej.ej45.fr1.pdf [Broken]

    Those are three of the best resources on language learning. Courses by themselves won't help you, memorizing verb tenses won't help you, workbooks won't help you. I learned German to advanced fluency in 9 months so it can be done. It helps greatly, however, if you have prior language experience (such as being bilingual as a child or studying another language to fluency, NOT high school Spanish classes). Good luck I suppose?

    Edit: And people who tell you that you MUST live in a foreign country to gain proficiency are severely misguided. What matters is your personal environment, not what's outside of your window. If I listen to Russian, read Russian, write Russian, play Russian video games, and minimize my English interference, it's 99% the same as living in Russia in terms of language learning. The key is immersion.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jul 1, 2009 #11
    Is that an excuse ? an explanation ?

    But I guess the OP doesn't mean it is his purpose to go abroad. Period!
  13. Jul 1, 2009 #12
    An excuse for what, exactly? Your English is a bit hard to understand, based on your other posts. It's a statement, by the way.
  14. Jul 1, 2009 #13
    Sure, I certainly agree, and in fact I did the same as a teenager with english (american) culture. However, it is quite a challenge to immerse yourself in the french culture while in the US, at least much more challenging than immersing yourself in the american culture while in France.

    Well, honestly, take a couple years abroad as a foreign student, and then you'll tell me whether it was worth :biggrin:
  15. Jul 1, 2009 #14
    What about speaking?
  16. Jul 1, 2009 #15
    Humanino: I lived abroad in Austria for 11 months during junior year of highschool. It WAS worth it, but I came in with zippo German and came out the msot fluent out of 100 exchange students. Someone barely learned anything because they didn't put any effort in at all. They just hung out, made smalltalk in German, and thought that they would absorb it by osmosis. Didn't happen! So it helps and it makes immersion easier for the lazy person, but it's not a magic key.

    Yes, speaking as well. It's almost midnight where I am, so I apologize if I forget some things :)
  17. Jul 2, 2009 #16
    Well since you lived in France I might as well ask you how it is there compared to the U.S. I was considering living (in Paris) there for a few summers after I turn 18. And as for learning french, is it possible to learn it without formal classes? I really don't have the time to go to french class and the french teacher is a b*%#&.
  18. Jul 2, 2009 #17
    This is quite a difficult question, partly because I know virtually nothing about you. I do believe that there are cultural and behavioral differences between Europe in general and the US, but I believe the are not so relevant as the differences between just people and places (anywhere, inside the US or inside Europe). Countryside versus big cities, Paris is actually neither of them and has people coming from both. I believe the people at first will appear less friendly, at least less open and harder to get in touch with. But if you just follow your instinct and manage to make friends, I also believe they might become lifelong. In any case, I would definitely advise to go study abroad, be it France or somewhere else, as I would advise traveling and discovering other cultures in general ! Discovering somewhere else usually takes time, and is best done with a local friend, so going abroad for study is perfect.

    Learning (anything) without formal classes is possible, if you are serious about it, and for languages there is excellent material (reading and audio) available readily in any bookstore. In addition you may be able to find movies in french when you completed the highest level typically available, and that helps tremendously not only to learn the actual language but most importantly to become familiar with a different way of thinking, culture, and most difficult : jokes.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  19. Jul 2, 2009 #18
    Well I'm quite accustomed to European culture since 90% of my relatives live in Italy (I'm 50% Italian).
  20. Jul 2, 2009 #19
    Surely you'd be better off going for Italian then? Seeing as you could use your relatives to practice on and if you visit you could have experience minus some of the cost.
  21. Jul 2, 2009 #20
    I had though abought that a little bit but I have always really felt like I had to go to France for some reason, never really cared much abought Italy. Paris seems so much nicer, a french accent sounds better than an Italian one to. Plus Italy is right next door to France.

    Oh and a side note, what music do french people listen to?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  22. Jul 2, 2009 #21
    Yeah it's pretty much one of the only ways you will learn a language rapidly. Use the resources you have (given 90% of your family is Italian).

    I prefer Germany to be honest, can't see anything attractive about France at all. Although I really am too lazy to learn another language at a push I'd say that Australian would be my language of choice. :biggrin:
  23. Jul 2, 2009 #22
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  24. Jul 2, 2009 #23


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    Learning the basics of a language (rules/grammar, script, and basic compositions) took me about 6 months of part time studies without any sort of direct immersion. If you are committed you can certainly do this in about 3 months.

    Going from basic to intermediate is very easy. But the most difficult for me is going from intermediate to advanced. I've been stuck here in intermediate for almost a year now! I guess this is mostly due to my lack of time, but making that transition is certainly not an easy one.
  25. Jul 2, 2009 #24
    Have you ever been to France though?
  26. Jul 2, 2009 #25
    Yes. Twice.
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