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Bonjour! It appears that you have decided to learn French, the “language of love.” Aside from the clichés, French is an extremely useful language to know, as it is spoken by approximately 300 million people as a first or second language.

However, mastering French can take a lot of time, particularly if you don’t use helpful tips and methods. So, how long does it take to learn French? The answer to that question depends on a variety of factors, both language-related and learning-related.

We can estimate how many hours or months it will take to learn French, but this is not a set number. This time may vary depending on your native language, learning methods, resource availability, and other factors.

How fast can you learn French? Learning-based factors

The first and most important factor is how difficult a language is relative to your native language. However, when learning French, keep in mind that the time required to master it varies greatly depending on your learning style, motivation, and perseverance.

So, how fast can you learn French? Let’s review the factors that can influence it.

Learning style and methods

Your overall learning style is one of the most important factors that can influence the amount of time it takes to master French. Are you the visual or auditory type? Do you prefer to learn on your own, or do you enjoy a good group discussion with feedback from a peer or tutor?

It’s possible that focusing solely on written language will take you a long time to master pronunciation, which is one of the most difficult aspects of French. On the other hand, if you concentrate on conversing, you may fall behind in learning French grammar.

The trick is to supplement your learning with tutoring. Experienced online French tutors can assist you by focusing on your specific needs and areas that require additional practice.

Pace of learning influences the time to learn French

The speed at which someone is able to study and absorb new information in French will directly impact the duration it takes to achieve mastery of the language.

That is, if you devote a few hours per week and attend frequent study sessions and lessons, you will learn French faster than if you devote only a few minutes. Setting aside a few hours per week for dedicated study can help you improve your French skills quickly.

Of course, you should consider your own learning speed, as one person may learn faster than another—which is perfectly fine! If you decide to learn French with a language tutor on LiveXP, you can choose your own learning pace. Choose a set number of lessons and their duration per week, and learn the way you feel more comfortable. Accept your unique learning pace, and your progress will reward you.

Consistency in studying

Consistency is possibly the most important aspect of language learning. Even if you can’t devote two hours a day to studying, it’s preferable to study for a few minutes every day rather than having a lengthy and exhausting study session once a week.

If you work on building French vocabulary consistently and frequently reviewing what you have learned, then you will achieve the results you want really quickly! The Word Trainer feature on LiveXP will make it easier to learn and retain vocabulary with strict consistency. The Trainer works according to spaced repetition algorithm and aims to help you learn words in the most efficient way.

Motivation for learning

How many hours to learn French, you might ask? The answer is: as many as you can! Learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires dedication and determination, and, most importantly, a strong drive to help you keep on trying.

Nonetheless, in order to not get bored and keep learning consistently, your motivation has to be strong. Most of the time, learning something and keeping up the pace is easier when we have a specific goal in mind or simply enjoy what we are studying. So, if you are motivated, you may continue to seek out active and passive French learning opportunities.

Age can influence the hours required to learn French

While age should not be a barrier to starting a new activity, such as learning a new language, it can influence how long it takes.

Children acquire new languages much more quickly because they absorb information better. On the other hand, adults have a better understanding of a language and can learn it more easily. That is, whether you are an adult or not, there are positive factors that allow you to learn quickly.

However, people over 50, particularly monolinguals, may struggle to learn and retain information. That’s not to say you can’t learn French! It simply means that it will take a little more time.

How long does it take to learn French as an English speaker?

French is a fascinating language that isn’t too difficult for English speakers. So, in addition to the learning-based factors, which are mostly personal and can be applied to any object we attempt to learn, there are a few language-dependent factors. These include your native language, the number of languages you speak, the level of proficiency you want to achieve in a language, and access to French resources.

Your native language

You might be wondering how long it takes to learn French as an English speaker. That is a valid question since the “distance” between your native language and your target language can influence the time required to master the target language.

Fortunately, if English is your native language, learning French (at least written French) is relatively simple. The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) ranks languages based on how culturally and linguistically similar they are to English. French is in category 1, which means it is very similar to English and thus easy to learn.

The same is true for native speakers of Romance and Germanic languages. On the other hand, if your native language is Korean, you may find it more difficult to learn French quickly.

Previous language learning experience

While it is not necessary, a relevant factor in how long it will take to learn French is if it is the first time you try to learn a new language. If you already know two or more languages, it is much easier to acquire a third/fourth/fifth one.

This happens because you have already developed some strategies and tools to help you learn a new language, whether you realize it or not. If you are among the lucky ones who have already learned another Romance language, like Spanish or Italian, the time you are going to need is much less.

Access to French resources

Of course, none of the aforementioned factors are very effective if you do not have adequate resources. French language resources, ranging from textbooks to exercises, podcasts to lessons, are all valuable. Fortunately, many resources for learning French online are free, so you don’t have to go over budget if you don’t want to.

On the other hand, if you want to speed up or personalize your learning, you can join LiveXP and learn French with one or more French tutors online. It’s an excellent resource because you can have a tutor who speaks your language while learning on any device—PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, you name it.

Level of fluency you wish to achieve

Finally, the amount of time needed to learn French depends on the level of fluency you want to achieve. If you are interested in learning a couple of useful phrases and basic grammar before traveling to France, then you are not going to need more than a couple of weeks. If you are going to learn French to do your Ph.D. or work in a francophone country, then you are going to need a few years.

If you want to achieve high levels of fluency, then you have to take into account all of the factors above. The more organized you are, the less time you will need to learn French. Now that we have discussed the factors that can influence how long it takes to learn French, let’s go over the CERF levels and how much time is required to achieve each one of them.

CERF levels & time required to learn French

All of the factors discussed above have a significant impact on the timeline for language learning. Depending on the level of fluency you want to achieve, the time needed to put into studying can vary.

So, how long does it take to speak French fluently? According to the CERF guide, you should need:

  • For A1 Level: 80-100 hours;
  • For A2 Level: extra 100-120 hours;
  • For B1 Level: extra 150-180 hours;
  • For B2 Level: extra 200-250 hours;
  • For C1 Level: extra 250-300 hours;
  • For C2 Level: over 500 hours.

This is actually a rough estimate, and the amount of time will vary depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, if you study alone using an app, it may take longer, whereas taking lessons or learning in an immersive environment may speed things up.

So, how many hours it takes to learn French, you might wonder. The answer is that in about 300 hours, you will have reached the upper intermediate level. Double them, and you will be close to being fluent. Still, if you want to achieve near-native fluency, don’t worry about counting the hours; it will take you a few years to be fluent in any language other than your native one.

How fast can you learn French?

In conclusion, the timeline to become fluent in French depends on a variety of factors. However, English speakers can learn French more easily at the conversational level in a matter of a few weeks. Learning French will be a breeze if you put in the effort and use the right techniques. Don’t forget to look into LiveXP’s French tutors, who can always help you accelerate your learning.

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