How long does it take to speak fluent English? – The true answer

How long does it take to speak fluent English? – The true answer

In the last 2 years, there have been too many online English speaking courses emerging on your Google search results. With tag lines like “the best course”, “India’s no.1 course” and so on, this information is cumbersome to process.

In our earlier blog we have discussed about the factors one must consider while shortlisting course offerings in terms of curriculum, fees, online English teachers etc.- Factors which define an enterprise as the best online English speaking course for you! With so many course options, it simply cannot be easy to ascertain one course since quite a lot of these claims can be misleading.

The most troublesome taglines amongst all of these are claims like the following:

  • 1) Learn English in 7 or 15 or 30 days and so on
  • 2) XYZ tips to speak English like a pro in ABC minutes
  • 3) Speak English like a native in 3 weeks or something on similar lines

These are too good to be true and give false hopes to those seeking to master English fluency as quickly as possible. Many learners seek these in earnest hope to learn but are duped of their time and money with no tangible improvements in their language education. Most online spoken English classes encounter students who wish to only master spoken fluency, with not much emphasis on English grammar basics.

Similar has been the experience with online English tutors where students are adamant on just one goal- spoken English fluency. And they want to speak fluently NOW!

So, let us understand how long does it really take to speak in fluent English.

How long does it take to learn a new language?

Here are some science backed facts for you:

Scientific American:

  • · The ability to learn a new language, at least grammatically, is strongest until the age of 18 after which there is a precipitous decline. To become completely fluent, however, learning should start before the age of 10
  • · In what could be the most surprising conclusion, the researchers say that even among native speakers it takes 30 years to fully master a language. The study showed a slight improvement—roughly one percentage point—in people who have been speaking English for 30 versus 20 years. The finding is consistent for both native and non-native speakers.

MIT Education:

  • · A new study performed at MIT suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected — up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is nearly impossible for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.

BBC:

  • · As per a trade body for language colleges, a rule of thumb is 360 hours - 120 hours for each of three stages of English – Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English. Though a rather traditional approach, its common for children under the age of 11 to be very immersed and be fluent in about six months

You get the gist? Learning a second language is a time-consuming business.

How long does it really take to speak in fluent English?

The truth is, as short as 6 months to master fluency at a Beginner and Intermediate level. But if you aspire for advanced English proficiency, it may take a while longer. There are several factors that determine how tough or easy it will be for you to learn English- written as well as spoken. Some of them are

  • 1) Your learning acumen and age- Kids learn faster than adults since their brains are still developing. Adults with mature minds have at least a first language that orients their thinking and speaking.
  • 2) The time you spend learning basics- Even a simple 10-minute daily routine impacts your long-term outcomes.
  • 3) Your primary education- This will vary from illiteracy to degree level and have a large bearing on how you can learn in a classroom set-up.
  • 4) How thick is your accent? - Most learners will vouch that its almost impossible to get rid of your vernacular accent completely.
  • 5) Non-native pronunciations- Even if you achieve Advanced English proficiency, pronunciations will be troublesome for you for a long time.

And how do online English classes help with fast paced learning?

Classroom education and learning spoken English online have the same outcomes, but online lessons have one clear winning strategy- The time flexibility factor or the ability to take lessons from the comfort of your home.

Online English courses make it possible to manage your learning schedule amongst other responsibilities. In some cases, you may also be able to pace curriculum towards your learning goals. Private English lessons with online English teachers is another crucial factor to a relatively faster-paced learning.

We have covered quite some articles on tips to learn English online. Do apply those and remember, learning a new langue is not a whim. Be realistic, assess your shortcomings and areas of improvement. Work hard but work smart!

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