How Long It Takes English Speakers To Learn Nine Other Common Languages

How Long It Takes English Speakers to Learn Nine Other Common Languages

Learning a new language takes time, and how long it takes, exactly, will vary depending on how similar the language is to the one you speak. This infographic tells us how long it takes English speakers to learn the nine most common languages in the world.

Photo by Je.T.

The graphic is sorted by easiest to most difficult. It also tells you how each language is ranked, according to how many people speak it, globally, as first language. As you might imagine, Chinese is the most common first language, and it takes English speakers roughly 88 weeks to learn it. The second largest first language -- Spanish -- typically takes only 23 weeks to learn.

It should go without saying that your own time will vary. The numbers are based on information from the The Foreign Service Institute (FSI), and they assume about 25 hours a week spent learning each language. You can find more detail on their website.

How Long Does It Take To Learn: The 9 Most Common Languages [Visualistan]


    damn i wanted to learn Japanese. might start with Spanish haha.

    I've tried learning Chinese... I think these kinda of languages you really benefit from immersion. I found I learned more Chinese in being there for 2 weeks than a year of taking a class in Australia. You would really need to be diligent and study a lot if you weren't going to be immersed.

    Last edited 14/10/15 2:44 pm

      Immersion is always more effective. People don't talk in reality the way they do in textbooks or the way you learned in classes.

    I am a Javanese. I speak Javanese and Indonesian.

    The phrase "polisi tidur" is Indonesian. Javanese sometimes uses this phrase in their conversation to borrow from Indonesian but it is actually not Javanese at all.

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