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How Long Does It Take To Learn French?

Learning a language can be a fun and fulfilling experience. However, it can also be challenging.

If you’re setting a goal or you want to speak French on your next trip, it’s important to get a good idea of just how long it will take to learn the language.

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How long does it take to learn French?

How long it takes to learn French or any other language depends on several factors.

It’s also difficult to put an exact time frame on learning a language because everyone learns differently and can have a slightly different experience.

However, in general, people who are intermediate French speakers generally take anywhere from three months to four years to reach that level.

People who are very fluent in French generally reach that level in two to six years.

If you want to learn French faster, there are several things to take into account that can speed up the process.

woman speaking french


How many hours a day you put into learning a language greatly affects how quickly you’ll pick it up.

If you’re studying French for several hours a day, you’ll learn much faster.

How you concentrate on the language also matters.

Some people learn better with an indirect approach, such as language tapes or a learning app, which they can use whenever is convenient.

This can take more time, however.

Other people take a class specifically for French, and that focused learning can sometimes help people become comfortable with the language more quickly.

In general, when you’re learning a language like French, it’s best to at least practice the language for a few minutes every day.

This helps to keep things fresh and makes words or phrases stick in your memory.

learn to speak app on iphone

Immersion vs. Non-Immersion

Immersion learning is a form of learning in which both the instruction and the learning material are in French.

In an immersion French class, there will be very little of any language except French spoken at all during class time.

Immersion can also apply to people who move to an area or country where French, or whatever particular language they’re learning, is predominantly spoken.

Immersion can be an overwhelming option, but it has also been shown to be a much more effective teaching method than non-immersion approaches.

People who learn through immersion often develop a better ear for the language, a more diverse vocabulary, and a better overall feel for the language.

Immersion learners also often learn more quickly because they’re forced to understand faster, as they need the language to communicate, either in the classroom or in daily life.

French immersion letters on chalkboard

Romance Language Knowledge

French is known as a romance language and shares many of the same pronunciation and grammatical rules as other romance languages.

If you already know English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, or Catalan, you may already have a good grasp of many of the linguistic rules that French follows.

All of these languages are based on Latin, so if you know Latin, this can also be a big help.

Romance languages often have many very similar words in common.

These words, called cognates, sound and look nearly the same in several languages, and they mean the same thing.

Learning cognates early on can help you better decipher other words and phrases.

How You Learn

Everyone learns differently and at a different speed, and when it comes to learning a language such as French, there are several learning methods to choose from.

Some people prefer to immerse themselves in a country or culture that speaks the language they’re learning.

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This experience can be a big leap for many people, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and can help people learn a language very quickly.

Other people prefer to take classes.

Other options include online lessons or language learning tapes or apps.

Knowing how you learn best can help you develop a French learning program that works for you.

For many people, combining several different methods, such as taking classes while living in a new country or using an app to practice what was learned in class, is often the most productive option.

Using a few different learning methods can also allow for a wider vocabulary, a better overall grasp of the language, and faster fluency.

girl wearing headphones holding a laptop

Teaching Games

Language teaching games can be an excellent supplement to immersion, classes, or online learning.

These games help refresh your memory, keeping French words and phrases new and presenting them in a different way.

They’re a good way to practice the material you’ve learned, and they’re perfect for short amounts of practice on days when you don’t have as much time.

The game aspect also often helps to hold people’s attention more effectively than other more traditional teaching methods.

Teaching games can also help you practice more reading, writing, or listening, depending on where you feel you need a bit of extra help.

Watching and Listening to Media in French

Another excellent way to speed up learning a language is to immerse yourself in the culture the language comes from.

This can help you pick up slang words or speech patterns that might not be taught in more formal classes.

Watching movies or TV shows in French can be an excellent way to start this.

Listening to the radio or a podcast in French is also a good idea.

As a bonus, listening to native speakers of a language is a great way to better your own French accent, making your words sound more natural.

Singing along to songs in French is particularly good for this, as you can mimic exactly what the singer is saying.

couple watching french tv

Reading French Materials

Watching or listening to French media can help your comprehension of the language, as well as your accent, and reading French books or magazines can help your reading comprehension.

This is another great way to gain a better understanding of the culture, as well as a greater feel for the language.

Some people also learn faster when they see words written down, as it can help you identify grammatical patterns and give you a better feel for pronunciations.

Don’t be afraid to start with easy books, such as children’s books, which often use simpler words and are easier to interpret.

Magazines or comic books are a good intermediate learning tool, as they’re easy to decipher but may use a broader vocabulary.

young kid holding a french book

Conversation Partners

Having a conversation partner can make learning any language much faster.

You can always learn a language by yourself, but it’s much easier to get a feel for a language and learn to come up with words quickly if you have someone to talk to in that language.

A native French speaker is the best option, as they can point out any mistakes or offer suggestions, but other people who are interested in learning French can also be very helpful.

Many people find a conversation partner through their language class, but there are also options to find a conversation partner online.

man and woman sitting in blue chairs talking to each other

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