Today, it appears that you are forever bumping into someone who wants to learn, “how long does it take to learn Spanish.” Unfortunately, this is a query for which there's no single response, simply because there are way too many variables.
As an example, you need to take a person's language ability into consideration, and also whether or not a student will be prepared to put in the required quantity of effort. Also, the answer would depend principally on which Spanish language learning program the student chooses to use. Furthermore, the time period it takes to learn how to communicate in Spanish would also depend on factors such as whether the student will be using private tutoring, or whether they'll be studying in a class environment. Also, does the student be using one of the many home study programs and will they be studying in their home country or in the country where Spanish is spoken as a main language? Above all, one needs to consider how good the actual teacher or program is.
Since the answers to all of these variables will determine the length of time it takes to learn Spanish, there can be no simple response to the question. I've known students who have developed a serious level of conversational Spanish inside half a year and are completely comfortable talking it in almost all scenarios. On the other hand, I have known peoples who have studied the language off and on for over 40 years and still have only a survival level of Spanish talking skills.
So, rather than trying to come up with a specific period of time to answer the question, “how long does it take to learn Spanish?”, I'll offer what in my experience is the quickest process for learning Spanish. And the 1st tip is a student of any foreign language should try to use as many occasions to engage with the language as possible.
In my opinion, the classroom approach takes too long, particularly if it is the only system being used. Instead, I think that a self study methodology is way better, providing of course it's of good quality. Such courses permit a student to proceed at a speed they feel ok with, so providing they're serious, they can proceed at a much quicker pace than they'd be in a position to in a classroom environment.
Furthermore, an individual should use a reputable program which includes not only written Spanish, but also multimedia and audio lessons. Of course, it is even more advantageous if the audio lessons can be downloaded onto a portable gizmo such as an iPod. This is essentially because when a person tries to learn a new language, it's best if they can write it, speak it, read it, and understand it (listening skills). Unless a program includes each these areas, it should not be used as a stand-alone program.
One such top quality program is Rocket Spanish. It is a program that addresses each of the four areas of language learning and will provide a superb foundation of basic Spanish and have you speaking conversational Spanish rapidly. Another top quality program is the famous Rosetta Stone program which also addresses all 4 major elements of language learning. Rosetta Stone offers 2 versions of their Spanish program, a South American Spanish version and a “Spain” version. Rosetta Stone, is more expensive than Rocket Spanish and it'll take you a little longer to basically develop conversational Spanish, but it will also provide a great foundation for future learning.
As you can see, there are waytoo many variables involved for me or anyone else to be able to give a single response with regards to how long does it takes to learn Spanish. However, you've doubtless also gathered by this time that there are a few things you can do in order to hurry up the method. Actually, many people use both the programs mentioned together with each other to develop conversational skills as fast as possible. However, unless you are continuously exposed to the Spanish language, no program will be able to make you 100 % fluent. On the other hand, providing you're at an intermediate-to-advanced level, you might consider subscribing to Puerta del Sol Audio magazine which is a Spanish language Magazine for intermediate or advanced level individuals. Similarly, you'd be shocked at how much you can get benefits from joining a Meetup group in your neighborhood that focuses on learning the Spanish language.
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