French is one of the easier languages for a native English speaker to learn with many claiming the time it takes to learn French is six months. But how long it takes really depends on what you mean by ‘to learn French.’ Do you mean how long does it take to learn French fluently and speak like a native? Or how long does it take to learn French to a conversational level where you’ll be able to get by in different situations.
To answer this question we are going to assume you mean to a B2 level, which is upper intermediate and basically demonstrates that you can get by in any situation by only using French even if your French isn’t perfect.
How long it takes you to get to this level will depend on lots of different factors and there is no one answer fits all for everyone. Here are some of the factors that can influence how long it takes you to learn French:
- How often you study – If you study every single day you will learn French much more quickly than someone who only studies once a week
- If you have learnt another language before – if French is the first language you’ve ever learnt then it will take you longer to learn than if you’ve learnt another language in the past
- How you are learning – If you’re just using a French textbook (although useful) then you’re not going to learn French very quickly. You need to make sure you’re speaking French and engaging in the language in other ways
- Your discipline – your discipline is probably the most important determiner in the amount of time it’s going to take you to learn French. If you start and get bored after a month then you probably know the answer yourself. The most important thing is to remain motivated as you learn
- Whether you’re in the country or not – if you’re in France surrounded by French people and you hear French every single day then you’re going to learn a lot more quickly than someone who is learning from their own country
But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that complicated as there is an amount of hours that it is predicted to take to learn French and how many hours you do in a day is completely up to you.
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for languages has stated that it takes approximately 1,000 and 1,200 hours of guided learning to reach a B2 level.
Obviously how many hours a day you study French will influence how quickly you can achieve these 1000 hours and will determine how quickly you can learn French.
With this amount of guided learning hours, most people would be able to learn French in approximately six months to a year depending on how often they can dedicate their time to studying. But for those of you who are wondering if you can do it faster and are thinking ‘can I learn French in 3 months?‘ Then with the right amount of studying, French proficiency could come a lot more quickly to you.