How Long Does It Take To Become Fluent In Spanish?


Okay, so now we are going to try to answer how long would it take to get some fluency in Spanish the most realistic way we can. Why do I say “in the most realistic way”? Because telling you exactly just how long it will take for you to achieve fluency is just as accurate as telling you the exact date and time of your death. There is really no way to tell the “exact” time it would take to obtain fluency in a language; even children develop each at their own phase.

homer- being fluent in Spanish

I know that some of you might have set up some kind of a time frame like “oh my God I need to learn French in 4 months or I am dead!” I can’t say that I cannot relate to this – I can still remember the time when I gave myself two months to learn Spanish. So what happened? Yep I was able to learn the most of the basics by 2 months. By two months I was able to compose some sentences and express myself somehow but “fluency”? NO!

What I learned is that giving yourself some timeframe can actually make your results slower or even halt! Not being able to achieve fluency in a certain timeframe could even cause some people to quit Spanish altogether and when you consider how they might have felt with the frustration due to their unreasonable expectations you would understand why they quit. They get BURNED OUT!

When I set myself on to that 2 months expectation I was so impatient that I got my hands on some Ebook that promises fluency in 24 hours. Consider that I was a total beginner back then I knew nothing, no SRS, no immersion, no whatsoever. And there I was with a textbook filled with immense amounts of wordlists promising Spanish fluency in 24 hours if somehow I was able to finish the book and force all of that information into my head. I tell you folks it was an even worse experience than anatomy trying to memorize the names of all the bones in the human body!

One cannot tell the exact time it would take for you to achieve fluency because since fluency is defined as being able to hold a conversation in a smooth exchange (like Ping-Pong) therefore it involves not only output mastery but input familiarity as well. Basically your general “comfort level” with Spanish (or any language).

Now here’s the thing!

Output is only a byproduct of input – therefore one must see to it that he is exposed to as much Spanish as possible as frequently as possible.

So with that in mind we can put in some rough estimates of what can a Spanish learner realistically achieve within these target periods of 3 months and 8 months:

3 months:

Someone once said that fluency in 3 months is possible; it is IF you are living in Spanish speaking vicinity and you have no choice but to do everything in Spanish basically your Spanish-immersion bubble served to you each and every second of the day 24/7, warm and ready to eat each and every single time.  For someone (most of us) who are not able to go to another country (because you don’t need to); 3 months of our suggested TV and Spanish material input exposure would pretty much allow him to be accustomed to basic phrases necessary for survival like asking for directions, ordering a meal, buying from “baratillos” (although he would likely get ripped off), and other basic stuff with some stuttering.

8 months:

On the other hand for someone using Spanish materials on his own homeland at a pretty good frequency – he can expect at least some basic conversational competency within 8 months that means that he will not be lost if ever he somehow gets stranded on a Spanish-speaking country –

stranded in Spanish speaking country

he would be able to ask for directions, initiate some small chats, slightly “neg” and open some Latinas using simple vocabulary phrases (maybe even get himself some girlfriend to teach him). He would be able buy himself the basic necessities in Spanish, curse someone, whine and complain in Spanish, sing some of his favorite songs in Spanish, and basically allow him to “survive” on his first day in some strange Spanish-Speaking land although he would need to say “puedes hablar más despacio por favor” (Can you speak a little bit slowly please) a lot of times.

But please bear in mind that the estimates above are just “estimates” (that is why they were called estimates in the first place) and I have placed them to become a little bit more pessimistic than what you could achieve with the TV input method.

To sum it all up

One cannot accurately tell just how long it would take for him to become flawlessly fluent in Spanish. But the good news is that YOU ARE IN CONTROL of that and you can make it faster if you can just insert Spanish into every part of your life and try to live “Spanish” as much as possible.

Now enough about me:

How many months/ years have you been speaking/learning Spanish or any language that you are learning? How long did it take you to become accustomed to the language? Please share below in the comments so that the other readers would get the chance to hear and to learn from you, thanks que Dios les bendiga.

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About the author

I go by the name of Magallanes in this blog. My mission here is to influence you folks in the most effective way to learn the Spanish language. Welcome to my fleet!