The short answer to this question, how long does it take to learn French, is that it depends on the student. Anyone wanting to learn French must be willing to put in the time and effort needed to succeed. Programs that promise you can learn French in a ridiculously short period of time is just as it sounds…ridiculous!   

If you are leaving tomorrow to live in France and become totally immersed in the culture and language, you will likely learn French more quickly than in a classroom setting.  This form of learning is called “immersion.”  Unfortunately, we cannot all have that experience. Learning French on the homefront without the benefit of mixing with the natives may seem challenging, but learning from a native French speaking tutor can be the next best thing.

In general, one year of one-on-one instruction with a tutor from NaperFrench is equivalent to two years of college instruction, provided you put in the time outside the classroom in continued practice and study.  In general, for every hour of classroom time spent learning with a tutor, you should spend a minimum 1-2 hours outside the classroom with continued exposure to French. For students this is done by listening to media with people speaking French, watching movies with subtitles, looking at French literature, etc. With such a commitment, you can expect to develop reasonable fluency and feel comfortable traveling abroad and having conversations in under a year. However, your personal pace in reaching your goals will depend on three main factors:

  1. Motivation.  Motivation is key in learning anything in life, especially a language.  Those who learn French because they want to travel, communicate, or experience another culture are more willing to put in effort.  Those who learn for school or job do not do as well.  The quality of classes and the amount of practice are all important.  Someone highly motivated is more likely to put time into learning.  If you spend an hour a day vs. an hour a week practicing, you will learn more in a shorter period.
  2. Reasonable Expectations.  Learning French is a process.  People who set unrealistically high expectations and goals become discouraged and are tempted to skip over the elementary skills, like learning vocabulary,  grammar, etc. which must be mastered before conversation is possible. Skipping the basics is like trying to run before you’ve learned to walk.
  3. Capability.  Capability of learning another language plays a role.  Of course, everyone can learn a language, but some have found better methods than others.  The people who can speak multiple languages (4, 5, 6 languages) have put time, effort, and hard work into practice and learning. Multilingual speakers who wonder how long it takes to learn French will find they can probably master it a little faster than others who have not studied a foreign language for several reasons. First, they know which techniques work best for them to learn a language, whether that’s immersion, one-on-one, etc. and they seek it out. Second, they may find some linguistic similarities between the language they know and French that will help them learn vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc. more easily. Third, they have the right mindset and expectations of the process so they can more easily make the commitment to learn, practice and succeed since they have done it before.

In short, how long it takes to learn French depends on your time commitment.  One-on-one instruction with NaperFrench provides the highest quality curriculum but your own motivation, expectations and capability will work in your favor. Are you ready to learn French? Lessons are also now available via skype and in person.  Contact NaperFrench today at 630-405-3840.