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What foreign languages have you 'mastered' and how long did it take?


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What foreign languages have you learned well enough that you are truly conversational in them and how long did that take you?

At one time I was conversational in German.  That took a little over a year (including 3 months in Germany).  I no longer am, unfortunately.

I am still okay with basic conversational French but I couldn't call  myself 'truly' conversational anymore in that language either.  It took me much longer than German- probably about 4-6 years including a whole year living in France.

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So far I'd say I've mastered the english language only, but I'd not quite says my english is 100% perfect. I still have some doubts, and I feel like I could expand my vocabulary even more. But on the other hand, I'm a native spanish speaker... and I know very few people with a perfect spanish. So far I've met none, lol. At least not in real life...

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I feel like I am mastering French or I was at one point and it took 6 years of study to do so.  I am starting out with Spanish nowadays and it seems to be much easier.  English was obviously my easiest because it is my native tongue.  I wonder what the average length of time is to learn a language?  5 years of consistent study and use?

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The English language is the only foreign language that I have more or less "mastered" as it is the language of instruction used in our schools. I have also learned Nippongo and French in my graduate study as cognate subjects but I could not carry a conversation using these because of the lack of practice or partner to converse with.

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I'd be hesitant to say that I've mastered English (my first language) - and I get paid to write articles!

I'm fluent in my second language, French but I'm still not an expert by any means.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What foreign languages have you learned well enough that you are truly conversational in them and how long did that take you?

At one time I was conversational in German.  That took a little over a year (including 3 months in Germany).  I no longer am, unfortunately.

I am still okay with basic conversational French but I couldn't call  myself 'truly' conversational anymore in that language either.  It took me much longer than German- probably about 4-6 years including a whole year living in France.

I am conversational/fluent in Spanish, but that did not happen until I had to start speaking it on a daily basis.

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"Mastering a language" is kind of a fuzzy concept. There's no fixed set of skills that qualify as mastering a language. So sure, you can say that mastering actually means being able to take part in general conversations in that language, or being indistinguishable from a native speaker. In the case of the former, it might take less than a year, in the case of the latter it could take decades.

But on the other hand, I don't find it very relevant to know how much time it took someone to master another language. Firstly, I don't think they actually studied it round-the-clock. You can always allocate more time to it, and you will get better at it faster. Generally the brain need to process the language, to hear all those new constructs and words, and it will unconsciously build those connections. That's why it's easiest when you just try to speak it, without worrying about whether you make mistakes or not.

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I haven't completely mastered my French yet, but I've been practicing for over 7-8 years now. I never really actively practice though (by this I mean, I don't go out of my way to practice). I live in Quebec, so I just try to speak it whenever I get the chance. Whether it may be a small conversation with a stranger, or just with someone who I know speaks mainly French, I'll try to speak it whenever I get the chance. :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

This is a great thread because I am one of those people who have yet to master a language. I think I have learned Spanish to some extent, but I wouldn't go as far as saying I have mastered any yet. Master a language is basically being able to have a full blown conversation with someone fluent in that language.

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