A Breakdown Of How Many Hours It Takes To Learn A New Language
Photo Credit: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Photo Credit: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

A Breakdown Of How Many Hours It Takes To Learn A New Language

China , France , Germany , Italy , Japan
Leah Freeman-Haskin
Leah Freeman-Haskin May 8, 2020

If you find you have a little more time on your hands these days, you may want to consider learning a new language. Studying a new language has been shown to boost brain power, improve memory, and enhance decision-making skills. Not to mention, it opens a new world of opportunity when traveling.  Starting from scratch may feel daunting for many, but CNN and The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) recently published a report on how many hours you can expect to commit to learning a new language. Here are their findings from easiest to hardest for native English speakers.

Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese: 600 Hours Of Study

Portugal | Nick Karvounis | Unsplash

Popular Latin languages top the list as the easiest to learn and require the least amount of hours of study. This includes Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. These languages require at least 600 hours of study to achieve “general professional proficiency” in speaking and reading. Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

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German: 750 Hours Of Study

Germany | Roman Kraft | Unsplash

“With nouns that are masculine, feminine and neutral, verbs that conjugate heavily and an extremely strict syntax, German may appear insurmountable to start with. On the other hand, pronunciation and spelling are straightforward and once you learn the — admittedly many — rules, that’s it,” states CNN Travel.

Greek And Russian: 1,100 Hours Of Study

Greece | Jonathan Galleg | Unsplash

Greek may seem an intimidating language to learn, but it is the easiest language to learn that uses its own alphabet, and soon you will discover many of the components of words we use in English, or other languages, come from Greek.

One of the main advantages of learning Russian is that, once you’re proficient, you can understand other Slav languages like Czech, Polish or Bulgarian. But, with both Greek and Russian, you have to be willing to put in quite a few hours of study.

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Japanese And Mandarin: 2,200 Hours Of Study

Japan | David Edelstein | Unsplash

When learning Japanese or Mandarin, there are various considerations that make both of these languages extremely difficult to learn for native English speakers. According to CNN Travel, in Japanese, there’s a “rough” language for men and a more “ladylike” language for women, but you must understand both. Mandarin is considered the official language in modern China and is made extremely difficult to learn due to the use of numerous characters and the difficulty in mastering its pronunciation.