Sunday, January 13, 2008

How hard is it to learn a new language?

Here is an interesting link on how long it takes to acquire fluency in particular foreign languages for native English speakers with a good aptitude for language acquisition:

http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/november/learningExpectations.html

If you go to the link, they carefully define fluency levels. It appears that there are three classes of languages when analyzed as to how difficult it is to learn to both speak and read them for a native English speaker. The easiest class of languages (mostly romance languages) takes about 600 hours to achieve fluency. The second class of languages takes about 1100 hours and the third class of languages takes about 2200 hours.

Thai, like the majority of languages, falls into the second class. However, it has an asterisk next to it, meaning that it is a bit more difficult than most languages in the second class. But it is not nearly as difficult as Mandarin, Korean, or Japanese, for instance.

So, according to this chart, it takes about twice as many hours to achieve fluency in Thai as it does to achieve fluency in a romance language.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Are you learning Chinese? How long time do you learn Chinese and mandarin? Do you want to know your current level and achievement? I suggest you spend 5 minutes to know your Chinese level through watching a video on http://hello-mandarin.blogspot.com